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LAW OF PROTECTION OF PERSONS THREATENED IN CONNECTION WITH CRIMINAL PROCEDURE

Prom. SG. 103/23 Nov 2004, amend. SG. 82/10 Oct 2006

Chapter one.

GENERAL PROVISIONS

Art. 1. This law shall provide the conditions and the order for ensuring special protection on behalf of the state to persons, threatened in connection with criminal procedure, and to persons, directly related to them when they cannot be protected with the means, provided in the Penal Procedure Code.

Art. 2. The objective of this law shall be to support the fight with the grave intentional crimes and with the organised crime by ensuring the safety of the persons, whose evidence, explanations or information are of essential importance for the criminal procedure.

Art. 3. Special protection under this law can receive the following threatened persons:

1. participants in the criminal procedure – witness, private prosecutor, indicter, suspect, incriminated, defendant, accused, expert, witness of investigation;

2. sentenced;

3. persons, directly related to the persons of items 1 and 2 – ascending, descending, brothers, sisters, spouse or persons, with whom they are in particular close relations.

Art. 4. The threatened persons can get special protection when the evidence, the explanations or the information of the persons of art. 3, items 1 and 2 ensure proofs of essential importance in criminal procedures for grave intentional unqualified crimes of chapter one, two, chapter six – art. 242, para 2, 3 and 4, chapter eight – section IV, chapter eleven – art. 330, 333, 354a, and chapter fourteen of the Penal Code and of all crimes, committed upon instruction or in fulfilment of decision of an organised criminal group.

Chapter two.

PROGRAMME FOR PROTECTION OF THREATENED PERSONS

Section I.

Essence of the Programme for protection of threatened persons and kinds of protection

Art. 5. (1) The Programme for protection of threatened persons, called hereinafter "Programme for protection", shall be a complex of measures, undertaken by defined state bodies with regard to persons, received status of protected persons under this law.

(2) The measures under the Programme for protection shall be obligatory for all state bodies and officials as well as all corporate bodies and individuals.

Art. 6. (1) The programme for protection shall include the following measures:

1. personal physical guard;

2. guard of the property;

3. temporary accommodation at safe place;

4. change of the place of living, the working place or the education establishment, or accommodation at another place for serving the penalty;

5. change of the identification.

(2) The measures of para 1 can be applied together or separately, temporary – till the reasons for their application exist, or permanently.

(3) With the measures of para 1, items 1 – 4 may also be applied temporary prohibition for conceding the personal data of the protected person to third persons.

(4) The measure of para 1, item 5 shall be applied only as exceptional measure when the protection cannot be ensured through some of the other measures.

(5) The Programme for protection can include also activities for ensuring social, medical, psychological, legal or financial assistance.

Art. 7. (1) The physical guard of a protected person shall be activity for protection of the bodily security from unlawful infringements and it can be day and night, for defined hours or for defined cases.

(2) (amend. - SG 82/06) At implementing the activity of para 1 the guarding team may use personal protection means as well as physical force and auxiliary means, necessary for fulfilment of the measure under the conditions and by the order of art. 73 of the Law of the Ministry of Interior.

(3) (amend. - SG 82/06) The guarding team may use fire arms as final measure under the conditions of art. 74, para 1, items 1, 3 and 4 and para 2 of the Law of the Ministry of Interior.

Art. 8. The guard of the property shall be activity for its physical protection from unlawful infringements.

Art. 9. The temporary accommodation at safe place shall be immediate movement of the protected person for a short period of time to another address, different from the permanent place of living.

Art. 10. The change of the place of living, the working place or the education establishment, or the accommodation at another place for serving the penalty shall be applied till the dropping of the threat of art. 1.

Art. 11. (1) The prohibition of art. 6, para 3 for conceding for defined period of time information about the personal data of the protected person to third persons shall be implemented din compliance with the law of protection of the personal data.

(2) During the measures of art. 6, para 1, items 1 – 4 the data can be revealed only for the needs of the criminal procedure with permission by the administrator of personal data under this law.

Art. 12. (1) The application of the measure of art. 6, para 1, item 5 shall not exempt the protected person from the obligations to the state or to third persons.

(2) The new identity shall be irreversible if it has lead to significant changes in the status of third persons.

(3) At change of the identity shall be issued new identification document in which the personal data cannot be identical with other’s personal data.

(4) The change of the identity can be implemented also through change of external physical marks of the protected person.

Section II.

