II. Legislative and Judicial Reform
III. Ombudsman Institution
IV. Monitoring of Racism and Xenophobia
V. International Cooperation
The major areas of activities of the Law Program in the year 2006 were the institutional and legal reform in Bulgaria. In particular, the efforts focused on judicial reform, including the reinforcement of criminal justice, the countering of corruption and organized crime, the introduction of a modern commercial registration, and the law enforcement and administration of justice in border districts. Traditionally, the Law Program continued to support the national and local ombudsmen by implementing a variety of activities for promoting and strengthening these institutions. The new challenge in the work of the Law Program in 2006 was the monitoring of racism and xenophobia in the country, done on behalf of the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia.
II. Legislative and Judicial Reform
- Building upon its considerable track record in the field of judicial reform the Law Program focused its efforts on reinforcing criminal justice in border districts. The initiative is aimed to identify the existing problems and propose relevant solutions as regards the law enforcement and administration of justice on trans-border crime. Other important issues addressed by the Law Program through the year included the reform of criminal procedure and the integration of criminal and economic policies against organized crime and corruption.
- The business registration reform initiated and advocated for by the Law Program, entered a new stage following the adoption of the Law on the Commercial Register. The new law, which was developed with the active participation of experts of the Law Program and should enter into force in July 2007, has created the necessary legislative basis for reform. Nevertheless, the Law Program is committed to continue its efforts during the next stages of the process up until the practical establishment of the central electronic commercial register.
- The national ombudsman institution, whose introduction in Bulgaria is among the success stories of the Law Program, started to practically perform its activities in 2006. During its first full year of operation the ombudsman relied strongly on the support of the Law Program, which provided various types of assistance: from awareness, capacity building and training activities to facilitating the international relations and cooperation of the ombudsman with similar institutions from other countries.
- Initially promoted and supported by CSD the establishment of local ombudsmen (public mediators) marked further progress in 2006. By the end of the year 15 municipalities have already elected their local ombudsmen. The Law Program continued to provide assistance to the operating local ombudsmen and to the municipal authorities working to establish the institution. An important step forward in this respect was the renewal of the idea, initially proposed by the Law Program a few years ago, to establish a local ombudsmen association.
- For the first time in 2006 the Law Program operated the National Focal Point for Bulgaria of the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC). As a National Focal Point the Law Program had specific responsibilities mainly related to the collection of data on racism and xenophobia and their submission to the EUMC headquarters in Vienna as well as by popularizing the work of the EUMC among the relevant stakeholders in Bulgaria.
1. Judicial Reform
Criminal Justice Reform
The reform of criminal justice, a key EU accession requirement for Bulgaria, is still a major challenge in the framework of judicial reform in the country. The adoption of the new Criminal Procedure Code and the new Law on the Ministry of Interior created the legislative basis for the reforms, but their practical implementation, which started in 2006, still needs to be improved.
- To facilitate the process on June 6, 2006, CSD Law Program in cooperation with the Ministry of Interior held a public discussion Criminal Justice in the Context of Bulgaria’s EU Accession: Problems with the Application of the New Criminal Procedure Code and the Law on the Ministry of Interior. In the year 2006 the Law Program focused its work on the important legislative and judicial reform: the problems in the criminal justice after enforcement of New Criminal Procedure Code, the Anti - Corruption Policies and Organized Crime and the Reinforcing Criminal Justice in Border Districts. The event brought together magistrates, governmental officials, representatives of NGOs and the media to share their initial observations on the implementation of the new legislation and outline some of the problems that need to be addressed. The excessive workload of the investigating police officers and the supervising prosecutors, the need of reconsidering the criteria for appointment of the investigating police officers (including the abolishment of the requirement for university degree or university degree in law), enhancement of the preventive role of pre-trial proceedings, broadening the powers of the National Investigation Service to include the investigation of crimes committed by minors and those related to the high level political corruption, introducing a definition of “detected crime”, etc. were amongst the topics in the discussion. The problems in both the pre-trial phase and the court procedure, upstanding a month before the entry in force of the new legislation, were presented during the discussion. Among the speakers were Mr. Vasil Stoichev from the National Police Service, Mr. Mladen Chervenyakov, Member of Parliament from the Coalition for Bulgaria, Mr. Rumen Georgiev, Deputy Director of the National Investigation Service, Mr. Asen Arsov, Head of Division in the Supreme Prosecution Office of Cassation, Mr. Rumen Nenkov, Deputy Chair of the Supreme Court of Cassation, etc.
