Bulgarian Criminal Justice System

Bulgarian Criminal Justice System

This entry gives a general account of the overall criminal system and outline the political and legal structure and the history of the x criminal justice system to help account for the unique aspects that may help to bind the many parts of this criminal justice system together, and to show the extent to how this criminal justice system plays in the overall social control of this jurisdiction. The section on crime definitions and statistic provides some basis of “output” of the criminal justice bureaucracies of the country.


1. Political System.

Bulgaria is divided into 9 provinces: Burgas,
Grad Sofiya, Khasko-vo, Lovech, Mikhaylovgrad,
Plovdiv, Razgrad, Sofiya, Varna. It first
established independence with borders roughly the
same as today from the Ottoman Empire on 22
September 1908. On September 5, 1944, the Soviet
Union declared war on Bulgaria. Communist rule in
Bulgaria began September 9, 1944, when a communist
dominated coalition, called the Fatherland Front,
seized power from the coalition government formed
to arrange an armistice with the Allies. At the
same time, Soviet forces were marching into the
country without resistance. Communist power,
consolidated in the next 3 years, led to the
adoption on December 4, 1947, of the so-called
Dimitrov Constitution, modeled after that of the
U.S.S.R. However, the collapse of communism in
Eastern Europe during the 1980s led to the removal
of long-time Bulgarian leader Todor Zhivkov from
government and party positions on November 11,
1989. Until this time, the Bulgarian Communist
Party, with about 984,000 members, controlled all
phases of Bulgarian life. The Bulgarian
constitution had guaranteed it a role as the
leading force in society. On January 16, 1990,
the National Assembly formally removed from the
constitution the clauses guaranteeing the BCP’s
preeminence. A new Constitution was adopted on 12
July 1991.(Source: CIA Fact Book, 1992).

2. Legal System.

The government is divided into the executive
branch, legislative branch and Judicial branch.
Executive branch: president, chairman of the
Council of Ministers (premier), and two deputy
chairmen of the Council of Ministers. Legislative
branch: unicameral National Assembly (Narodno
Sobranie). Judicial branch: Supreme Court;
Constitutional Court. The legal system is based
on a civil law system, with Soviet law influence.
Bulgaria has accepted the jurisdiction of the
International Court of Justice(Source: CIA Fact
Book, 1992).

3. History of the Criminal Justice System.

In the first Bulgarian feudal state, founded
in 1681, criminal justice was regulated by
customary law and written statutes, such as the
legislation of the early Bulgarian sovereign Khan
Croum, the Old Bulgarian Statute for Trying the
People, and the Byzantine Eclogue. As a result of
the Turks conquering the Balkan Peninsula, the
Turkish hegemony over the Bulgarian lands
established a new penal system which was
absolutely foreign to the Christian peoples that
lived in the Balkans. After the Liberation of
Bulgaria from the Turks in 1878, serious efforts
were initiated to draft a modern Penal Code for
the newly-born Bulgarian state.
The adoption of the Penal Code in 1896 marked
the beginning of modern penal legislation in
Bulgaria. It was based on the Hungarian Penal
Code and the Russian Draft Penal Code. The
European penal legal tradition was grounded on the
principles of the classical school of thought, and
continued to be observed notwithstanding
Bulgaria’s political development during the 20th
century. As a result of the serious social changes
after the First World War, several special
legislative acts were passed against illicit
profiteering, corruption in state administration
and serious crimes against the life and property
of the citizens.
Following the social and political changes in
Bulgaria after the Second World War, a new type of
penal legislation was de-signed. The legislative
changes, described as a socialist type of
legislation, mainly addressed a Special Part of
the Penal code. New types of behavior were
defined as criminal acts. The protection of the
State’s property was intensified and the central
role of the State in public life as a whole became
a first priority among the values protected by the
Penal Code. Still, the basic principles
concerning the crime, the guilt, the penal
responsibility, and the terms of prescription were
A new Penal Code was adopted in early 1951
and codified in 1956. The Penal Code of 1956 was
replaced by a new Penal Code in 1968, which is
still in force although it has undergone numerous
amendments. The 1968 Penal Code is also founded
on the basic principles and legal institutions of
classical West European penal law. Some elements
of “Soviet law” were also incorporated. The Penal
Code has been amended to make it more compatible
with international law and to promote a more
flexible crime policy. For instance, amendments
have been added that promote decriminalization and
non-prosecution through imposing measures of
control and reaction against criminals that are
not formal punishments under the Penal Code. A
new Penal Code draft corresponding to the recent
changes in the social and political conditions is
planned for discussion in Parliament.
Procedural legislation has developed in
parallel with substantive legislation. The Act of
Criminal Court Proceedings was adopted in 1897.
In 1947, a reform of the procedural law,
corresponding to the new Constitution of the
country, was initiated (after the temporary
legislation of 1944 had succumbed to political
aims). In 1948, a two-instance court procedure
was established and the instance of cessation was
abolished. In 1952, the first Code of Criminal
Procedure was created. In 1974, the new Code of
Criminal Procedure totally reformed the existing
procedural law. More recently, a new Code of
Criminal Procedure is being drafted to accommodate
the new Constitution of 1991 and the organization
of the Judiciary Act.
The Execution of Punishments Act has been in
force since 1969. It regulates specific
activities with respect to the execution of
punishments and defines the special places of
imprisonment. It also provides for the legal
status of prisoners and for their type of work and
general and professional education. It provides
for the types of regime, the means to maintain
order and discipline, and the participation of the
public in the activities of the prison-managing
agencies. The Execution of Punishments Act also
regulates the execution of non-custodial
sanctions.(Bobchev, 1910, 1907, 1927; Dolapchiev,
1941; State Gazette,(No.77) 1897, (No. 30) 1969,
(No. 89) 1974; The Book of Crime in Bulgaria,
1993; Penal Code, 1896, 1951; Penal Code, 1956,
1968; Nenov, 1972; Pavlov, 1989).


