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Bulgaria / Appellate Court / 175/2020

Mr N.D.I vs the Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic of Bulgaria

Deciding Body type:
National Court/Tribunal
Deciding Body:
Appellate Court
Decision date:
Key facts of the case:
3. the facts of the case (so the “real life story”) 4. the legal background against which the case unfolded (what are the relevant legal norms that are applied) Mr N.D.I. appealed the ruling of the lower court for execution of his European Arrest Warrant via which he was to be transferred to Italy to serve his prison sentences for organised criminal activities, namely tax crimes and intentional bankruptcy. The ex officio lawyer of Mr I claimed that Mr I had never participated in his trial, no legal grounds existed for his transfer under the Extradition and European Arrest Warrant Act (Закон за екстрадицията и Европейската заповед за арест) and there was no guarantee for immediate service of the Italian court’s decision to the person after his transfer in order for him to be notified about his right of appeal or new trial in his presence. Art. 6 of the ECHR and Art. 47 and 48 of the Charter were allegedly violated in relation to the in absentia proceedings against the person and his right to defence and adversarial proceedings. The appellate court found the appeal admissible, but unfounded. Special attention was given to the procedural objections of the appellant against the EAW. He had indeed not appeared at his trial in Italy, but was represented by an ex officio lawyer. He was not served with his sentences either, but could, in accordance with Italian criminal procedural legislation, request reversal of those if he could prove justified reasons for not knowing about the trial once he was acquainted with the proceedings. Thus, he had proper remedy under the Italian legal system, guarantees for fair trial and right to appeal, and no violation was in place of Art. 6 of the ECHR and Art. 47-48 of the Charter. The treatment of the case was also compliant with Directive 2016/343.
Key legal question raised by the Court:
The court had to elaborate on whether the in absentia proceedings against the appellant and the lack of service of his sentence were bases for refusing his EAW transfer to the country where he had to serve his prison sentences.
Outcome of the case:
The appellate court decided that all prerequisites for executing the two EAWs against the appellant were in place and he had to be transferred to Italy to serve his prison sentences.