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The ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) and its legacy organization—the Bulgarian Institute for Legal Initiatives (BILI)—have partnered to carry out a third Prosecutorial Reform Index (PRI) assessment for Bulgaria. The PRI draws upon international standards and comparative legal traditions to evaluate a country’s prosecutorial system vis-à-vis 28 factors that facilitate an accountable, ethical and effective prosecutorial system. ABA ROLI implemented the first PRI for Bulgaria in 2006 at the beginning of former Prosecutor General Boris Velchev’s term, and ABA ROLI and BILI partnered to carry out a second PRI in 2010. While Velchev has been appointed to the Bulgarian Constitutional Court earlier this month, the third PRI is being implemented at his request to evaluate reforms under his seven-year-long leadership.
The PRI team meets with Mr. Ivan Daskalov (left), Head of the Appellate Prosecution Office in Plovdiv.
High-ranking Bulgarian officials praised the prosecutorial assessments. Rosen Dimov, a prosecutor and administrative chief with the Supreme Cassation Prosecution Service, leads the task force charged with developing targeted reforms in response to the PRI findings. “[T]he introduction of the Prosecutorial Reform Index in Bulgaria had great impact and contributed to the resolution of a number of issues,” he said. “[The] research [is] based on entirely independent and objective sources. The problematic positions identified in [the PRI] are viewed by the management of the Prosecution Office of the Republic of Bulgaria as major starting points for the achievement of internal reforms.” Dimov stated that following the implementation of the first two assessments, the prosecutor general formed working groups to address the identified weaknesses. The 2010 assessment showed an improvement in 11 of the 28 factors of the PRI, indicating that the post-2006 reforms were successful.
Emphasizing that the PRI is useful not only for the prosecutorial service, but also for institutions including the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Education and National Assembly, whose activities directly affect the work of prosecutors, Dimov said that the prosecutorial service’s attempts to collaborate with these institutions to overcome negative trends have not been as successful.
The third assessment, which is at its final stages, is led by a Bulgarian attorney and international legal expert Todor Kolarov, with the support of Sofia-based BILI staff and Washington, DC-based ABA ROLI staff. ABA ROLI Senior Legal Analyst Jessie Tannenbaum, who is participating in the assessment, said that the 2012 PRI comes at a crucial time in the development of Bulgaria’s prosecutorial system. “Mr. Velchev is widely seen as a reformer, and with his departure, it is important both to measure the success of his reform programs and determine in what areas reform is still needed,” she said. “Additionally, the 2012 PRI comes at an opportune moment to analyze the appointment and first months of work of the new Supreme Judicial Council, as well as the appointment process and transition of Mr. Velchev’s yet-to-be-named successor.”
To learn more about our work in Bulgaria, contact the ABA Rule of Law Initiative at email@example.com.