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Fiches Belges: Bulgaria

Audierea victimelor / reclamanţilor (707)

1. MEASURE IMPLEMENTATION

Bulgaria

Is this measure possible in your Member State under International Judicial Cooperation?

Procedural method for collecting of verbal evidence aimed at establishing of facts perceived by the victim/plaintiff who has the capacity of witness and contributing to the revealing of the objective truth in the two stages of criminal proceedings /court stage and pre-trial stage/. Victim is the person who suffered material or non-material damages as a result of the crime. The victim has the right to be constituted as a civil claimant and/or private prosecutor. When the victim is deceased his/her rights are transferred to his/her heirs. The victim may be a physical person or a legal entity. If it is a legal entity its representative shall be interrogated. There is an alternative measure with the same purpose - the alternative to second or subsequent interrogation in the court stage of proceedings is the reading of testimony of a witness given under the same case in the following hypotheses: 1. Under the pre-trial proceedings before a judge; 2. Before another panel of the court; 3. Under the pre-trial proceedings with the consent of all parties under the proceedings; 4. Under the pre-trial proceedings when a request for interrogation of the witness before a judge made by the defendant or his/her defense counsel is not granted. In this case the consent of the other parties is not necessary.

2. LEGAL FRAMEWORK

Bulgaria

International legal framework applicable for this measure in your Member State

Art. 75, art. 74 – art. 83, art. 84 - art. 88, art. 117, art. 139, art. 142, art. 223, art. 280, paragraph 1 – paragraph 5, art. 281 of Criminal Procedure Code and art. 4 of the European Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters.

3. COMPETENT AUTHORITY TO:

Bulgaria

* receive the request/decision for judicial cooperation

In fulfillment of requests for legal assistance referring to interrogation of victim/plaintiff as a witness the request shall be fulfilled by the court – in the court stage of proceedings and by the prosecutor or the investigation authority by virtue of an order of the prosecutor – in the pre-trial stage of proceedings.

* execute/recognise the measure (if other than the receiving authority)

1. Prior to interrogation of the witness his or her identity shall be established and the relations thereof with the accused/defendant and with the other participants in the proceedings /if the witness is a protected one with secret identity only the identification number is recorded/. 2. The witness shall be warned about the penal liability in case of false testimony and the rights granted by virtue of the Criminal Procedure Code shall be explained to him/her, as the main rights are: right to refuse to testify if he/she is a close relative, spouse or person who lives in concubinage with the accused/defendant; right not to testify on questions, the answers to which might incriminate him/her or his/her close relatives in the commission of crime; right to consult an attorney; rights of a victim under art. 75 of Criminal Procedure Code of Republic of Bulgaria. 3. The competent authority shall invite the victim-witness to state in the form of free narration all that may be known to him/her about the case. The witness shall give his/her testimony verbally directly in front of the respective authority; 4. The victim-witness may be asked questions by the competent authority and the parties under the case. 5. Everything stated by the witness shall be recorded in a statement. 6. If the witness does not speak Bulgarian language or is deaf or mute a translator shall be appointed /under the first hypothesis/ or an interpreter shall be appointed /under the second and the third hypotheses/. 7. The interrogation of important witnesses or of such with regard to which there is a risk not to participate in the court proceedings may be performed in front of a judge from the respective regional court. 8. The victim of the crime has the right to be constituted as civil claimant /by filing of civil claim/ and/or private prosecutor – both capacities he/she may receive only in the court proceedings up to the beginning of court investigation. In this case he/she gains the capacity of a party under the case. The measure may be performed in conformity to the procedure of the requesting state by virtue of art. 4, item 1 of the Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters between the Member States of the European Union of 29.05.2000 when this is explicitly requested by the requesting state.

4. ACCEPTED LANGUAGES

Bulgaria

Accepted languages for the request/decision

Bulgarian language or one of the official languages of the Council of Europe. With regard to promptness and efficiency it is recommended the requests/decisions/ to be accompanied by translation in Bulgarian language.

5. EXECUTION DEADLINE

Bulgaria

Deadlines for the execution of the request/decision (where applicable)

Specific deadline is not envisaged. The practice shows that the fulfillment of requests/decisions usually takes between two and four months.

6. CONCISE LEGAL PRACTICAL INFORMATION

Bulgaria

a. Special requirements

The spouse, ascendants, descendants, brothers, sisters of the accused party and the individuals with whom he/she lives in concubinage may refuse to testify. The witness is not obliged to answer questions the answers to which would incriminate him/her, his/her ascendants, descendants, brothers, sisters or spouse or a person with whom he/she lives in concubinage. The witness may not be interrogated about facts that became known to him/her in his/her capacity of defence counsel or attorney or in his/her capacity as translator at the meetings between the accused person and his/her defence counsel. Persons who participated in the same criminal proceedings, but in different procedural capacity may not testify as witnesses, except: 1. The accused, once proceedings have terminated or been disposed of by a sentence in force with regard to him/her; 2. The victim, the private prosecutor, the civil claimant, the civil respondent; 3. The certifying witnesses, as well as officers of the Ministry of Interior, the Military Police or the Customs Agency who attended during observation searches and seizures, investigative experiment and recognition of persons and objects. Individuals who have taken investigative or judicial trial action may not have the capacity of witnesses, even where records of action taken by them have not been drafted in accordance with the terms and in pursuance of the procedure provided for under the Criminal Procedure Code. Individuals, who on account of physical or mental deficiencies are unable to properly perceive the facts of significance in the case, or give reliable testimonies about them, may not have the capacity of witnesses. When necessary the interrogation of an underage accused person shall be conducted with participation of a pedagogue or psychologist who with the permission of the investigative body may ask him/her questions. The pedagogue or psychologist has the right to review the written statement of interrogation and to make remarks on the accuracy and completeness of its content.

b. Other useful information

By virtue of art. 4 of the European Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters the participation of officials from the requesting state in the performance of the measure is possible when explicit demand in this regard was made and duly admitted by the requested state and if this does not contradict to main principles of the law of Republic of Bulgaria.

Last reviewed on 25 august 2016 by Secretariatul RJE

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