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Press conference: Presentation of the Judicial Anti-Corruption Program
 
On October 2, 2003, a press conference for presenting the Judicial Anti-Corruption Program took place at the Center for the Study of Democracy. The Program has been developed by eminent Bulgarian lawyers, including magistrates, and has resulted from the combined efforts of influential non-governmental organizations, representatives of state institutions, and experts.

In the course of the work the Program was presented to a number of state institutions, non-governmental organizations, professional associations, the media, experts and citizens so that they could provide their opinions, recommendations and proposals. A draft version of the document was discussed at a workshop attended by representatives of the stakeholders.

The presented Judicial Anti-Corruption Program draws on most of the remarks and proposals received and suggests options for concrete decisions, including long-term ones, on the main directions of the judicial reform. It is aimed to prompt a further debate and achievement of a larger consensus on the priorities of the judicial reform.

Members of the Task Forces, which elaborated the Program, took part in the event.

The press conference was opened by the Deputy Minister of Justice Mr. Mario Dimitrov and the UNDP Resident Representative Mr. Neil Buhne. Mr. Dimitrov greeted the efforts of the civil society and the NGOs in the process of searching and finding consensus on the priorities and necessary measures to be taken in the course of judicial reform and underlined that the Ministry of Justice actively supports and promotes these efforts.

In his speech Mr. Buhne told that the judicial reform in Bulgaria and the achieving of transparency, efficiency and accessibility of the judiciary is an important part of the positive development of the Bulgarian society and is in harmony with the aims and principles of the United Nations.

Dr. Maria Yordanova, Director of the CSD Law Program, and Ms. Kapka Kostova, Chair of the Sofia Regional Court and of the Association of Judges in Bulgaria, presented the first part of the Judicial Anti-Corruption Program, dedicated to the proposals for reforms in the organization of the judiciary and the court administration. Dr. Yordanova pointed that several of the changes proposed have already taken place with the recently adopted amendments of the Constitution, but underscored that the Program proposes a much broader circle of reforms, including significant structural changes, which shall be subject to broad public and professional discussions.

Ms. Kostova spoke on the significance of the court administration as one of the key factors for establishing the public attitudes towards the judiciary and is of great importance for its efficient functioning.

The Deputy Chair of the Supreme Administrative Court Ms. Svetla Petkova briefed the participants on the proposals for reforming administrative law and procedure and underlined that beside their strong anti-corruption determination the reforms will also lead to a general improvement of the administrative justice. Ms. Petkova pointed the elaboration of a Code of Administrative Procedure and the incorporation in it of several new institutes as well as the reform in administrative justice as some of the necessary changes, on which a consensus has been reached.

Mr. Dimitar Markov, Project Coordinator at the CSD Law Program, outlined the proposals for reforming the substantive and procedural criminal law.

Dr. Yordanova mentioned some of the proposals for reforms in the civil law and procedure, especially the necessity of quick and radical change in the field of civil proceedings and of modernization of the registration system, which will act as a strong deterrent for corruption.

Judicial Anti-Corruption Program
Development of Judicial Anti-Corruption Program - project outline
Plan of Activities
Task Forces' Members
Working Session to discuss the proposals submitted by the Task Forces for elaboration of the initial version of the Program
 
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