Pending cases in ECHR against Bulgaria decreasing, cabinet says

Bulgaria’s cabinet has adopted and is to table in Parliament a summarised annual report on the implementation of rulings of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on cases against Bulgaria, the government media office said on March 18.

In 2014, Bulgaria ranked 12th among the countries with the highest numbers of judgments against them.

According to the ECHR data, the countries with the highest number of judgments establishing at least one violation of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms were Russia (122), Turkey (94), Romania (74), Greece (50), and Hungary (49).

On December 31 2014, the majority of pending cases were against Ukraine (19.5 per cent), Italy (14.4 per cent), Russia (14.3 per cent), and Turkey (13.6 per cent). Bulgaria ranked 16th.

The data confirms the trend of reduction in the number of pending claims against Bulgaria, the statement said.

“After the country used to occupy seventh and eighth place in this ranking for years, it is now permanently out of the first 10 places of Council of Europe members with the most complaints submitted to the ECHR,” the media statement said, citing the statistics for 2014.

The report notes positive changes to laws and practices in Bulgaria as a result of ECHR rulings.

These include criminal proceedings reform regarding the adoption of and control over remand measures restricting the right to freedom; the introduction of a number of additional procedural safeguards in criminal proceedings; and payment of expenses for an interpreter in criminal proceedings; overcoming obstacles to relatives of victims of crime to participate fully in pre-trial proceedings; the introduction of guarantees when taking administrative measures on grounds of national security.

Overall, the largest number of complaints submitted to the ECHR against Bulgaria relate to the excessive length of proceedings, the statement said.

An administrative-judicial mechanism to compensate individuals affected by the so called “slow justice” was introduced through amendments to the Judiciary System Act.

Since the mechanism was introduced at the end of 2012, the Inspectorate of the Supreme Judicial Council has sent the Minister of Justice 1184 applications. Of these, 653 were accepted for consideration, of which 302 agreements were concluded: 204 for the excessive length of civil, administrative, and commercial cases, and 98 for criminal proceedings. In 2014, sums in compensation totalling 620 374 leva were paid under 200 agreements.

The most serious problems identified in EHCR rulings, which have not been addressed yet, concern – among others – overcrowding and poor conditions in places of detention; violations of the right to life and the prohibition of torture and inhumane and degrading treatment, shortcomings in the conduct of investigations in death and inhumane treatment cases; and violation of the right to association due to the refusal of national courts to register OMO Ilinden, the statement said.

(Photo of the European Court of Human Rights building: CherryX)



The Sofia Globe staff

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