Bridging Criminal and Economic Policies against Organized Crime and Corruption
Organized crime and corruption are no longer simply a criminal matter. They have been penetrating countries and communities globally, undermining the legal economy and government institutions. The divergence of criminal justice systems worldwide, however, is in the way of deeper cooperation. Consequently, it needs to be complemented by policies where collaboration is more forthcoming like the economic policies, which are particularly relevant in the context of EU enlargement and its stabilization effect on other regions.
- Against this background, on June 23-24, 2006, CSD Law Program held an international conference Corruption and Organized Crime: Bridging Criminal and Economic Policies aimed at reviewing the range of effective policy instruments and proposing integrated solutions to governments, international institutions and the civil society. The conference brought together academics and practitioners, public and private sector experts, policy makers and researchers to advance the international and regional policy agenda against organized crime and corruption. Among the participants at the event were Mr. George Hardy of the US Department of Justice, Mr. Mahmut Cengiz, Chief Inspector at the Turkish National Police, Dr. Paul Larsson, Associate Professor at the Police University College of Oslo, Prof. Petrus van Duyne and Prof. Jan van Dijk from the University of Tilburg, Mr. Ger Homburg from Regioplan (the Netherlands), Ms. Kristin Höltge from the Free University of Berlin, Vincenzo Ruggiero from Middlesex University, London, Dr. Jens Andvig from the Norwegian Institute for International Affairs, Mr. Brian Donald from UK’ Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), Dr. Dina Siegel from the Faculty of Law, Vrije Universiteit – Amsterdam, Mr. Hugo Brady, Research Fellow at the Centre for European Reform, UK and the experts from CSD Dr. Konstantin Pashev, Dr. Tihomir Bezlov, Mr. Philip Gunev and Mr. Assen Dyulgerov.
Raising Awareness on the Eve of EU Accession
In the light of the upcoming accession of Bulgaria to the EU the Law Program launched a series of public events to raise the awareness on the recent developments and pending issues in the field of judicial reform and the fight against organized crime and corruption.
- Following up on the established cooperation with the EU Member States’ diplomatic missions in Bulgaria, on March 2, 2006, the Law Program held a Discussion on Judicial Reform in Bulgaria. The objective of the event was to inform the diplomatic community on the progress of judicial reform in the country. The Deputy Chiefs of Mission of fifteen EU Member States (including Austria, Germany, Denmark, Czech Republic, Ireland, Sweden, Finland, Greece, the Netherlands, etc.) and a representative of the Delegation of the European Commission to Bulgaria attended the event. The Law Program’s Director Dr. Maria Yordanova and Project Coordinator Mr. Dimitar Markov delivered a lecture Judicial Reforms in Bulgaria on the Eve of EU Accession. Among the most significant issues presented and discussed were the basic principles of the organization and functioning of the judiciary in Bulgaria; judicial and law enforcement bodies: the courts, the prosecution office, the investigating bodies within and outside the judiciary and the Supreme Judicial Council as well as the Constitutional Court and its decisions regarding the judiciary; the recently introduced reforms and the changes under discussion; the adopted and upcoming constitutional amendments regarding the judiciary; and the proposals for reforming judiciary developed by the Law Program experts during the last several years.
