US gives Bulgaria generally positive review on fight against terrorism

An annual report by the US state department on counter-terrorism has noted a number of positive aspects of Bulgaria’s efforts but identified some shortcomings too.

The US state department report on counter-terrorism for 2015 said that the government of Bulgaria had continued to deport people it considered national security risks, and had increased extradition of suspected foreign terrorist fighters from Bulgaria.

The Bulgarian government has worked to enhance its terrorism prevention and enforcement tools by criminalising foreign terrorist fighters, developing a new counterterrorism strategy, enhancing operations of its National Counterterrorism Centre, and announcing plans to draft a comprehensive law on measures against terrorism, the report said.

The US and Bulgaria had launched a new Bilateral Counterterrorism Working Group to bolster bilateral cooperation. The group members represented different agencies in the Bulgarian government and include the Deputy Minister of Interior, who co-chairs the group, as well as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Counterterrorism Coordinator and representatives of the information services.

The report noted that Bulgaria is a member of the Global Coalition to Counter the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and has repeatedly responded to requests for assistance, including in March, when the Ministry of Defence provided weapons and munitions to the Iraqi Kurdistan Region’s Peshmerga.

Bulgaria prosecutes terrorism under several general provisions of the Penal Code, which has been amended multiple times since it was first enacted in 1968, the report said.

In 2015, the National Assembly adopted amendments to the Penal Code that provide for the prosecution of individuals, including foreign terrorist fighters, who support, plan, and facilitate the commission of terrorist acts in Bulgaria and abroad.

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