1. Classification of Crime.

* Legal Classification. Crime is defined as an
act which is dangerous for society and is
committed in the state of guilt and has been
proclaimed punishable by the law. The Penal Code
has three different crime distinctions. Severe
crimes are punishable by more than 5 years of
imprisonment or by capital punishment.
Particularly severe crimes are those in which the
criminal act or the perpetrator has demonstrated
an exclusively high degree of social danger. A
petty crime is one with insignificant harmful
The National Institute of Statistics compiles
information on criminal case activity in the
courts. Their judicial statistics have two main
classification schemes of crime. Crimes of the
general type have a high level of social danger.
They are prosecuted by a public prosecutor and
constitute about 96% of the entire bulk of
sanctioned crimes. Crimes of the private type are
relatively less serious, such as those involving
mild injury, injury caused to a close relative,
insult, or libel. Prosecution is initiated by the
victim’s complaint. Crimes are also classified
according to sections of the Special Part of the
Penal Code which includes crimes against the
Republic (for instance, high treason, betrayal,
spying, diversion, and subversion), crimes against
persons (for instance, murder and injuries),
sexual offenses, crimes against marriage, family
and youth, property crimes (theft, robbery,
embezzlement), economic crimes, crimes against the
functioning of State agencies and public bodies
(malfeasance in office, corruption), false
documenting, hooliganism, and crimes of general
danger (traffic offenses, theft of auto with
intention to use, and drug-related offenses).
The police statistics recognize two types of
crime which are the responsibility of separate
police units. The criminal police detect “street”
crime: murder, rape, robbery, theft,
hooliganism, and traffic offenses. The economic
police detect economic crime: embezzlement,
malfeasance in office, corruption, and false
documentation. There are also special statistics
filed relating to traffic accidents.

* Age of Criminal Responsibility. The Penal Code
establishes the age of criminal responsibility to
be 18 years if the crime is committed in a state
of culpability. Minors, or those persons between
14 and 18 years, are criminally responsible if
they are able to understand the nature of their
acts and govern their own behavior.

* Drug Offenses. The Penal Code has established
the following as drug-related crimes: the
preparing, receiving (in any form), possessing or
trafficking of drugs; sowing and cultivating
plants with the aim to produce drug substances
without permission, and abetting a person to use

2. Crime Statistics.

In 1992, there were 253,133 crimes reported to the
police, 28.3% more than in 1991 (197,304).
The following statistics are derived from the
1992 Annual Bulletin of Crimes recorded by the
Police Department in the Republic of Bulgaria.

