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LAW ON SUPPORT AND FINANCIAL COMPENSATION TO CRIME VICTIMS

Effective from 01.01.2007

 Prom. SG. 105/22 Dec 2006

Chapter one.

GENERAL PROVISIONS

Art. 1. (1) This Law shall regulate the terms and the procedure for support and financial compensation granted by the state to victims of crime - Bulgarian citizens or citizens of Member States of the European Union.

(2) Under the terms and following the procedure of this Law, support and financial compensation may also be granted to foreign citizens in the cases, provided for in international agreements, to which the Republic of Bulgaria is a party.

Art. 2. The purpose of this Law is the protection of the rights and the lawful interests of crime victims to be acknowledged and guaranteed.

Art. 3. (1) Under the terms and following the procedure of this Law support may be granted to victims, who have suffered material and non-material damages of crimes, and financial compensation – to victims, who have suffered material damages.

(2) Where the victim has passed away as a result of the crime, the right of support and financial compensation shall pass to his/her children, parents, spouse or the person, with whom he/she was in actual cohabitation.

(3) Support and financial compensation may be granted to the persons referred to in para 1 and 2, who have suffered damages from the following crimes: terrorism; deliberate homicide; deliberate serious bodily harm; sexual molestation and rape, as a result of which serious health damages have been caused; traffic of people; crimes, committed by an order or in fulfilment of a decision of an organised criminal group, as well as other serious deliberate crimes as a result of which death or serious bodily harm have been caused as corpus delicti consequence.

Art. 4. This Law shall apply in the cases where the crimes referred to in Art. 3, para 3 have been committed on the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria or if the crimes have been committed out of its territory and the victim is a Bulgarian citizen.

Art. 5. The support and the financial compensation are an act of humane attitude of the state towards the victims of crime.

Chapter two.

INFORMING THE CRIME VICTIMS OF THEIR RIGHTS

Art. 6. (1) The bodies of the Ministry of Interior and the victim support organizations shall notify the victims of:

1. the organizations, the victims can turn to for free psychological help and support, as well as the types of free psychological help and support, which they may receive;

2. their right of legal support, the bodies which they may address in order to exercise this right, the terms and the procedure of providing legal support for free;

3. the bodies, before which may be filed signals for the crime committed, the procedures after filing the signal and the opportunities of action of the victims under the terms and the manner of these procedures;

4. their rights in the penal procedure and the possibilities of participation in it;

5. the bodies they can turn to in order to obtain protection for themselves and their next of kin, the terms and the procedure of obtaining such protection;

6. the bodies they can turn to in order to be granted financial compensation by the state, as well as the terms and the procedure for the receipt thereof;

7. the opportunities for protection of their rights and interests, in case they are foreign citizens, who have become victims of crime on the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria;

8. the opportunities for protection of their rights and interests, if they have become victims of crime on the territory of another state and the bodies they may turn to in such cases.

(2) The notification shall be carried out in writing or verbally in a language understandable to the victims.

(3) Written records shall be drawn up for the notification, which shall be registered at the registry office of the respective body or organization under para 1.

Art. 7. (1) The National Council for Support and Compensation of Crime Victims, called hereinafter "The National Council", shall:

1. issue and disseminate a booklet in Bulgarian, English, German and French language, in which the information as per Art. 6, para 1 is contained;

2. provide the booklet for free distribution to the bodies and the organisations as per Art. 6, para 1, as well as to medical establishments, the social support services and to other legal entities in contact with crime victims at carrying out their activity.

(2) The information contained in the booklet shall be released on the Internet sites of the National Council, the Ministry of Interior, the victim support organizations, as well as the ones referred to in para 1, item 2.

(3) The National Council together with the victim support organizations shall ensure the functioning of permanent free telephone line with unified identification code for the whole State for providing information to the crime victims. The telephone line operator shall inform the bodies of the Ministry of Interior of victims in danger.

(4) The National Council together with the victim support organizations and the bodies of the executive or the local authorities, having powers in the sphere of protection of the crime victims, shall organise public campaigns for providing information to the citizens of their rights as crime victims.

Chapter three.

FORMS OF SUPPORT AND FINANCIAL COMPENSATION TO CRIME VICTIMS

Art. 8. (1) The forms of support of the crime victims shall be:

1. medical support upon state of emergency following the procedure of the Law of Health;

2. psychological consultation and help;

3. free legal support;

4. practical assistance.

