24 January 2005

Three strategic information cases, initiated by the Access to Information Programme were heard in the Bulgarian courts in January


On Monday, 24 January, the Supreme Administrative Court sent the case of the environment activist Peter Penchev to the Sofia City Court for actual hearing. Petar Penchev filed an information request to the Ministry of Environment and Water about the declarations of the independent experts, who had written the environmental impact assessment (EIA) report on the construction of the Nuclear Power Plant “Belene”. Access had been denied on the grounds of personal data protection. The Sofia City Court will judge whether the declarations, which aim to prove that experts have no personal interests in the implementation of the projects, programs, and investment offers, should be classified or the public interest prevails.


The longest pending lawsuit on access to information will come to an end in a month. Three-member panel of the Supreme Administrative Court will make its judgement on the refusal of the Supreme Cassation Prosecutor’s Office to provide a copy of its 2001 report on the misuse of intercepts. The Office denied access as it stated that the report was classified as official secret. However, the two-years term of classification has expired and the Court is to rule in the public’s interest to know.


Have firms, close to the Bulgarian Socialist Party, participated in deals with Saddam Hussein, a case known as Iraqgate? The President’s refusal to provide the security services’ report on the issue will be questioned before the Sofia City Court on Thursday, 27 January. The hearing was appointed for the last autumn and cancelled because the the President had not been duly summoned. The CIA has published its report on Iraqgate on the Internet in October 2004.