* Murder. In 1992, there were 782 cases of murder
recorded by the police. Attempts are included.
Murder is defined by the Penal Code as the
deliberate deprivation of the life of another.

* Rape. In 1992, there were 1,002 cases of rape
recorded by the police. Attempts are included.
Rape is defined as copulation with a female
through violence.

* Serious Property Crime. In 1992, there were
106,900 cases of burglary recorded by police.
Burglary is classified under theft in the Penal
Code. Theft is defined by the Penal Code as the
deprivation of property with the intent to
misappropriate it.

* Serious Drug Offense. No data were available as
to the number of drug-related crimes recorded by
police. However, in 1992, the National
Statistical Institute reported one drug-related
crime which was subject to prosecution by a public

* Crime Regions. The degree of crime,
particularly “street” crime, is highest in the
capital and the other large cities. One-fifth of
the total number of crimes are registered in
Sofia, which has one-eighth of the country’s total
population. The most frequent types of crime in
the cities are self-interest motivated crimes,
such as theft, robbery, and fraud. Murder, rape,
and injury are the most frequent crimes in rural
areas. Crimes are comparatively equally
distributed throughout the district and municipal
administrative territorial units of the country,
with the exception of the highly urbanized areas.
Generally, there are not substantial differences
in the amount of crime between the urban and rural
areas. The rate of rural crime has increased
since 1990. In 1990, the rate of crime was 113
per 100,000 for the rural population,
while the rate of crime for the urban population
was 94 per 100,000. (Sources: The Book
of Crime in Bulgaria, 1993; Penal Code, 1993;
Penal Law of the Republic of Bulgaria, 1987;
Nenov, 1972)


1. Groups Most Victimized By Crime.

There have been no detailed surveys of crime
victims. Some partial but not officially
published data from police statistics show the
ratio between male and female crime victims to be
approximately 4:1. The most victimized age
groups are between 18 and 25 years of age, 26-40 years of
age, and between 40 and 60 years of age,
accounting for 15%, 38%, and 36% of the total
number of victims, respectively. In the past 10
to 15 years, the number of children and solitary
aged people falling victim to crime has increased.

2. Victims’ Assistance Agencies.

There are no special agencies to help victims
of crime. However, the law obligates the police
to provide emergency assistance to crime victims.

3. Role of Victim in Prosecution and Sentencing.

Victims of crime may sue the crime
perpetrator for damages. Victims, including direct
victims, heirs, State agencies,and business firms,
can file a lawsuit before the criminal court that
deals with the particular criminal case.
According to the Obligations and Contracts Act
(OCA), crime victims of the private type may also
sue the perpetrator for damages.

4. Victims’ Rights Legislation.

Victims’ rights are protected by special
provisions of the Penal Code, the Code of Criminal
Procedure, the Code of Civil Procedure, and the
Obligations and Contract Act. According to a
special legislative act, the State is responsible
for damages caused to citizens by illicit acts of
investigators, prosecutors, judges and other
authorities. (Code of Civil Procedure, 1992, 1993;
State Gazette, (No. 56)1993, (No. 109) 1993; The
State’s Responsibility for Damages Caused to
Citizens, 1993; Penal Code, 1993; Code of Criminal
Procedure, 1993).


1. Administration.

The Bulgarian National Police is a
specialized department of the Ministry of Interior
and functions to prevent, detect and investigate
crimes and to secure the public order. The
activities of the National Police are regulated by
the Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria, the
National Police Act, the Decree of the Council of
Ministers for the application of the National
Police Act, and by other statutes and regulations.
The National Police is comprised of
officers and sergeants. Although the department
has a militaristic organizational structure, it
recruits civilians to assist in personnel duties.
The National Police is structured according to the
administrative division of the country and
comprises the Directorate of the National Police,
27 Police Departments in the Sofia Directorate of
Interior and the Regional Directorates of
Interior, municipal police departments, and
neighborhood police stations. There are also
subdivisions in various territories which
correspond to the specific tasks of the National
Police, such as the “Criminal Police,” “Economic
Police,” “Police Unit for Securing the Public
Order,” and “Traffic Police.”

