Presidents Penal Code Veto Rejected By Parliament

Parliament’s Legal Committee rejected the presidential veto on the changes to the Penal Code and re-voted the possibility of delaying the notification upon detention for up to 48 hours, reports BNT. 

On December 19, Bulgaria’s head of state returned the law for new debates. He questioned provisions providing for a 48-hour delay of the notification upon detention.

Without defining the circle of individuals and the specific crimes, for which the notification of family members can be delayed, there is an opportunity to disproportionately violate rights and a risk that the exception will become a rule, the head of state said. In his opinion, the possibility that parents will not be informed about detained minors within up to 24 hours is even more alarming. because the Constitution requires from parents to look after their children to their majority and obliges the state to support them.

During the discussion, the head of state’s thesis was defended by Prof. Emilia Drumeva, secretary of legal affairs in the administration of the President. She emphasized to the MPs that he welcomed the legislator’s efforts in the fight against terrorism and complicated criminal activity, but did not accept the approach. Respect for high standards for the protection of citizens’ fundamental rights is an indispensable guideline in the development of the European legal systems, Prof. Drumeva says.

Similar arguments were presented by the Secretary for Legal Affairs and Anti-Corruption of the President, Plamen Uzunov, who referred to two statements by the Supreme Prosecutor’s Office of Cassation, in which it had taken the same view.

The Ministry of Justice defended the amendements. Deputy Minister Evgeni Stoyanov stressed that they were due to the transposition of one of the European directives in the field of criminal law and the envisaged temporary derogation will be used only in exceptional circumstances.

The Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) supported the presidential veto. MP Filip Popov commented that the provisions returned for review violate the balance between the protection of basic human rights and the interest of the state. According to him, the lack of specificity to which crimes non-notification refers would lead to arbitrariness.

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