- In the period May – July 2006 the Law Program organized a series of training seminars The Judiciary and the Counteraction of Corruption and Organized Crime. The events took place in Sofia on May 9, 2006, in Varna on July 6, 2006, and in Burgas on July 7, 2006, bringing together investigators, prosecutors and judges, representatives of the Ministry of Interior, lawyers, and journalists. Among the topics addressed at the seminars were the measures to prevent and detect money laundering, the reforms in the criminal justice, the changes in the legal framework of alternative dispute resolution instruments (in particular mediation) and commercial registration, etc. Lecturers in the different cities were senior officials from the Financial Intelligence Agency, magistrates (judges, prosecutors and investigators), university professors and representatives of NGOs.
Reinforcing Criminal Justice in Border Districts
In April 2006 the Law Program launched an initiative aimed to help counter corruption and reinforce criminal justice in the border districts with Turkey and Macedonia. The initiative’s main objective is to contribute to improving the effectiveness of criminal justice as regards to border related disputes by studying the problems of administration of justice in border-region courts, formulating policy recommendations for improving the existing situation, implementing activities to enhance the capacity of the respective judicial bodies to more effectively prosecute and convict border related crime, and piloting the implementation of the recommended measures in selected courts. In addition, the project aims to identifying common problems in the area of border justice in Bulgaria, Turkey and Macedonia, facilitate the sharing of experience and information and improve the capacity of judicial bodies from the three countries to work together for achieving better results in the area of investigation and criminal justice on trans-border cases.
To increase the impact of the implemented activities the Law Program involved some of the major stakeholders as partners in the initiative. The Ministry of Justice, the Supreme Judicial Council, the Supreme Prosecution Office of Cassation, and the Bulgarian Judges Association are among the institutions officially involved in the implementation of the project.
- The initiative was officially launched at a special press conference in the city of Haskovo on May 9, 2006 with the participation of Dr. Kim Howells, Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, UK, the British Ambassador Mr. Jeremy Hill, Mr. Dimitar Bongalov, Deputy Minister of Justice of Bulgaria, the Prosecutor from the Supreme Prosecution Office of Cassation Mr. Vasil Mikov, Mr. Borislav Belazelkov, Justice at the Supreme Court of Cassation and Executive Secretary of the Bulgarian Judges Association, the Law Program Director Dr. Maria Yordanova, judges, prosecutors, investigators, and police and customs officials from Haskovo and Svilengrad. After the press conference a working meeting between the CSD project team and representatives from the local courts and prosecution offices was held to discuss the problems encountered by the latter and the future cooperation with the CSD.
- To help establish contacts and exchange of information on trans-border crime detection, investigation and punishment the Law Program organized working meetings of Bulgarian and Turkish magistrates. The meetings held in the city of Haskovo on September 13-14, 2006, brought together judges and prosecutors from Edirne and Kirklareli, officials from the Turkish Ministry of Justice and the British Embassy in Ankara, Bulgarian magistrates (including the chairs of the Court of Appeal of Plovdiv, the district courts in Haskovo, Pazardzhik and Smolyan and the Military Court of Plovdiv as well as judges and prosecutors from Haskovo and Svilengrad), Law Program experts (Dr. Maria Yordanova, Mr. Dimitar Markov and Mr. Tihomir Bezlov) and the Bulgarian Judges Association Executive Secretary and Supreme Court of Cassation Justice Mr. Borislav Belazelkov. The two plenary meetings were complemented by team consultations between Bulgarian and Turkish judges and prosecutors respectively where the particular challenges related to trans-border crime and the way those can be addressed by the two branches of the judiciary were discussed. The closing meeting served to present the outcomes of the two-day talks and the agreements achieved on several points: to exchange regular information on judicial and legal reforms in both countries, to initiate relevant measures for speeding up information supply on cases of trans-border crime, to hold joint trainings and expert discussions on the most common types of trans-border crime (drugs and human trafficking, smuggling, etc.) for Bulgarian and Turkish judges, prosecutors, police and customs officers.