2. Resources.

* Expenditures. The 1992 annual budget of the
Ministry of the Interior and its departments equal
3.7 million BGL ($1 U.S.=32BGL). (The Ministry of
the Interior includes the National Security
Agency, the National Anti-Fire Department, border
and interior troops, and the Central Department
for Control of Organized Crime.) The budget
represents 11.6% of the costs of all budgetary
agencies and 3.8% total budgetary costs of the
country. A share of these funds is spent for the
expenses of the National Police.

* Number of Police. Actual numbers are not
available. Every Bulgarian citizen may be
employed by the National Police. Female personnel
comprise 1% of the total staff and this percentage
is expected to grow.

3. Technology.

* Availability of Police Automobiles. The police
have motorcars, motorcycles, and special
automobiles for the transfer of staff and of
drunken persons.

* Electronic Equipment. The police have
telephones, radios, television and other means of
communication. They also have alarm and
surveillance apparatus and other technical
facilities and are aided by well-developed
computerized data systems.

* Weapons. The police have the right to bear
firearms. Police units of the general type are
supplied with pistols. Special anti-terrorist and
anti-riot units are supplied with quick-firing
firearms, self-loading guns, optical systems,
chemical substances, protective vests and other
special facilities.

4. Training and Qualifications.

The initial training of police is carried out
in four public schools for sergeants. Applicants
for the schools should have a high-school degree.
The training period lasts for 1 year. Officers
with an academic degree are trained in the High
Institute at the Ministry of Interior over a
period of four years. The High Institute also
provides and carries out 1-year courses for newly
employed officers having an academic non-police
degree. Additional qualification courses last
between 1 to 4 weeks and are regularly organized
for the officers and sergeants.

5. Discretion.

* Use of force. Police may use physical force and
implements, such as manacles, and rubber or
electroshock clubs, in cases where persons refuse
to obey lawful orders. They may also use force to
arrest an offender, when persons are
being conveyed, or in cases involving assault.
Police may use firearms if they are attacked
or threatened by firearms or in arrest situations.
Firearms can also be used to prevent a suspect
from running away, after a warning has been given.
Police may have to prove they reacted out of
self-defense. Firearms are not to be used against
children and pregnant women.

* Stop/Apprehend Suspect. The police may demand
identification of suspects in the course of
investigating crimes.

* Decision to Arrest. The Code of Criminal
Procedure provides for cases when an arrest may be
ordered, for instance, to prevent the accused from
evading prosecution when punishment for the
particular crime is imprisonment of more than 10
years or capital punishment. Police may arrest
persons who have committed crimes or who
deliberately hinder the execution of police powers.
“House arrest” may also be imposed as a measure to
prevent evasion of prosecution. Arrests are to be
carried out only by an order ofthe prosecutor.
Persons cannot remain under arrest for more
than 24 hours without authorization by the
prosecutor. Upon his or her arrest, the suspect’s
relatives must be immediately notified.
If information leads to suspicion that a
particular person is about to commit a crime, the
police may warn this person orally or written
form about the penal consequences of the crime.
They may issue a warning either on their own or by
an order of the prosecutor. (State Gazette,
(No.87) 1981,(No.89) 1974, Pavlov, 1989).

* Search and Seizure of Property. Searches are
conducted on arrested persons or persons who are
suspected of carrying dangerous or forbidden
objects. Persons found at the scene of a
particular crime may also be searched. Seizure is
regulated by special provisions of the Code of
Criminal Procedure.

* Confessions. Police are not authorized to
prosecute or investigate crimes. This power is
vested in prosecutors and investigators who are
officers of the judiciary.

6. Accountability. Crimes committed by police
are punished through the civil courts.
Prosecutors supervise the legality of police
activities. (State Gazette, (No.26) 1968, (No.89)
1974, (No.52) 1980, (No.57)1991, (No.8) 1993,
(No.11) 1993, (No.55) 1993, (No. 109) 1993; Decree
for the Application of the National Police Act,
1992; Regulation for the Structure and the
Activities of the High Institute of the Ministry
of the Interior, 1991).