(2) The persons referred to in Art. 3, para 2 can use the forms of support as per para 1, item 2.

(3) In addition to the above-mentioned forms of support the crime victims shall be entitled to one-time financial compensation under the terms and following the procedure, laid down in this Law.

Art. 9. (1) The free psychological consultation and help shall be provided by expert – psychologists from the victim support organizations.

(2) The activity under para 1 shall be financed by the Ministry of Justice following a procedure, established by the National Council.

(3) The victim support organizations shall give an account of their activity annually to the National Council.

Art. 10. The crime victims can receive legal support under the terms and following the procedure of the Law of the Legal Support.

Art. 11. (1) The victim support organizations and all other legal entities in contact with crime victims at carrying out their activity shall be obliged to render them practical assistance.

(2) The practical assistance shall be expressed in putting at a visible place relevant information boards and other materials concerning the rights of the crime victims under this Law and in the creation of calm and favourable atmosphere when making contact with them.

Art. 12. The financial compensation shall be granted after coming into effect of:

1. the conviction sentence, including the cases where the case has been considered in the absence of the defendant;

2. the prosecutor’s or judicial act, by virtue of which the penal proceedings have been terminated, except for the cases where the termination is on the ground of Art. 24, para 1, items 1, 7, 9 and 11 of the Penal Procedure Code;

3. the prosecutor’s or judicial act, by virtue of which the penal proceedings have been suspended due to non-detection of the perpetrator of the crime.

Art. 13. (1) The financial compensation shall be in the form of granting a monetary sum by the state amounting from 250 to 5000 BNG.

(2) Where the financial compensation is being provided to persons referred to in Art. 3, para 2, its total amount may not exceed 10 000 BGN.

Art. 14. The financial compensation shall comprise, jointly or separately, the material damages, being direct consequence of the crime, which are in the form of:

1. expenses for treatment, except for the expenses paid by the budget of the National Health Insurance Fund;

2. missed income;

3. expenses for payments of court and office expenses;

4. missed financial resources for maintenance;

5. funeral expenses;

6. other material damages.

Art. 15. (1) The financial compensation shall not be granted, in case:

1. the victim has been convicted of crime under Art. 3, para 3 during the last 5 years prior to submitting the application for financial compensation;

2. the criminal act has been committed in a status of affect, which has been provoked by the victim by illegal act, as a result of which have occurred or there was a possibility of occurrence of serious consequences for the culprit or his/her next of kin;

3. the criminal act has been committed by exceeding the requirements of justifiable defence;

4. the victim has obtained indemnification in another way;

5. the victim has not informed the competent authorities of the commitment of the crime, unless he/she could not have done that for good reasons;

(2) In case the victim has contributed to the occurrence of the criminal result, this shall lead to reduction of the financial compensation, which the victim would obtain.

Art. 16. Immediately after the payment of the financial compensation the Minister of Justice shall lodge a recourse claim against the perpetrator of the crime or his/her heirs for the restoration of the monetary sum paid up.

Chapter four.

TERMS AND PROCEDURE OF SUPPORT AND FINANCIAL COMPENSATION TO CRIME VICTIMS

Art. 17. (1) The application for provision of free psychological help shall be submitted to the victim support organization, chosen by the victim.

(2) The application shall contain:

1. the three names of the victim, his/her citizenship, date and place of birth, permanent and present address;

2. date, place and circumstances of the crime commitment;

3. date on which the victim has informed the competent authorities of the committed crime;

4. grounds of seeking psychological help by the sender of the application.

(3) To the application shall be attached copies of the documents, certifying the data contained in it.

(4) The victim support organizations shall maintain a register of the submitted applications and the actions undertaken with respect to them.

Art. 18. (1) A model of the application for financial compensation shall be provided to the victims by the National Council, the regional governors and by the authorities and the organizations referred to in Art. 6, para 1.

(2) The application for financial compensation shall contain:

1. the three names of the victim, his/her citizenship, date and place of birth, permanent and present address;

2. date, place and circumstances of the crime commitment and of the notification thereof;

3. grounds of receiving financial compensation.

(3) The application for financial compensation shall be submitted to the regional governor at present address of the victim or to the National Council in two-month term from the entry into force of the act as per Art. 12.