- To study the situation and the problems of the administration of justice in border districts the Law Program experts developed a special needs assessment and monitoring methodology. The methodology consists of several components the major one being the collection and analysis of official statistics, the carrying out of sociological research (focus groups and in-depth interviews), examination and analysis of laws and regulations, etc. In the course of implementing the designed methodology the Law Program collected statistical data from a number of institutions (such as courts, prosecution offices, investigation services, police and border authorities, etc.) and jointly with Vitosha Research (CSD’s independent sociological unit) held three focus group discussions with representatives of the relevant stakeholders (one focus group in the city of Haskovo on November 23, 2006, and two focus groups in the city of Burgas on December 1, 2006).
2. Commercial Registration Reform
The efforts of the Law Program to promote and assist the implementation of a comprehensive reform in the field of commercial registration in Bulgaria marked significant progress in the year 2006. After a complicated legislative procedure on March 24, 2006, the National Assembly adopted the Law on the Commercial Register, developed with the participation of Law Program experts. The law is in line with the basic principles of the Strategy for Establishing a Central Register of Legal Persons and an Electronic Registries Center of the Republic of Bulgaria, which in turn was based on the commercial registration reform concept paper developed by the Law Program experts as far back as 2003. According to the law a new central electronic commercial register should now replace the old paper-based decentralized one. The new register will be kept by the Registry Agency with the Ministry of Justice and registration will follow administrative instead of judicial procedures.
Despite the efforts of the Law Program experts to help the Registry Agency to develop the secondary legislation for the implementation of the law and the timely elaboration of an initial draft version of these rules the reform process gradually slowed down. Due to the fact that the government did not manage to adopt the secondary legislation on time and because of the lack of the necessary technological and logistical preconditions to transfer the register from the courts to the Registry Agency the parliament was forced to postpone the entry in force of the law from October 1, 2006, to July 1, 2007.
Despite the delay the reform of the business registration in Bulgaria is progressing in line with the European standards in this area and its accomplishment will not only improve the environment for doing business in Bulgaria but will also furnish the country with a wide range of possibilities for a broader and more effective participation into European commercial turn-over.
III. Ombudsman Institution
After the election of the first Bulgarian ombudsman in April 2005 the Law Program continued its efforts to help strengthen the institution and turn it into an effective mechanism for guaranteeing good governance and the rule of law. In line with the Partnership Statement between the Ombudsman of the Republic of Bulgaria and the Center for the Study of Democracy signed in 2005 the activities focused on the provision of expert assistance, training of the institution’s administrative staff and organization of joint events. The Law Program also continued to support the establishment of local ombudsmen (public mediators) – a process, which marked further progress in 2006.
1. Strengthening the ombudsman institution on national level
Experts of the Law Program held a number of working meetings with the ombudsman and officials from his administrative staff on different problems of the institution’s work. The Law Program took part in designing the concept for the ombudsman’s public register of complaints, which was successfully introduced in early 2006 and will soon be available on the Internet. Experts of the Law Program contributed to the development of the ombudsman’s Recommendations to the state and municipal authorities and their administrations for the elaboration of internal administrative rules for operation in case of an investigation by the ombudsman. The recommendations were disseminated among all state and municipal bodies, which gradually started to adopt and implement them. The Law Program also initiated and actively participated in the elaboration of a draft agreement between the ombudsman and the municipal councils, which should regulate the introduction of local ombudsmen on municipal level and their interaction with the national ombudsman.
Training and Awareness Raising
The challenges before a new institution such as the ombudsman made the training of the ombudsman’s team a key prerequisite for the effective operation of the institution. Jointly with the ombudsman the Law Program organized a series of seminars where experts from CSD and other institutions and organizations delivered specialized training for the ombudsman’s administrative staff on issues such as receipt and handling of complaints and alerts, operation of the public register of complaints, European standards for good administration, mediation, etc.
Representatives of the Law Program took part in the first national awareness campaign of the ombudsman. The initiative was aimed to popularize the institution of the national ombudsman in districts and regions throughout the country. The campaign started in late October and continued until December 2006, covering five major cities throughout the country (Pazardzhik, Blagoevgrad, Vratsa, Varna and Burgas). In each of the cities a public discussion The Ombudsman Institution – Power of Morality and Authority. European Standards for Good Administration was organized, followed by a press conference for the local media and a temporary reception center for citizens’ complaints and alerts. CSD experts, who were responsible for the panel on the European standards for good administrative behavior (including the role of the European Ombudsman), developed a detailed presentation on the topic, personally delivered lectures at three of the events (in Pazardzhik, Blagoevgrad and Vratsa), and disseminated a number of publications from the Center’s ombudsman series.
