Could the COVID-19 crisis serve as an excuse to solidify autocracy? In countries in which the rule of law is undermined such as Bulgaria, this seems very likely. Earlier this month I contributed to an online Symposium hosted by the Verfassungsblog dedicated to states of emergency and democracy. You can read my contribution here.
On 11 and 21 August 2019 I published two posts on my personal blog in which, through legal reasoning, I showcased how Bulgaria’s government purposefully misinforms the general public about the outcome in a case against Bulgaria before the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) (SGRF v Bulgaria, Case No. ARB/15/43). Some of the few independent media which are left covered the second post in Bulgarian, which attracted public attention. On Friday night, 23 August 2019, Bulgaria’s Ministry of Finance published an unprecedented press release on its website in which it attacked me and my blog (Figure 1). Instead of providing a substantive answer to my legal opinion, Bulgaria’s Ministry of Finance said that my claims were “speculations” crafted by me and my father.
I have never heard of a state institution issuing a special press release about somebody’s academic blog post on a Friday night. As a scholar, I was not impressed by their ad hominem comments whose underlying purpose, it appears, is to attempt to discredit me before society as a whole. My father has not participated in the drafting of my articles: he has his own website where he publishes his criticism against the regime.
I do believe, however, that this press release constitutes harassment and that it is aimed at intimidating me. This serves as further evidence of the lack of rule of law in Bulgaria. In this post I summarize:
- the government’s lies which attracted my attention
- the research I have carried out
- why the government is afraid of the truth
- how harassing critics is a national policy
A month ago, the President of Bulgaria’s Supreme Court gave a disheartening speech which nobody in Brussels seems to have noticed. Read my latest piece dedicated to the lack of judicial independence and the deplorable state of the rule of law in Bulgaria for the Verfassungsblog.
“Bulgaria’s Prosecution applies Bulgarian law according to which the guilty ones become accused and that is the purpose of criminal proceedings.” Sadly, this was a comment before the media made by Bulgaria’s General Prosecutor Sotir Tsatsarov in light of an accusation Bulgaria’s Prosecutor’s Office raised in 2017.
Bulgaria is an EU member and a signatory to the European Convention on Human Rights. However, haunted by totalitarian tradition, Bulgaria’s Prosecutor’s Office applies a presumption of guilt – a major abuse of fundamental rights, which has severe consequences for suspects and accused alike.
How does Bulgaria, which currently presides the Council of the EU, treat detainees and prisoners? The short answer is: like a dictatorship.
As you may or may not know, every six months one of the Member States of the European Union assumes the rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union (also known as Council of Ministers). In practice, this means that the current government of the presiding Member State determines the agenda of the aforementioned Council, sets a work program aimed at enhancing the policies of the European Union, and chairs the planned meetings.
When I read that Russia issued an Interpol warrant for Bill Browder for the fifth time, I was deeply disturbed. Author of Red Notice, Bill Browder campaigns actively against authoritarianism. He lobbied the US Congress to enact the Global Magnitsky Act, which allows the US Government to sanction foreign government officials implicated in human rights abuses. The Magnitsky Act made Russian officials quite upset: they have been trying to trap Mr. Browder via Interpol for a while. Read More
Както е добре известно, през август 2017 г. стартирах петиция в подкрепа на жалбата на Цветан Василев по закона “Магнитски”. Изключително съм благодарна на всички смели хора, които я разписаха!
Същевременно вярвам, че повече хора трябва да научат за безпрецедентното поругаване на човешките права в България. Законът „Магнитски“ дава уникален шанс да се даде урок на тези, които злоупотребяват с власт, тъй като санкционира конкретните държавни служители, които нарушават човешките права. Не е случайно, че прокуратурата ми повдигна абсурдно обвинение само три дни, след като баща ми подаде жалбата в САЩ, а жълтите медии бълват нелепици за баща ми и семейството ми непрестанно. Read More
When I launched radosvetavassileva.blog two months ago, I ended my first blog post with the following words: “The whole world will learn about the crimes Bulgaria’s mafia has committed and the whole world will be watching its imminent demise! The lights are on!”. I am very happy to share that my blog has already more than 14 000 viewers. I really want to thank my readers for their interest in my point of view. I also want to thank everyone who signed my petition in support of my father’s application under the US Magnitsky Act. Many thanks to those who follow my family on Twitter too! If you have not done so, you can find us @Radosveta_vass, @AnVassileva, @TzvetVassilev.
As one famous quote, which is often attributed to Abraham Lincoln, goes: “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.” No matter how hard some people try to suffocate the truth, it will come out. Read More
Hello! My name is Radosveta Vassileva and I am a legal scholar based in the UK. I happen to be a Bulgarian national. Recently, in August 2017, I visited my parents in Serbia for my father’s birthday. My parents are refugees there—they have been politically persecuted by Bulgaria as my father exposed corruption at the highest levels of government. When I went to register with the Serbian police as any foreigner who intends to stay in Serbia for more than one day is obliged to have a registration, the officer told me politely that they had to arrest me because Bulgaria had put me on Interpol’s Red Notice list. Needless to say, I was stunned and horrified. How did a young legal scholar and doctor of law end up on this “special” list, but most of all—how is it possible for a European Union Member State to abuse European legal instruments and Interpol’s Red Notice list to target political and economic opponents? If you are curious, keep reading! This is a story of violent abuse of law and human rights by corrupt Bulgarian officials. This is a frightening tale of how Bulgaria’s corrupt authorities can put you on Interpol’s Red Notice list even before they bring nonsensical charges against you and before they summon you in violation of both Bulgarian and European law! Yes, they are that arrogant, ruthless, and vengeful. Read More