Tag Archives: indicative benchmarks

On the Benchmarks for Reform and Bulgarian Organized Crime

There is an ongoing crackdown on organized crime in Bulgaria. This should be good news. But the prosecution will have to prove allegations in court. The benchmark is judgments with res judicata.

There’s also the Bulgarian Supreme Judicial Council that refused to sack high-ranking magistrates that have been in contact with the infamous Krasimir Georgiev-Krasio. The benchmark here is called implementation of the code of conduct, or its lack thereof.

Both benchmarks are important. Both benchmarks are NOT yet reached.

Regular Report under the Co-operation and Verification Mechanism

The European Commission has published its regular annual reports under the Co-operation and Verification Mechanism for Bulgaria and Romania.

The report for Bulgaria includes an assessment on meeting the indicative benchmarks for justice and home affairs since its last full report (23 July 2008). It also makes recommendations to Bulgaria based on this assessment.

The report says that there is “a change in attitude and a more open and frank dialogue at all levels with the Bulgarian authorities”.

In more specific points, the report finds that:

  • The establishment of a permanent Joint Team for the Suppression of Offenses against the EU Financial System is an excellent initiative;
  • Killings linked with organized crime continue and known criminals are not apprehended;
  • Organizational overlaps continue in the new structure of the Ministry of Internal Affairs which has not yet led to increased effectiveness in the investigation of serious crime;
  • Delays in criminal cases are largely caused by the extreme formality of the criminal procedure, a certain passivity of the bench and the seemingly limitless possibilities offered by the criminal procedure law to defendants to stall the proceedings;
  • The Inspectorate to the Supreme Judicial Council has become fully operational and has achieved an encouraging track record in the investigation of disciplinary violations and of systemic weaknesses of judicial practice;
  • There is a need for a more pro-active approach for fighting corruption in vulnerable areas and sectors such as health or education.

On the question of possible invocation of the safeguard clause, the Commission concludes that this is not necessary. According to the report:

“The kind of deep seated changes that are needed can only come from within Bulgarian society. The CVM is a support tool in this endeavour; it is not an end in itself nor can it replace commitment that Bulgarian authorities need to make in order to align the judicial system and practice with general EU standards.”