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Fiches Belges: Bulgaria

Technical or scientific examinations or expert evaluations (305)



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

The application of the measure in the framework of international legal cooperation is possible, after elaboration of respective request for legal assistance. Expert evaluation is a method for collecting and verifying of evidence. In cases when special knowledge in the field of science, art or technique is necessary for clarification of certain facts of the case, the court or the body holding the pre-trial proceedings by a written act assigns the performance of an expert evaluation, appoints a person who is proved to have such knowledge /an expert/ and assigns particular tasks to that expert. After performance of the necessary examination the expert shall draw a written opinion in which he/she shall state: the name of the expert and the grounds for performance of the expert evaluation; where it was performed; the assigned task; the materials used; the examinations performed and the applied scientific and technical means; the received results and the conclusions drawn by the expert. In case at performance of the expert evaluation new materials are discovered, which are of significance for the case, but with regard to which no tasks were assigned, the expert is obliged to describe them in the expert opinion so that they be included in the materials under the case. The assigning, elaboration and acceptance of the expert opinion is performed in both stages of criminal proceedings – pre-trial and court stage.



International legal framework applicable for this measure in your Member State

European Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters of 1959 and Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters between the Member-States of the European Union of 29 May 2000. Тhe Schengen Acquis – Agreement



* receive the request/decision for judicial cooperation

In cases of direct contact between the judicial authorities the following shall be observed: With regard to the pre-trial stage of proceedings: 1 If the request for legal assistance refers to organized crime the competent authority is the Specialized Prosecutor’s Office regardless of the place of commitment of crime. 2 In all other cases the competent authority is the respective first instance prosecutor’s office according to the rules of subject matter and territorial jurisdiction according to the Bulgarian legislation – art. 35 and art. 36 of Criminal Procedure Code of Republic of Bulgaria. If the crime is committed outside the territory of Bulgaria and the perpetrator is a Bulgarian citizen, the competent authority is the prosecutor’s office at his/her place of residence. In the same case, but if the perpetrator is not a Bulgarian citizen, the competent authority is Prosecutor’s Office in Sofia. With regard to the court stage of proceedings: 1 If the request for legal assistance refers to organized crime the competent authority is the Specialized Prosecutor’s Office regardless of the place of commitment of crime. 2 In all other cases the competent authority is the respective first instance court according to the rules described in connection to the pre-trial stage of proceedings.

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

As a rule the authority competent to receive the request is also the authority competent to fulfill it. According to the Bulgarian legislation in the pre-trial stage of proceedings there is a legal opportunity the prosecutor to order to the investigating authority /investigator, police or customs officer/ to assign directly to an expert the performance of expert evaluation.



Accepted languages for the request/decision

The request and enclosed documents shall be accompanied by translation in Bulgarian language or in one of the official languages of the Council of Europe. With regard to the prompt administration and fulfillment of the request it is recommended the latter to be translated in Bulgarian language in advance.



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

In general no specific deadline is fixed, except for the cases described below /see p. 6a/ The practice necessitated the requests for legal assistance to be fulfilled as soon as possible, which usually takes between two and four months according to the factual and legal complexity of the particular request.



a. Special requirements

The authority that assigns the performance of expert evaluation may require the accused or the witness to provide samples for comparative survey when it is not possible such samples to be received by other means. The same persons are obliged to provide the required samples for comparative survey and if they refuse to do so, the samples shall be taken by compulsory measures after permission of the respective first instance court. When the samples for comparative survey are related to taking of blood samples or with other similar invasive interventions, the taking of the samples shall be performed by a person with medical qualification under surveillance of a medical doctor in conformity to the rules of medical practice and without risk for the health of the person. The appearance of an expert before foreign judicial authorities is admissible only if a guarantee is received that the expert regardless of his/her citizenship shall not be subjected to penal liability for crimes committed until his subpoenaing. If the expert refuses to appear he/she may not be subject to compulsory measures. Judicial authority of another state may interrogate an expert who remains on the territory of Bulgaria by means of video conference or telephone conference.

b. Other useful information

The assignment of additional expert evaluation may be requested if the presented expert opinion is not complete and clear enough or a second expert evaluation – if the expert opinion is not motivated and gives raise to doubts in its correctness. The measure may be performed according to the procedure of the requesting state when it explicitly required so. In these cases the request shall be accompanied by respective extracts of the relative legislation, the application of which is requested. Bulgaria may allow officials and interested persons from the requesting state to be present at performance of the measure if an explicit request in this regard is made. The practice shows that a request for legal assistance sent by mistake shall be directed to the respective authority, competent to accept and fulfill it.

Last reviewed on 24 August 2016 by EJN Secretariat
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