In September 2006 the National Assembly adopted the third consecutive amendments to the Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria. As a result, for the first time provisions on the ombudsman were incorporated in the Constitution, providing the institution with the long awaited constitutional status. The Law Program has advocated for this idea for more than three years now and has even elaborated draft constitutional amendments. One of the key proposals of this draft, namely the power of the ombudsman to approach the Constitutional Court, was also adopted by the parliament.
Facilitating International Cooperation
A priority in the ombudsman related activities of the Law Program was to facilitate the establishment and development of cooperation between the Bulgarian ombudsman and foreign ombudsman type institutions. The Law Program was involved in the organization of several visits of foreign ombudsmen to Bulgaria that helped integrate the Bulgarian ombudsman in the European ombudsmen family.
- The major international event organized jointly by CSD and the Ombudsman of the Republic of Bulgaria was the international conference The Ombudsman – Power through Ethics and Respect - Independence from and Interaction with the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary. The event, held on July 27, 2006, brought together the National Ombudsman of the Netherlands Prof. Dr. Alex Brenninkmeijer, Mr. Frank Orton, Former Human Rights Ombudsman of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mr. Jernej Rovšek, Deputy Human Rights Ombudsman of Slovenia, Mr. Ixhet Memeti, Ombudsman of Macedonia, Mr. Ulco van de Pol, Ombudsman of Amsterdam, Bulgarian MPs, senior representatives of the executive and the judiciary, and NGOs working in the field of human rights protection. The participants discussed on a variety of topics, including the interactions between the ombudsman and the state authorities, the role of the ombudsman in countering corruption, the cooperation between the national and local ombudsmen, etc. For the purpose of the conference experts from the Law Program compiled a set of materials, including the articles The Ombudsman and the Other Human Rights Protecting Mechanisms and The Ombudsman and the Judiciary: the Foreign Experience.
- As a follow up to the international conference, on July 28, 2006, CSD hosted a meeting with the representatives of the Bulgarian and Dutch ombudsman institutions. The National Ombudsman of the Netherlands and the Ombudsman of Amsterdam, representatives of the office of the Bulgarian Ombudsman, the Sofia Municipality Ombudsman, civil society organizations and experts from CSD participated in the working meeting discussing on the opportunities and perspectives for common actions and exchange of information and best practices.
- The Greek Ombudsman Prof. Giorgos Kaminis visited Bulgaria in the fall of 2006 and was guest speaker at the round table discussion The National Ombudsman: A Mechanism for Good Administrative Services and Corruption-Free Administration. During the event, held by CSD on November 8, 2006, Prof. Kaminis made an overview of the institution of the Greek Ombudsman and its activities since its inception eight years ago, noting the specific historic and political conditions that have determined its development. He stressed that the ombudsman must be an essentially independent, respected and creditable figure supported by highly qualified and morally impeccable staff in order to win both the public’s confidence and the administration’s reliance and be able to keep the latter in check. The discussion benefited from the remarks of the Bulgarian Ombudsman Mr. Ginyo Ganev and his Deputy Mr. Metin Kazak, CSD Chairman Dr. Ognian Shentov, CSD Law Program Director Dr. Maria Yordanova, ombudsman office staff, and CSD experts.