Competent bodies

Art. 13. (1) For implementing the Programme for protection at the Minister of Justice shall be established Council for protection of threatened persons, called hereinafter Council for protection.

(2) The Council for protection shall consist of chairman – the Minister of Justice, and members: deputy Minister of Justice, deputy Minister of Interior, deputy chairman of the Supreme Court of Appeal, deputy Chief Prosecutor and deputy director of the National Investigation Service.

(3) The Minister of Justice can assign the chairing of the Council for protection to a member of the Council for protection when he is out of the country or in a leave.

(4) The Council for protection shall convene at sessions once in three months as well as in three days term after made proposal for including in the Programme for protection.

(5) The Council for protection cannot divulge the information which has become known in relation to the fulfilment of the Programme for protection.

(6) The resources, necessary for implementing the Programme for protection shall be ensured from the budget of the Ministry of Justice.

Art. 14. (1) In the Ministry of Justice shall be established special department "Bureau for protection of threatened persons", called hereinafter the Bureau for protection.

(2) In fulfilment of the decision of the Council for protection for including in the Programme for protection the Bureau for protection shall:

1. inform the threatened person about the opportunities of the programme for protection;

2. conclude agreement with the threatened person for including in the Programme for protection, about which it shall notify the prosecutor or the judge – reporter, made thr proposal for protection;

3. determine employee for contact with the threatened person;

4. implement through guarding team, specially formed for the case, the concrete measures from the Programme for protection on the basis of the concluded agreement.

(3) The Bureau for protection shall establish, maintain and preserve data base about the persons, included in the Programme for protection in compliance with the Law of protection of the personal data.

(4) The Bureau for protection cannot divulge the information that is known to it in connection with the fulfilment of the Programme for protection.

(5) At fulfilment of the Programme for protection the Bureau for protection can require cooperation from all competent state bodies, which cannot be refused.

(6) The Bureau for protection shall account periodically to the chairman of the Council for protection about the spent resources for applying the Programme for protection – total and for each concrete case.

Section III.

Procedure for including in the Programme for protection

Art. 15. (1) Including in the Programme for protection shall be implemented upon proposal by the regional prosecutor and in the court procedure – by the reporting judge, to the Council for protection.

(2) The proposal for rendering protection shall be made officially or upon request by:

1. the threatened person;

2. the investigating body;

3. the supervising prosecutor;

4. the chief of the place for deprivation from liberty – for sentenced persons.

(3) In the cases of para 2, items 2, 3 and 4 shall be necessary also the explicit written consent of the threatened person.

(4) The regional prosecutor or the reporting judge shall consider the request in three days term after receiving it and submit to the Council for protection substantiated proposal for including in the programme for protection or refuse to submit proposal.

(5) The refusal of the prosecutor or the reporting judge of para 4 shall not be subject to appeal.

Art. 16. (1) The proposal of art. 15, para1, must be in writing and contain:

1. data about the respective criminal procedure;

2. personal data of the threatened person;

3. data about whether the evidence, the explanations or the information of the threatened person ensure proofs of essential importance for the criminal procedure;

4. all data about the existence of real threat for the life, health or property of the person in connection with the criminal procedure;

5. list of the persons, acquainted with the evidence or the information, with which disposes the threatened person;

6. most general psychological assessment of the threatened person;

7. the existence and the degree of the threat which the threatened person would be for the ambience in which he would be included;

8. other data, which are of importance for the need of including in the Programme for protection.

(2) To the proposal shall be attached declaration by the threatened person about his family and material status, as well as about his liabilities to third persons.

Art. 17. (1) The Council for protection shall consider the proposal of the regional prosecutor or the reporting judge, assessing whether the evidence, the explanations or the information of the threatened person are of essential importance for the criminal procedure as well as the objectivity and the degree of the threat, and

1. if the conditions, provided in this law exist, take decision for rendering protection, which shall be sent immediately to the Bureau for protection;

2. if the conditions, provided in this law do not exist, take decision with which is not admitted rendering of protection.

(2) The decisions of the Council for protection shall not be subject to apepal.

2. sentenced;

3. persons, directly related to the persons of items 1 and 2 – ascending, descending, brothers, sisters, spouse or persons, with whom they are in particular close relations.

Section IV.

Agreement

Art. 18. (1) In 7 days term from the date of the decision of the Council for protection for including in the Programme for protection, the Bureau for protection shall conclude written agreement for protection personally with the threatened person or with his guardian or trustee if he is not legally capable.