1. Rights of the Accused.

The accused is the person against whom an
accusation has been put forward under the
conditions and in the order envisaged by the Code
of Criminal Procedure. Persons accused of a
crime are presumed innocent.
The accused has the following rights: a) to
know the nature of the accusations and the
evidence on which they are based, to give
explanations connected with the accusation; b) to
have access to the case file and take any
necessary excerpts from it; c) to submit proofs;
d) to take part in the criminal proceedings; e) to
make requests, notes and objections; f) to be the
last to make a statement; g) to appeal the
decisions of the court and of the agencies of the
preliminary investigation which encroach upon his
or her rights and lawful interests and; h) to have
a counsel for the defense.
The right to counsel for the defense of the
arrested is guaranteed from the moment of arrest.
Defense counsel is to be present at each criminal
proceeding, upon the request of the accused. The
accused may refuse to make statements during the
pre-trial investigation and before the court.
Refusal to make statements should not aggravate
his or her position in trial.

* Assistance to the Accused. Defense counsel may
be appointed ex officio if the accused is charged
with severe crime and has no counse.

2. Procedures.

* Preparatory Procedures for Bringing a Suspect to
There are two stages in criminal procedure:
a pre-trial investigation and a court hearing.
The pre-trial investigation is initiated by the
prosecutor. The investigator may also initiate
an investigation, but must immediately inform the
Pre-trial investigations are initiated for
crimes of the general type, crimes committed by
minors or by persons who are physically or
mentally disabled and cannot defend themselves,
and crimes of the private type when the victim
cannot defend himself or herself. A pre-trial
investigation is not to be initiated if the case
is under the jurisdiction of a regional (the
lowest) court as the first instance and if: 1)
the person has been detected while committing the
crime or has been caught immediately after the
crime has been committed; 2) there are obvious
traces of the crime on the body or clothes of the
perpetrator; or 3) the person goes personally to
the police or the prosecutor and admits to
committing a crime.
Investigative agencies, such as the National
Investigation Agency and regional investigation
agencies, perform the pre-trial investigation of
criminal cases. The prosecutor guides and
supervises official investigation activities.
Investigators are obligated to follow the written
order of the prosecutor. Investigation results
are delivered to the prosecutor, who must then
determine whether; the act is definable as a crime
and has the features of the specific crime
charged; there are grounds to dismiss, suspend or
divide the case; the circumstances concerning the
case have been clarified; the accusation is
supported by the collected evidence; there are
substantial violations of the procedural rules;
the causes of the particular crime have been
investigated; it is necessary to change the
measures employed to prevent evasion of
After examining the results of the pre-trial
investigation, the prosecutor must 1) formulate an
indictment (act of accusation) and bring the case
to court; 2) return the case for additional
investigation; 3) dismiss the case on grounds
provided for by the Code of Criminal Procedure; 4)
suspend the case on grounds provided for by the
Code of Criminal Procedure – usually when the
crime perpetrator is not known; or 5) reopen the
dismissed case.
If the grounds to initiate a court trial are
present, a prosecutor will issue an indictment or
a victim will issue a complaint (if the crime is
of the private type). The prosecutor may take
part in a trial of the private type if public
interest warrants such intrusion. The parties
before the court consist of prosecutor, the
defendant and defense counsel, the private
complainant, the private accuser and their
counsel, the civil plaintiff and the civil
defendant and their counsel, and the public
accuser and public defendant if they have been
Cases can only be heard under the
jurisdiction of the court in the region of which
the crime has been committed. Criminal cases are
tried in an open court. There are several
exceptions for which the law requires closed
trials. For instance, criminal cases involving
minors are tried in a closed court.

* Official Who Conducts Prosecution. The
prosecutor conducts the prosecution.

* Alternatives to Trial. Information not

* What Proportion of Prosecuted Cases Goes to
Trial? Information not available.

* Pre-trial Incarceration Conditions. Information
not available.

* Bail Procedure. Information not available.

* Proportion of Pre-trial Offenders Incarcerated.
As of the end of December 1993, there were a total
of 8,519 imprisoned persons, of which 1,508 were
arrested defendants who were incarcerated without
having been convicted or sentenced. There were
also 1,396 convicted and sentenced offenders who
were waiting for their sentence to be imposed.


