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Fiches Belges: Bulgaria

Hearing suspects/persons accused: by video conference (711)



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

Procedural method for collecting of verbal evidence that comes from the accused person and an instrument for realization of his/her right of defence. There is an alternative measure with the same purpose – fulfilment of a request of another state referring to interrogation of an accused/defendant by application of the standard procedure.



International legal framework applicable for this measure in your Member State

1. European Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters of 1959 and 2. Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters between the Member-States of the European Union of 29 May 2000. 3. Тhe Schengen Acquis – Agreement



* receive the request/decision for judicial cooperation

In fulfilment of requests for legal assistance referring to interrogation of defendant by video conference the request shall be fulfilled by the Court of Appeal at the place of residence of the person – in the court stage of proceedings and interrogation of accused person shall be performed by the National Investigation Service - Sofia 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)

Interrogation of accused/defendant by video conference shall be performed upon request in this regard by a judicial authority of another state and when this is envisaged under an international contract to which Republic of Bulgaria is a party. The request shall contain: 1. The reason why the appearance in person of the interrogated individual is undesirable or impossible; 2. The name of the competent authority of the other state; 3. The data of individuals who shall conduct the interrogation; 4. Consent of the accused/defendant who will take part in an interrogation hearing through a video conference. According to the stage of proceedings in which the measure is applied, it shall be performed as follows: I. IN PRE-TRIAL PROCEEDINGS: the request for interrogation by video conference shall be fulfilled by an investigator from the National Investigation Service – Sofia. II. IN COURT PROCEEDINGS: the request for interrogation by video conference shall be fulfilled by the Court of Appeal at the place of residence of the defendant. The competent Bulgarian authority may require the requesting state to provide the technical means for interrogation. The interrogation shall be performed directly by the judicial authority of the requesting state or under its supervision and in conformity to the legislation of the requesting state. The Bulgarian competent authority shall establish the identity of the accused/defendant and after the interrogation a written statement shall be drawn referring to: the date and place of performing of interrogation, data about the interrogated person and his/her consent to be interrogated by video conference as well as data about individuals who took part in the interrogation on the Bulgarian side and conformity to other conditions accepted by the Bulgarian party.



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.



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.



a. Special requirements

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

Rendering of assistance or participation of agents from the requesting state in the course of performance of the measure is admissible. The interrogation shall be held by judicial authority of the other state and in conformity to its legislation if due request in this regard is made and if this does not contradict to main principles of the law of Republic of Bulgaria.

Last reviewed on 25 August 2016 by EJN Secretariat
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