- The European Ombudsman Prof. Nikiforos Diamandouros was the keynote speaker at the round table discussion The Ombudsman Institution at European, National and Local Level held by CSD on November 28, 2006. Prof. Diamandouros spoke before representatives of non-governmental organizations, local public mediators, representatives of foreign missions and officials from the Bulgarian ombudsman’s administrative staff. The European Ombudsman explained that his visit to Bulgaria is part of a series of visits to all EU Member States and the candidate countries – an initiative aimed at reaching out to the national governments, NGOs and media as well as strengthening the cooperation with the national ombudsmen. Further in his presentation Prof. Diamandouros briefed the participants on the new rights Bulgarians will acquire once the country enters the EU. European citizenship, which will automatically add to the Bulgarian citizenship, will create new opportunities for the people to seek protection of their rights such as access to European institutions (including the right to address the European Commission as the Guardian of the Treaties anytime when a national body violates European law), right to seek redress (including before the European Court of Justice) and right to go to the European Ombudsman.
2. Examining the Possibilities of Introducing Specialized Ombudsman Institutions
In the year 2006 the Law Program accomplished its study on the opportunities of introducing specialized ombudsman institutions in the country. The study, focusing in particular on the establishment of a healthcare ombudsman, concluded that for the time being it would be a better solution to build the capacity of the national ombudsman to deal with issues in the field of healthcare rather than creating another ombudsman institution risking to create duplication of functions and even undermine the authority of the institution.
- The results of the study were publicly presented on March 28, 2006, at the public discussion The Constitutional Amendments and the Ombudsman Institution. Specialized Ombudsmen in Bulgaria. The event was also dedicated to the recently adopted constitutional amendments and the inclusion of provisions on the ombudsman in the Constitution. Members of the staff of the ombudsman, the public mediator of Sofia municipality and his deputy, representatives of NGOs, experts and journalists attended the event and expressed their views on the two alternative options: the establishment of a special healthcare ombudsman (on a national level or at each medical establishment) or the institution of a specialized unit within the office of the national ombudsman were presented during the discussion.
3. Continuing Support for Local Ombudsmen
The Law Program continued its support for the establishment and strengthening of local level ombudsman institutions (public mediators). In 2006 several more municipalities introduced the institution of the local public mediator and by the end of the year there were more than fifteen local ombudsmen throughout the country. The Law Program continued to provide expertise to municipalities wishing to introduce the institution and to assist the elected public mediators in their activities.
- At a round table discussion in the city of Pazardzhik, organized by the public mediator of Pazardzhik municipality on November 1, 2006, representatives of the Law Program presented the current situation with the establishment of local ombudsmen in Bulgaria. The event brought together fifteen public mediators from throughout the country and in conclusion of the discussions a decision was made to establish an association of local public mediators. The same idea was launched by the Law Program several years ago but was not further developed due to the few local ombudsmen operating at that time. However, the experience accumulated with this past effort will allow CSD to substantially contribute to the renewed initiative and facilitate the process of instituting the local ombudsmen’s organization. The idea was further discussed at the round table discussion The Ombudsman Institution at European, National and Local Level on November 28, 2006.
The Law Program added one more publication to its ombudsman series and continued to publish articles in other media as well.
- The brochure The Healthcare Ombudsman – Best Practices and Prospects for Bulgaria, published in April 2006, was devoted to different aspects of the institution of the specialized healthcare ombudsman and the possibilities for its introduction in Bulgaria. The publication contained an overview of the good practices and the experience in the United Kingdom, Australia, Switzerland and Israel. The edition included also a detailed summary of a discussion in relation with two draft laws concerning the institution of the health ombudsman and the comments and the recommendations on them of the Law Program experts.
- The experts of the Law Program continued to provide regular contributions for the European Ombudsman Newsletter and their articles featured in the newsletter’s Issue No. 6 of April 2006 and Issue No.7 of October 2006.
- The Ombudsman Information Network, maintained by the Law Program for several years now, was regularly updated offering comprehensive information on the current situation with the ombudsman type institutions in the country. The network is particularly helpful to the general public because of the delay with the launch of the national ombudsman’s official website. On the other hand it is instrumental for improving the cooperation among the local public mediators since it serves as a publicly available resource center for exchange of experience, information and documentation.
