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National Assembly President Mrs. Tsetska Tsacheva met with the Rapporteur of the Monitoring Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Mr. Luka Volonte

The National Assembly President Mrs. Tsetska Tsacheva has met with the rapporteur of the Committee monitoring (aka Monitoring Committee) the observance of the obligations and the commitments assumed by the member states of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), Mr. Luka Volonte.

The chair of the parliament noted that since the last visit of Mr. Volonte, less than a year ago, Bulgaria has achieved a lot. Tsetska Tsacheva informed the guest that today the National Assembly has elected the members of the Supreme Judicial Council on its quota, holding a public and transparent procedure and expressed her hope that the newly elected Council would continue the reform in the judicial system. She also pointed to the adopted, in June 2012, legislative amendments to the Judiciary Act which introduce administrative procedure for compensation of damages inflicted to natural and legal persons as a result of prolonged legal proceedings. She mentioned as well the forthcoming amendments to the Liabilities of the State and the Municipality for Damage Act that will allow a process through the national legal system of claims for compensation of Bulgarian citizens, something that will ease the workload of the European Court of Human Rights.

The speaker of the parliament also noted that at the initiative of the leader of the Bulgarian Delegation to PACE, Mrs. Dzhema Grozdanova, the National Assembly has held hearing of the Bulgarian Justice Minister Diana Kovacheva, followed by a discussion and voted a resolution obliging the government to start preparing a report each year summarizing the execution of the decisions ruled against Bulgaria by the ECHR on cases concerning human rights violations. Tsetska Tsacheva underscored that the rules covering custody have been made more precise as well as the ones preventing police violence.

The President of the National Assembly expressed hope that the future report of the Monitoring Committee will be objective and will reflect the progress of Bulgaria.

The reporter of PACE’s Monitoring Committee, Mr. Luka Volonte, explained that the preliminary report of the committee will be ready by the month of November 2012, the final one by January 2013. He pointed to the PACE’s recommendations that have been implemented and stressed on the necessity of a new Penal Code to be adopted.

The chair of the National Assembly Tsetska Tsacheva explained that the draft of a new Penal Code had been published on the official website of the Ministry of Justice a year ago and has been subject of many discussions. She added that many texts remain controversial, not only from the view point of the Bulgarian public, but on the part of the legal science, giving the example with the legal notion of the restrictions to the right of self-defense. According to her the draft law should be a matter of broad discussion before its consideration by the parliament. Mr. Luka Volonte is on a two day visit to Bulgaria.

He is scheduled to have talks with the Vice- President of Bulgaria, Mrs. Margarita Popova, the Ombudsman Mr. Konstantin Penchev, the Head of the Supreme Court of Cassation Lazar Gruev, the Prosecutor General Boris Velchev, the Justice Minister Diana Kovacheva and the Deputy Foreign Minister Vesselin Vuchkov. He will be meeting with parliamentary groups’ representatives in the National Assembly on September 27th 2012.

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