A working meeting between Bulgaria’s Chief Prosecutor, Sotir Tsatsarov, and the Chief Prosecutor of Romania’s National Anti-Corruption Directorate, Laura Kovesi, was held at the Court Palace in Sofia on 17th of March, the Prosecutor’s office said.
The meeting was at the invitation of Bulgaria’s Chief Prosecutor. It was attended by the Ambassador of Romania Ion Galea and prosecutor Anka Jurma. The representatives from Bulgaria were the Head of Anticorruption Unit of the Prosecutor’s Office, Rumyana Arnaudova; Sofia City Prosecutor Emilia Russinova and the administrative head of the Specialised Public Prosecutor’s Office Ivan Geshev.
The main topic of the discussion was the powers of the two prosecutor’s office in the investigation of corruption practices. The meeting also discussed the issue of immunity from prosecution of candidates in local and national elections and Members of Parliament. In Romania, the candidates do not enjoy immunity and MPs have no immunity to protect them from prosecution, but only against detention and other measures of procedural coercion.
The Romanian prosecutors have presented the amendments to the Criminal Code as of 2014, according to which after holding an initial preliminary hearing, the court has no right to return the cases to the prosecution. Kovesi has reported data showing that from 323 submitted indictments in 2016, the court returned only 4 cases because of procedural violations.
Subject of the discussion were the deadlines for authorization for use of special intelligence means / 72 hours in Bulgaria and maximum 2 hours Romania by a judge on duty/. Prosecutor Kovesi has emphasised on the appointment of police officers in the directorate she manages (295 police officers and 165 prosecutors) and explained they are fully independent from the Ministry of Interior. The Directorate in Romania has its own experts, unlike the Bulgarian Prosecutor’s Office.
The participants in the meeting exchanged experience in the work of the law enforcement authorities and the judicial system and expressed desire for closer cooperation.