The Council of Europe and the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) have numerously stated their concern about the excessive length of judicial proceedings in Bulgaria, the need for Bulgarian authorities to consolidate their efforts and follow up with the implementation of ongoing reforms, especially the judicial reform. The Project is expected to raise the public awareness of the European Convention on Human Rights and the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights, as well as to contribute to the easy access to the Court’s case-law in Bulgarian through a number of outputs: Bulgarian Human Rights e-Portal, publishment of E-Bulletin and Handbook on human rights, trainings, analyses of the domestic legislation and the evaluation of the domestic administrative mechanism for compensation for excessive length of court proceedings. The Project will benefit the Bulgarian judicial system, magistrates, law practitioners and the broad public in general. The Council of Europe as project partner contributes to the planning and structuring of activities and provides particular expertise in the field of Human Rights.
Summary of project results
In 2012 when the Project was drafted, according to the annual statistics of the ECtHR, Bulgaria was in the 10 countries with most number of judgments finding at least one violation of the Convention. Therefore, the relevant domestic legislation and practice needed to be reviewed in order to establish the reasons for the structural and systematic problems deriving from the ECtHR case law. The creation of a domestic legislation review mechanism was also considered imperative. Bulgaria has the obligation to rapidly execute the judgments of the ECtHR and thus the next main aspect of the project was aimed at reinforcing the capacity of the domestic institutions to rapidly execute the judgments of the ECtHR. This was supported especially by the Activities aiming to increase the public awareness and knowledge of the ECHR and the case-law of the Court, namely the development of an e-Portal dedicated to promote the human rights by providing an easy access to ECtHR case law, translated under the project into Bulgarian. About 340 judgments and decisions of the ECtHR and other CoE documents were translated under this Project and published on the e-Portal. E-Bulletin with resumes of the ECtHR judgments and decisions against Bulgaria also was created and will continue to be prepared and published after the end date of the Project. The results of this Project as long term goal are decreasing the human rights violations in Bulgaria and raising the public sensitivity of human rights violations. At the end of the Project significant progress could be reported with regards to the specific objectives of the Project, inter alia, improving access to specialised training material in Bulgarian, promoting and raising the awareness of the European standards of human rights, exchange of good practices with counterpart organisations, improving the capacity of national experts, etc. Effective measures to create mechanism for preliminary examination of draft regulations and their compliance with the Convention was incorporated in proposal for legislative amendments of the Normative Acts Act, which was adopted by the Parliament on April 21, 2016 (in force as of 4 November 2016).
Summary of bilateral results
-Bilateral Project 1"Enhancing the Effectiveness of the University Education on the ECHR" in partnership with Norwegian Centre for Human Rights at the University of Oslo and Council of Europe. Study visit in Oslo of a groups of national academics as representatives of the Law faculties of Bulgarian universities to Faculty of Law at the Oslo University/Norwegian Centre for Human Rights) was completed. Exchange of good practices in human rights study and research was achieved. Conference aimed to ensure a platform for public discussion on the topic of higher education reform (human rights teaching in particular) with the participation of all national stakeholders and representatives of the partnerswas held in Sofia. -Bilateral Project 2 "Supporting the execution of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights regarding vulnerable groups" in partnership with CoE. Informal consultations with administrative judges, municipal authorities, etc. to discuss their perspective and suggestions on the problematic issues on illegal Roma settlements)were held. Roundtable in Sofia with the participation of relevant stakeholders as a debate on relevant human rights standards and good practices was conducted. At the end report on the readiness of the national authorities to amend the relevant legislation and practices in conformity with the human rights standards and the general measures recommended in the Court’s judgment Yordanova and others v.Bulgaria) was drafted. -Bilateral Project 3 "Capacity Building of Project Promoters and Donor Project Partners to Support the Continued Implementation and the Planning of Future Norway Grants Projects" Two-day workshop was held / hosted at the end of Mau 2015 in Trondheim, Norway by the Norwegian partner – the Norwegian Court Administration. Project Promoters of Norway Grants projects from Bulgaria, Lithuania, Poland and Romania projects including the project managers from the NCA and the COE were involved. 3 people took part on the Bulgarian side, representing project under the family of Program BG 14. In addition a Report on Lessons Learns in Program period 2009-2014 was issued and disseminated.