(4) Where the application is submitted to the regional governor, it shall be sent to the National Council in seven-day term from its receipt along with the file formed.

(5) In case the application for financial compensation is not submitted within the term fixed in para 3 for good reasons, the said term shall start from the day of removal of the reason.

(6) Attached to the application shall be verified copies of the documents, certifying the information indicated in it. In the event that the victim is a citizen of a Member State of the European Union, the National Council may ask for co-operation the competent authorities of the Member State whose citizen is the victim in order to ascertain the ground as per Art. 15, para 1, item1.

(7) The National Council shall present to the victim and to the regional governor, in case the application has been submitted through the latter, information about a contact person at the Ministry of Justice, a document for the receipt of the application and the term for consideration thereof.

Art. 19. (1) Bulgarian citizen, who has become a victim of crime, committed in another Member State of the European Union, can submit an application for financial compensation to the competent authority of the other Member State through the National Council.

(2) The National Council shall send the application to the competent authority of the other Member State along an application form for the delivery thereof.

Chapter five.

ORGANIZATION AND ACTIVITY OF THE NATIONAL COUNCIL FOR SUPPORT AND COMPENSATION OF CRIME VICTIMS

Art. 20. (1) National Council for Support and Compensation of Crime Victims shall be established at the Ministry of Justice in order to carry out and to coordinate the activities under this Law.

(2) The National Council shall consist of: a judge of the Supreme Cassation Court, appointed by its Chairman; a prosecutor of the Supreme Cassation Prosecution, appointed by the Chief Prosecutor; by one employee of the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Interior, appointed by the respective minister; by one representative of the State Agency for Protection of the Child, the National Commission for Fighting the Illegal Traffic of People, the Supreme Bar Council and the Association of the Victim Support Organizations. The representative of the Association shall be elected at a general meeting of these organizations.

(3) Chairman of the National Council shall be the Minister of Justice or a deputy minister, authorised by him/her.

(4) The activity of the National Council shall be provided technically by employees of the administration of the Ministry of Justice.

Art. 21. The National Council shall:

1. be liable for the payments of the financial compensations;

2. draw up a model of the application for financial compensation in Bulgarian, English, German and French language, a list of the documents, necessary for its consideration, as well as the application forms referred to in Art. 19, para 2 and Art. 24, para 8, and shall propose them for approval to the Minister of Justice;

3. develop the policy, the planning and the presentation of legislative and practical initiatives in the sphere of supporting the crime victims;

4. coordinate the activity of the bodies and the organizations referred to in Art. 6, para 1 in relation to the implementation of the law;

5. give assistance to Bulgarian citizens, which have become victims of crimes, committed on the territory of another Member State of the European Union, at filling out the applications for financial compensation and shall send them to the competent body of the other Member State.

6. assign the implementation of victimology research and shall perform the co-operation of other types of research programmes in the sphere of supporting crime victims;

7. carry out and coordinate the information activity as per Art. 6 and 7;

8. organise and conduct the preparation and the training of personnel in the sphere of supporting crime victims;

9. carry out international co-operation in the sphere of supporting crime victims;

10. annually present before the Minister of Justice a report on the activities undertaken concerning support and financial compensation to the crime victims;

11. report at least once in three months before the Minister of Justice with respect to the resources spent in relation to the supporting and the financial compensation to crime victims.

Art. 22. (1) At the National Council shall be established expert commission for supporting its activity. The members of the commission shall be appointed by the Minister of Justice.

(2) The commission shall consider the filed applications for financial compensation, draw up written statement on the grounds of each of them and propose the amount of the financial compensation for each individual case.

Art. 23. (1) The National Council shall have sessions at least once in three months.

(2) The sessions of the National Council shall be summoned and managed by its Chairman. In case the latter is absent, a member of the council shall be appointed to perform the functions of a chairman for each individual case.

(3) The members of the National Council shall be informed at least three days prior to the date of conducting the regular sessions.

(4) The sessions of the National Council shall be considered regularly conducted, in case two thirds of all members are present. In the event of lack of quorum the chairman shall fix the date of new session within three days.

Art. 24. (1) The applications for granting financial compensation shall be considered not later than three months from the date of their submission.

(2) The National Council shall take its decisions by a simple majority of the attendees. The decisions shall be prepared in writing on the day of conducting the session.

