Carte Blanche for Political Abuse

Bulgaria has established one of the most aggressive confiscation regimes in Europe, allowing seizure of assets without a criminal conviction and putting the burden of proof in the procedure on the owner. Bulgarian law, as it stands, has no specific safeguards to prevent misuse, and has been criticized by the European Court of Human Rights in cases like Dimitrovi v Bulgaria. Furthermore, questions have been raised as government opponents and critics seem to be prime targets of these confiscation measures. In a preliminary reference to the Court of Justice of the European Union from Sofia’s City Court on that issue, Advocate General Eleanor Sharpston has recently delivered her opinion which leaves the door wide open for political abuse by Bulgarian authorities.

Continue Reading →

How an EU Directive on Access to a Lawyer Became a Weapon for Secret Arrests

Directive 2013/48/EU of 22 October 2013 ‘on the right of access to a lawyer in criminal proceedings’ had an unfortunate fate in Bulgaria. In particular, the transposition is troublesome because the government used the Directive as a pretext to revive a totalitarian practice ­­– secret arrests.

Continue Reading →

Romania – Another Brick in the Wall Fencing the Fight against Corruption

On 4 March 2019, the Romanian Constitutional Court published its decision on two protocols of cooperation between the Romanian Intelligence Service and the National Prosecutor’s Office. This much-awaited decision is the latest but not the final step in a saga which started more than 15 years ago.

Continue Reading →