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.

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Episode 5 of the Celmer Saga – The Irish High Court Holds Back

On 19 November 2018, Donnelly J gave her fifth judgment in the Celmer saga concluding that the real risk of a flagrant denial of justice has not been established by Mr Celmer and ordered that he be surrendered on foot of the European Arrest Warrants issued against him. Given that Donnelly J had initially found that there were ‘breaches of the common value of the rule of law’, this came as some surprise.

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Should the ECtHR Consider Turkey’s Criminal Peace Judgeships a Viable Domestic Avenue?

Turkey has seen an erosion of democracy in recent years, particularly since the July 2016 coup attempt. The European Court of Human Rights has received over 33,000 applications from the country. However, more than 90% have been rejected, many on the basis that they have yet to exhaust viable domestic avenues. This is a conundrum when there is no viable domestic judicial system that is independent from the state. Of notable concern is the Criminal Peace Judgeships (CPJ).

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