(3) The decision for granting financial compensation shall contain:

1. the three names, unified civil number, citizenship and permanent and present address of the person, to whom financial compensation is being granted;

2. the legal classification, the time and the place of commitment of the crime, as a result of which the person is affected;

3. the damages, regarding which financial compensation is being granted and the amount thereof.

(4) The decision for refusal of granting financial compensation shall include the data referred to in para 3, items 1 and 2 and shall be motivated.

(5) The decisions shall not be subject to appeal.

(6) A copy of the decision shall be sent immediately to the victim and to the regional governor, where the application for financial compensation has been submitted through the latter.

(7) In the cases referred to in Art. 12, item 3 a copy of the decision of the National Council shall be sent to the body, that has pronounced the act for suspending the penal proceedings, along with instructions for its application to the case.

(8) Where the application for financial compensation has been submitted through competent authority of another Member State of the European Union, the National Council shall send a copy of the decision to the said authority together with an application form for the delivery thereof.

Art. 25. (1) The resources for the implementation of the Law shall be provided from the budget of the Ministry of Justice, provided that the said funds are planned by the manner and within the terms of the procedure of working out the state budget for each year.

(2) The resources, received with respect to resource claims lodged as per Art. 16, shall be deposited in a special extra-budgetary account of the Ministry of Justice.

Art. 26. The bodies of the State and the local authorities, the officials, the legal entities and the citizens shall be obliged to render assistance to the National Council at performing its functions.

Chapter six.

INTERNATIONAL CO-OPERATION

Art. 27. (1) The National Council shall turn to the competent authorities of other states for co-operation in the cases where Bulgarian citizens have become victims of a crime abroad, and shall render co-operation to citizens of other states, residing on a legal ground in the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria with respect to providing the application forms referred to in Art. 8, para 1.

(2) Central body on acceptance and consideration of the applications for financial compensation from citizens of foreign countries shall be the Ministry of Justice.

Chapter seven.

PENAL ADMINISTRATIVE PROVISIONS

Art. 28. (1) A person who does not fulfill an obligation as per Art. 6, para 1, Art. 9 or Art. 11, para 1 shall be punished by a fine amounting from 100 to 500 BGN or by a proprietary sanction amounting from 1000 to 2000 BGN.

(2) Where the violation is committed again, the punishment shall be a fine amounting from 500 to 1500 BGN or a proprietary sanction amounting from 2000 to 5000 BGN.

Art. 29. (1) The acts for ascertainment of administrative offences shall be drawn up by a member of the National Council or by officials from the administration of the Ministry of Justice, authorised by the chairman of the National Council.

(2) The penal decrees shall be issued by the chairman of the National Council.

(3) The ascertainment of the violations, the issue, the appeal and the execution of the penal decrees shall be carried out following the procedure of the Law for the Administrative Offences and Sanctions.

Additional provisions

§ 1. Within the meaning of this Law "victim support organization" shall mean non-profit legal entity, established under the terms of the Bulgarian legislation and registered to public benefit, which renders support for free to crime victims and makes up to the actions of the state in this sphere, if the situation is favourable.

Transitional and concluding provisions

 

§ 2. The National Council shall be established within two months from coming into effect of the Law. Within the said term the administrators referred to in Art. 20, para 2 shall appoint their representatives.

§ 3. (1) In one-month term from its establishing the National Council shall draw up and present to the Minister of Justice in order to be approved models of the application for financial compensation and a list of the documents, required for considering the application.

(2) Within the term under para 1 the National Council shall draw up the application forms for transmission of applications and decisions as per Council Directive 2004/80/EC of 29 April 2004 relating to compensation to crime victims, and shall present them to the Minister of Justice for approval.

§ 4. (1) This Law shall apply to crimes referred to in Art. 3, para 3, committed later than the 30th of June 2005.

(2) With respect to the crimes regarding which there is entered into force act as per Art. 12 prior to the expiry of the term under § 2, the term for submitting applications for financial compensation shall be one month after the expiry of the term under § 3, para 1.

§ 5. The implementation of the Law is assigned to the Minister of Justice.

§ 6. The Law shall enter into force on the 1st of January 2007.

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The Law was adopted by the 40th National Assembly on December 18, 2006 and was affixed with the state seal of the National Assembly.