1. Administration.

The judiciary branch is independent from the
rest of the government. It consists of the
courts, prosecutors offices, and investigative
agencies, which are all independent institutions
within the judiciary. They are structured on the
basis of territorial and functional principles.
There are several types of courts: the
Supreme Court of Cassation, the Supreme
Administrative Court, the appellate courts, and
the district and regional courts. Laymen take
part in court processes only in the cases provided
for by the law.
The structure of the prosecutor’s offices
corresponds to the structure of the courts. There
is a General Prosecutor’s Office, appellate
office, and a district and regional prosecutor’s
office. The General Prosecutor guides and
supervises the legality of the activities of all
prosecutors. The prosecutors enforce the law by
bringing charges against criminal suspects and
supporting the charges in criminal trials; by
overseeing the execution of punishments; and by
taking part in civil and administrative suits when
required to do so by the law.

2. Special Courts.

Specialized courts may be constituted only by law.
Extraordinary courts are not allowed by the

3. Judges.

* Number of judges.
Courts of first instance have staffs of one
judge and two laymen. If the punishment for a
crime is more than 15 years in prison or capital
punishment, the staff will increase to three
judges and four laymen. Courts of the second
instance have a staff of three judges.
The Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) consists
of 25 members. Eleven are elected by Parliament;
9, by judges, prosecutors, and investigators; and
5 are appointed by the President. The Presidents
of the two Supreme Courts and the General
Prosecutor sit on the SJC ex officio. The Minister
of Justice presides over the SJC. (State Gazette,
(No.56) 1991).

* Appointment, training, and qualifications.
Judges, prosecutors and investigators must
have a law degree. They enjoy immunity and are
elected by the Supreme Judicial Council. They
cannot be replaced after they have completed their
third year in office. The Presidents of the
Supreme Court of Cassation and the Supreme
Administrative Court and the General Prosecutor
are appointed by the President of the Republic on
a motion of the Supreme Judicial Council.


1. Sentencing Process.

* Who Determines the Sentence? The court
determines the sentence on the grounds of evidence
collected by the court. The sentence may be
appealed by the defendant or prosecutor within the
term provided by the law. Courts of the second
instance must examine the entire sentence,
checking in particularly whether there were errors
in fact-finding and in application of the law.
Second instance courts may not collect additional
evidence, with the exception of written evidence.
Courts of second instance may not impose a harsher
punishment if the sentence was not appealed by the
A sentence that has already been imposed may
be brought before the Supreme Court for appeal
under conditions explicitly formulated by the Code
of Criminal Procedure. (State Gazette,(No.56)

* Is There a Special Sentencing Hearing?
Information not available.

* Which Persons Have Input Into the Sentencing
Process? Victims can participate in a trial as
witnesses. Other witnesses and experts can also
participate. Experts must be appointed by the
court. Parents or guardians of minors must be
summoned for hearings in a criminal case against
minors. They have the right to take part in the
collecting of evidence and to make requests and
objections. The Court may also invite social
workers, pedagogues and inspectors of the
Children’s Pedagogue Rooms, which are special
units for juvenile crime prevention.(State
Gazette, (No.56) 1991).

2. Types of Penalties.

* Range of Penalties. Punishments are listed in
the Penal Code as follows: imprisonment,
correctional work without imprisonment,
confiscation, fine, exile without imprisonment,
deprivation of the right to hold a certain office,
deprivation of the right to practice in certain
professions, deprivation of the right to live in a
certain place, deprivation of the right to bear
decorations already received or to enjoy titles of
honor, deprivation of a military rank, and public
In 1992, 10,421 persons were sentenced for
crimes, of which 80% were imprisoned, 11.8% were
fined, 3.9% were given correctional work, and 1.1%
were exiled. (State Gazette, (No.26) 1968; Miteva
and Hadjilalov, 1993).

