Concluding observations of the Committee against Torture : Bulgaria. 05/07/1999.
A/54/44,paras.151-162. (Concluding Observations/Comments)

Convention Abbreviation: CAT
COMMITTEE AGAINST TORTURE
Twenty-second session
26 April-14 May 1999


CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS SUBMITTED BY STATES PARTIES
UNDER ARTICLE 19 OF THE CONVENTION


Conclusions and recommendations of the Committee against Torture


Bulgaria



151. The Committee considered the second periodic report of Bulgaria (CAT/C/17/Add.19) at its 372nd, 375th and 379th meetings, held on 30 April 1999 and 3 and 5 May 1999 (CAT/C/SR.372, 375 and 379) and has adopted the following conclusions and recommendations.


1. Introduction



152. The Committee welcomes the second periodic report of Bulgaria submitted in accordance with the guidelines for the preparation of State party reports. It appreciates the information provided by the representative of Bulgaria in his introductory statement and the open and fruitful dialogue.



153. However, the Committee regrets that the second periodic report was seven years overdue.



2. Positive aspects



154. The Committee notes with great satisfaction, that the State party has:



(a) Made the declarations recognizing the Committee’s competence under articles 21 and 22 of the Convention;



(b) Ratified among other international and regional treaties the European Convention on Prevention of Torture and Other Inhuman or Degrading Treatments or Punishment;



(c) Abolished the death penalty;



(d) Continued to reform and amend its domestic laws in order to protect human rights;



(e) Continued its efforts to educate law enforcement officials in the field of human rights, particularly, with regard to the prohibition against torture.



3. Factors and difficulties impeding the application of the provisions of the Convention



155. The Committee takes note of the economic problems currently existing in Bulgaria and the adverse effect that they have on some of the reforms in progress.



156. It recalls, however, that such difficulties could never justify breaches of articles 1, 2 and 16 of the Convention.



4. Subjects of concern



157. The lack in domestic law of a definition of torture in accordance with article 1 of the Convention and the failure to ensure that all acts of torture are offences under criminal law.



158. The legislative and other measures are not sufficiently effective to ensure the respect of the provisions of article 3 of the Convention.



159. The lack of measures to ensure universal jurisdiction with regard to acts of torture in all circumstances.



160. The continued reporting from reliable non­governmental organizations on ill­treatment by public officials, particularly the police, especially against persons belonging to ethnic minorities.



161. The deficiencies relating to a prompt and impartial system of investigation of alleged cases of torture and the failure to bring those allegations before a judge or other appropriate judicial authority.



5. Recommendations



162. The Committee recommends that the State party:



(a) Continues its effort to implement the provisions of the Convention, particularly articles 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6, by adopting the necessary legislative measures in that regard;



(b) Continues its policies and efforts to educate law enforcement personnel as well as medical personnel about the prohibition of torture;



(c) Take effective steps to put an end to practices of ill­treatment by the police which still occur;



(d) That all prisoners’ correspondence addressed to international bodies of investigation or settlement of disputes be excluded from “censor checks” by prison personnel or other authorities;



(e) Submit its third and fourth periodic reports due on 25 June 1996 and 25 June 2000 respectively on 25 June 2000 at the latest.


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Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
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