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Round table: Countering Corruption in Public Administration: The Spanish Experience
On February 19, 2004, CSD and Coalition 2000 organized a round table discussion on the Spanish experience in countering corruption with the participation of senior Spanish magistrates: Mr. Daniel Campos, Prosecutor at the Special Public Prosecutor’s Office Anti-drugs, National Court of Justice, Mr. Jose Antonio Choclan, Magistrate, General Judicial Council, Mr. Luis Salinas, Magistrate, Penal Court in the National Court of Justice, and Mr. Javier Zaragoza, Deputy Prosecutor at the Special Public Prosecutor’s Office Anti-drugs, National Court of Justice. On behalf of CSD the event was attended by its Chair Dr. Ognian Shentov, the Program Director Mr. Boyko Todorov, the Law Program Director Dr. Maria Yordanova, as well as Mr. Dimitar Markov, Law Program Project Coordinator, Mr. Ruslan Stefanov, Economic Program Project Coordinator, and Ms. Gergana Atanasova, Coalition 2000 Coordinator.

The event was aimed at providing the Spanish experts with the opportunity to share their own observations on the spread of corruption in Bulgaria and to recommend measures for improving anti-corruption efforts on the basis of the Spanish experience in this field.

Among the main conclusions and recommendations formulated during the discussions the most important are:

  • In the opinion of the Spanish magistrates organized crime and corruption are cross-border phenomena that could hardly be tackled by means of national legislation only and therefore require effective international cooperation, including harmonization of domestic legislation;

  • Both organized crime and corruption, as observed by the guest speakers, reveal a high degree of specialization, which in turn calls for the same specialization among the competent governmental institutions and bodies responsible for their counteraction;

  • The existing institutions and bodies in Bulgaria lack the necessary capacity to counter complicated forms of criminal conduct such as corruption and organized crime: a situation that, according to the Spanish participants, could be overcome by setting up specialized bodies comprising of well trained personnel and dealing exclusively with such criminal offences, like similar ones established in other countries (e.g. the three specialized prosecution offices in Spain dealing with drugs trafficking, terrorism and corruption, the national anti-mafia prosecution office in Italy, the specialized units of the German prosecution office dealing with organized crime, the new French law against organized crime, the federal prosecutors in the U.S., etc.);

  • In order to improve the legal environment for countering corruption and organized crime in Bulgaria Spanish magistrates recommend a set of measures to be implemented in terms of criminal law and procedure such as the introduction of assets forfeiture mechanisms, special investigation techniques, undercover agents, criminal liability of legal entities, etc.

While describing the present situation in Bulgaria, the CSD Chairman Dr. Ognian Shentov and the Law Program Director Dr. Maria Yordanova pointed out that a key prerequisite for improving anti-corruption efforts in the country is the effective implementation of judicial reform, including by adopting respective amendments to the Constitution.

As a result of the discussion the participants agreed to further cooperated towards achieving the formulated objectives, especially by generating broad public support in favor of the proposed measures.

Agenda of the round table
Summary of discussion
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