* Death Penalty. Capital punishment is used as an
exclusive measure for punishing the most severe
crimes. It may not be imposed on persons who were
younger than 20 years old or on women who were
pregnant when the crime was committed or when
trial was held. According to the Penal Code, the
method of capital punishment is by shooting.
From 1988 to 1992, a total of 39 persons were
sentenced to capital punishment, 20 of whom were
sentenced in 1988,15 persons in 1989, 2 persons in
1990, none in 1991, and 2 were sentenced in 1992.
By the end of 1989 a de facto moratorium on
executions was introduced. This moratorium was
fixed by a parliamentary act in 1990.(State
Gazette, (No.26) 1968; Miteva and Hadjilalov,


1. Description.

* Number of Prisons and Type. The Execution of
Punishments Act defines three types of facilities
for imprisonment. Centers for correction and work
of the open type are used for offenders who for
the first time have been given a maximum sentence
of 3 years imprisonment for deliberate crimes or a
maximum of 5 years imprisonment for crimes of
negligence. In 1993, there were seven open-type
correctional centers.
Centers for correction and work of the
semi-open type are used for offenders who for the
first time have been given a maximum sentence of 3
to 5 years imprisonment for deliberate crimes or
for offenders who are sentenced for crimes of
negligence but do not serve their punishment in
open-type facilities. In 1993, there were five
semi-open type correctional centers.
Centers for correction and work of the closed
type and prisons are used for all other persons
sentenced to imprisonment. In 1993, there were
six closed-type correction centers and eight
In 1993, there were three correctional
facilities used specifically for minors, one of
which was exclusively for women.
Each facility has its own regime. Regimes
are classified as lenient, general, strict, and
highly strict. The sentence generally defines the
regime the offender will be placed under.
Sentenced offenders are housed separately from
convicted offenders who are awaiting sentence and
from arrested defendants.

* Number of Prison Beds. Information not

* Number of Annual Admissions. Information not

* Average Daily Population/Number of Prisoners.
As of the end of December, 1993, there were a
total of 8,519 persons in prison, of which 8,239
were male and 280 were female.

* Actual or Estimated Proportions of Inmates
Incarcerated For various crimes. Information not

2. Administration.

* Administration. The correctional facilities and
the prisons are supervised by the Ministry of
Justice. There are no private prisons. Prison
activities are managed by the General Department
of Prisons, which also has a Scientific and
Methodological Council for Prison Studies. (State
Gazette, (No.30) 1969.

* Number of Prison Guards. Information not

* Training and Qualifications. Information not

* Expenditure on Prison System. In 1993, prison
expenditures totaled 320 million BGL ($1 U.S.=32

3. Prison Conditions. Information not available.

* Remissions. After serving a certain term of
punishment, prisoners may be released even though
the whole term of their sentence has not expired.
(State Gazette, (No.30) 1969.

* Work/Education. Prisoners may work. They can
also obtain an education and be trained for work
free of charge. (State Gazette,(No.30) 1969.

* Amenities and Privileges. The type of regime
operating at the prison defines prisoners’ rights
and restrictions. (State Gazette, (No.30) 1969.


* Extradition. Bulgaria has extradition
agreements involving legal assistance with Greece,
Spain, Italy, Cuba, Mongolia, Poland, Romania,
Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, Hungary, the Czech
Republic, and Yugoslavia. Bulgaria is also a
party in extradition conventions with Belgium,
Germany and the United States. (Slivenski, 1934).

* Exchange/Transfer of Prisoners. The Code of
Criminal Procedure provides for the proceedings
and conditions for the extradition of persons who
are sentenced to imprisonment and must serve the
punishment in their native states. (Slivenski,

* Specified Conditions. Extradition may be
carried out only on grounds of bilateral
agreements for legal assistance or on the grounds
of agreements for extradition. There are many
cases in which extraditions are carried out based
on good will when there is no agreement between
Bulgaria and the requesting state. (Slivenski,


See Also

  • Criminal Justice
  • Legal System
  • Criminology
  • Criminal Justice System

Further Reading

  • Cole, George F., S. J. Frankowski, and M. G. Gertz, (1987) Major Criminal Justice Systems. Beverly Hills: Sage.
  • David, R. and J. E. Brierley (1968) Major Legal Systems of the World Today. London: Free Press.
  • Fairchild, E. (1993), Comparative criminal justice systems. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
  • Feeley, Malcolm M. (1973), “Two models of the criminal justice system”. Law and Society Review, 7(3): 407-425.


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