It is necessary to assess the application of the existing Criminal Code (CC) in order to identify its strengths and weaknesses and, respectively, its correspondence to the European trends, Deputy Justice Minister Evgeni Stoyanov said today at the launch of the national conference “Criminal Policy in Bulgaria: Dynamics and Challenges”.

Stoyanov added that the changes in the public-political and social-economic conditions, including worldwide, pose new challenges to dealing with crime, for example combating terrorism, radicalization, illegal migration. He emphasized that the development of the new criminal policy concept will be based on objective data giving a true picture of the current criminogenic environment.

During the forum, Assoc. Prof. Iva Pushkarova (Ива Пушкарова) presented an analysis of the application of the Criminal Code in Bulgaria and of the effectiveness of the criminal policy in the country. The study was carried out upon the initiative of the Ministry of Justice under the project “A New Criminal Policy Concept” funded under Good Governance Operational Programme.

“The results of the survey were reached with the use of data from the Unified Information System on Combating Crime, Ministry of the Interior statistics, reports of the Prosecutor’s Office, data from the National Statistical Institute and other official information sources,” Deputy Minister Stoyanov clarified.

According to Assoc.Prof. Pushkarova, there are 220 texts from the Criminal Code which have not been use over the past 4-5 years.

The data show that, since 1968, the Criminal Code has been amended 107 times; the Code’s Special Part has increased significantly from 317 to close to 450 texts over the past 50 years, Assoc.Prof. Pushkarova explained. She added that the most frequent amendments concern economic crime, murder, bodily injury, theft. A mere 16% of the texts in the Special Part have not been amended at all. These are criminal cases very rarely applied such as crime against the State, crime against peace and humanity, international military crime.

A working group will be set up by the end of January 2019 with representatives of the Prosecutor’s Office, the Supreme Court of Cassation, the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of the Interior; it will be engaged in developing the new criminal policy concept, said Lyubomir Talev, Legislation Council Director, Ministry of Justice. The data from the analysis of the application of the Criminal Code and the assessment of the criminogenic environment in the country prepared under the Ministry of Justice project will be used in the development of the concept.