On January 12, 2007, the Center for the Study of Democracy held a training seminar for magistrates from Turkey under the project Enhancing Border Security between Bulgaria, Turkey and Macedonia: Reinforcing Criminal Justice in Border Districts. The project is implemented with the support of the British Embassy. The meeting was aimed to exchange information in connection with the preparation of a report on the state and the problems with the detection and punishment of trans-border crimes.
Mr. Sami Kerpekci, Public Prosecutor from the Prosecution Office of Edirne, Mr. Ertugrul Sariyer, Chief Public Prosecutor from Luleburgaz, and Ms. Nesedil Akkerman, Project Assistant in the British Embassy in Turkey, participated in the seminar. Lecturers in the seminar were Dr. Maria Yordanova and Mr. Dimitar Markov from the CSD Law Program and Dr. Andrei Nonchev from the sociological agency Vitosha Research.
Dr. Maria Yordanova, Director of CSD Law Program, presented the main activities of the organization as she dwelt in detail on the work of the Law Program in the area of institutional, judicial and legislative reform in Bulgaria. Dr. Yordanova praised the interaction of CSD with partners from Turkey and paid attention to the necessity of a mechanism for enduring cooperation between the Bulgarian and Turkish institutions working in the area of administration of justice and law enforcement.
Mr. Dimitar Markov, Project Coordinator in the CSD Law Program, presented the objectives and the activities under the project. He underlined that the main task is the research of the problems in the border districts with Turkey and Macedonia, which on January 1, 2007, have become EU external borders. He paid attention to the preparation of a report on the state and the problems of the administration of justice and law enforcement in cases of trans-border crimes, the training of the competent bodies, and pilot application of the recommendations in separate institutions from a border district.
Mr. Ertugrul Sariyer, Chief Public Prosecutor of Luleburgaz Prosecution Office, presented briefly the judicial system in Turkey and the binding requirements for taking of a magistrate position. He explained the role of the Prosecution Office in the judicial system, its participation in the criminal process and its functions as a representative of the Ministry of Justice as regards to the management of the judicial buildings and the prisons. Special attention was paid to the specificities and differences with the Bulgarian judicial system, which are important for the further cooperation, and the needs of reforms.
Dr. Andrei Nonchev, Deputy Director of the sociological agency Vitosha Research, explained that the most suitable way for preparation and implementation of researches, connected with the trans-border crimes, is the using of a qualitative method for discussion in focus group. The advantages of this method are the possibility to obtain information from representatives of all professional groups, engaged with the administration of justice, and to express different opinions.
Dr. Maria Yordanova described the CSD experts’ work on the preparation of the report for Bulgaria and the main phases in this process: engaging experts in criminal law, sociologists, representatives of law enforcement and judicial bodies; collecting information for trans-border crimes from all institutions, engaged with their detection, investigation and punishment (collecting statistical data, discussions in focus groups and interviews); analyzing of the problems and proposing possibilities for their solution. Dr. Yordanova presented the report’s structure, which will include: description of the state of the trans-border criminality, statistics in the form of charts, analysis of the collected data and information, the problems of the cooperation between Bulgaria and Turkey as regards to the trans-border criminality, and proposals and recommendations to the state institutions in Bulgaria.
During the discussion that followed the participants talked about the possibilities for more effective cooperation between Bulgarian and Turkish institutions and the necessity of improvement of the legal framework in this direction. After the seminar the Turkish representatives and the CSD experts visited the Supreme Prosecution Office of Cassation and met with Mr. Kamen Mihov, Prosecutor in the Supreme Prosecution Office of Cassation and Head of International Legal Assistance Department. The conversations focused on the legal cooperation between Bulgaria and Turkey on cases for trans-border crimes with an accent on existing difficulties and unsolved problems. The participants reached an understanding for the necessity of faster exchange of information and evidence on the cases, acceleration of the implementation of judicial letters of request, establishment of direct contacts between the prosecution offices of the two countries with the aim to improve the cooperation, etc. Mr. Mihov informed the participants about the preparation of a visit of Prosecutor General Boris Velchev to Turkey, which will contribute to strengthening of the cooperation.