(2) the person shall acquire status of protected person from the moment of signing the agreement.

(3) The agreement shall not have the characteristic of civil legal agreement in the sense of the Law of the obligations and contracts.

Art. 19. (1) The agreement shall contain:

1. the number of the decision of the Council for protection for including in the Programme for protection;

2. the kind of the measure for protection and the assistance, which are rendered;

3. the duration of the protection;

4. the name of the employee for contact of the threatened person with the Bureau for protection;

5. the rights and the obligations of the parties in the Programme for protection;

6. the conditions for withdrawal from the agreement;

7. the date and the place of signing and the signature of the parties.

(2) The protected person shall be obliged during the protection to:

1. avoid contacts with criminals;

2. restrain from activities which may threaten his security or impede the fulfilment of the Programme for protection;

3. comply with the measures for protection;

4. notify immediately to the Bureau for protection through the employee for contact each information, which has become known to him about the subject of the criminal procedure, in connection with which he has acquired status of protected person;

5. fulfil his obligations to individuals and corporate bodies, occurred before his including in the Programme for protection and which are not fulfilled by the state;

6. inform immediately the Bureau for protection through the employee for contact about all changes in his state and the activities implemented by him during the fulfilment of the Programme for protection;

7. not divulge his including in the Programme for protection.

(3) The Bureau for protection shall be obliged to:

1. fulfil the measures for protection under the agreement;

2. ensure the presence of the protected person in the criminal procedure;

3. not divulge the information, which has become known to it in connection with the fulfilment of the Programme for protection.

Section V.

Termination of the effect of the Programme for protection

Art. 20. The effect of the Programme for protection shall be terminated with decision of the Council for protection:

1. upon decease of the protected person;

2. after dropping of the ground for its application;

3. with the elapse of the term, provided in the agreement;

4. when the protected person does not fulfil his obligations under the agreement without good reason.

Art. 21. In the cases of art. 20 the Council protection shall pronounce decision upon proposal by the Bureau for protection, the regional prosecutor or the reporting judge.

Art. 22. The effect of the Programme for protection can be terminated also upon request by the protected person, directed to the Council for protection through the employee for contact.

Art. 23. The Council for protection shall consider the proposal of the Bureau for protection, the regional prosecutor or the reporting judge or the request of the protected person for termination of the effect of the Programme for protection and take decision for termination, which shall be ultimate.

Section VI.

Processing of personal data

Art. 24. (1) The personal data, processed under this law, shall be information official secret.

(2) administrator of the personal data of para 1 shall be the Minister of Justice or an official, authorised by him.

(3) Right to access to personal data, processed under this law, shall not be conceded to third persons.

(4) The administrator of personal data under para 2 can refuse the conceding to the protected person personal data processed for him if this is necessary with regard to his protection.

Art. 25. (1) The orders of the administrator of art. 24, para 2 shall be obligatory for all state bodies – administrators of personal data.

(2) The state bodies – administrators of personal data, shall inform immediately the administrator of art. 24, para 2 about each request for conceding data, the access to which is restricted.

Chapter three.

INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION

Art. 26. On the basis of international agreement, to which the Republic of Bulgaria is party, or under the conditions of mutuality the Bureau for protection can require and render cooperation for implementing the protection, provided in this law.

Art. 27. Under the conditions of art. 26 the Bureau for protection can:

1. require ensuring of stay of a protected person in the other state if in the Republic of Bulgaria cannot be accomplished his protection;

2. require ensuring of temporary stay for defined term of the protected person in the other state as well as personal physical guard if this is necessary;

3. ensure stay of a person, moved to the Republic of Bulgaria within the framework of the Programme for protection upon request by the other state;

4. ensure temporary stay in the Republic of Bulgaria of foreign protected person for a term, pointed out in the application of the other state as well as personal physical guard if this is necessary.

Concluding provisions

§ 1. The organisation and the fulfilment of the measures under the Programme for protection, of the activity of the Council for protection, of the Bureau for protection and of the guarding teams, as well as the order for processing of the personal data under this law, shall be provided with a regulation for implementation of the law, approved by the Council of Ministers in three months term from the entering into force of the law.

§ 2. The fulfilment of the law shall be assigned to the Minister of Justice and the Minister of Interior.

§ 3. The law shall enter into force 6 months after its promulgation in State Gazette.

The law was passed by the 39th National Assembly on November 9, 2004 and is affixed with the official seal of the National Assembly.