IV. Monitoring of Racism and Xenophobia
In 2006 CSD operated for the first time the Bulgarian National Focal Point (NFP) of the European Racism and Xenophobia Information Network (RAXEN) coordinated by the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC). The RAXEN network is comprised of NFPs in each of the EU Member States. As an NFP the Center was responsible for collecting official and unofficial data on racism and xenophobia in the country in areas such as employment, housing, education, legal issues and racist violence and crime. The information collected was submitted to the EUMC in the form of various deliverables (data collection report, special study, bulletins, data bases, etc.).
- As part of its responsibilities as a RAXEN NFP on September 28-29, 2006, the Center held an international workshop Policing Minorities. The event was aimed to broaden the opportunities for Bulgarian NGOs to work with government and law-enforcement institutions in addressing issues of ethnic and racial discrimination and violence and to increase the capacity of Bulgarian law-enforcement institutions to prevent and analyze issues related to ethnic and racist violence and discrimination. Among the participants were Mr. Alessandro Budai, Mr. Tomaz Trplan and Ms. Joanna Goodey from EUMC, CSD’s experts Mr. Dimitar Markov, Mr. Tihomir Bezlov and Mr. Philip Gounev, Mr. Aidan Fitzpatrick from the Employment Development Division of the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland, Mr. Milcho Enev, Chief Inspector at the Bulgarian National Police, Mr. Kensika Monshengwo from the Irish National Consultative Committee on Racism and Interculturalism, Ms. Rachel Neild and Ms. Rebekah Delsol from the National Criminal Justice Reform Program of the Open Society Justice Initiative in New York, Mr. Joel Miller from the University of Malaga, Mr. Rich Keenan, Detective Chief Inspector at the Professional Standards Department of the Leicestershire Constabulary, the Director of the European Institute of Crime Prevention and Control (HEUNI) and President of the European Society of Criminology Mr. Kauko Aromaa, the Deputy Ombudsman of the Republic of Bulgaria Mr. Metin Kazak, Ms. Anna Papadopoulou, Senior Investigator at the Department of Human Rights of the Greek Ombudsman, the Chair of the Bulgarian Commission for Protection from Discrimination Mr. Kemal Eyup, and Mr. Valery Roussanov, Chair of the Board of Directors of ACCESS – Sofia Foundation.
V. International Cooperation
The Law Program continued its successful cooperation to take part in projects and initiatives implemented by foreign partner organizations.
- Through its Law Program CSD took part in the project THEMIS: Transformation of the Role of the Judiciary within the European Integrated Context implemented by the Greek European Public Law Institute (EPLC) jointly with partners from Turkey, Romania, Bulgaria and Slovakia. In the framework of this project CSD was involved in the organization of a workshop in Istanbul and a conference in Athens both aimed at generating discussion and exchange of ideas on the dysfunctions and best practices of each system and the need of reforms and transformations thereof.
- The Law Program assisted the implementation of the some of the activities under the project Working Together – the Key to Improving the Management of Judicial Cases and the Consistency of Judgments, coordinated by Friedrich Naumann Foundation in cooperation with the bar associations of Sofia, Ankara and Bucharest. The Law Program Director Dr. Maria Yordanova delivered a presentation on the civil society initiatives for reforming the judiciary in Bulgaria at the international conferences Legal Reform in Accession Process held in Bucharest in June 2006 and attended the other two conferences under the project held in Ankara in April and in Sofia in October 2006.
- Dr. Maria Yordanova, Director of the Law Program, took part in an international conference Preventing and Fighting Corruption in the Public Administration in Europe, organized by the German Civil Service Federation Academy (DBB Akademie) in Cologne, Germany, on February 20-21, 2006. As a follow-up to the event CSD became a member of an International Anti-Corruption Information Project and Training Network established upon the initiative of the DBB Akademie.
- In the framework of the newly established cooperation with the Rule of Law Program for South East Europe of Konrad Adenauer Foundation members of the Law Program contributed to the organization an international conference Bulgaria and Romania on the Eve of EU-Accession: Achievements and Challenges Ahead for the Justice Systems, held in Sofia on December 14-16, 2006.