Bulgarian Helsinki Watch Committee Association vs. Chief Prosecutor's Office
On 16 October 2000, the Chief Prosecutor's Office sent a notice that it had referred the application to the Socia City Prosecutor's Office of Appeal that sent no reply.
Within the time limits prescribed by law, Mr. Kunev, as advised by AIP,
submitted an appeal to the Supreme Administrative Court (SAC) pursuant
to Art. 40, para 1 of APIA in conjunction with Art. 33 of the Administrative
Procedure Act (APA).
Arguments of the Parties:
Secondly, the information requested by the Helsinki Watch Committee is public information within the meaning of Art. 2, para 1 of APIA because it relates to public life in the Republic of Bulgaria and, if provided, it would help get an idea of the work of prosecution authorities. The existence of reports and complaints concerning any discrimination on racial or ethnic basis, their number and the other information requested in the application relate to facts of violation of fundamental human rights within the territory of the whole country and to the activities of the prosecution authorities for protection of these rights. Furthermore, the requested information is created and kept by the prosecution authorities and particularly the Chief Prosecutor in compliance with his law enforcement powers pursuant to Arts. 111 to 115 of the Judiciary Act, including the right and obligation to draw up annual reports on the activities of prosecution authorities (Art. 114, para 6 of the Judiciary Act).
The refusal violates the provisions of substantive law because the requested information had to be granted access to because it is public within the meaning of APIA, it is generated and kept by prosecution authorities and the Chief Prosecutor in particular, and it does not fall within the scope of the restrictions on the right of access to information prescribed by law (Art. 7, Art. 13, para 2, Art. 2, para 3 of APIA).
Pursuant to Art. 6 of APIA the opnness of public information is the principle,
whereas pursuant to Art. 7 of APIA restrictions are the exceptions to
the rule. Therefore restrictions on the right of access to information
are irrelevant in this case.
As far as implied refusals are concerned, there is already a ruling of
a five-member panel of SAC on a case, in which the defence was represented
by Alexander Kashamov, AIP lawyer (Case 7, CILA v.s MLSP), i.e. Ruling
No. 8645 of 16 November 2001. The ruling gives a positive answer as to
the issue whether an implied refusal to grant access to public information
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English Version Last Update: 25.01.2002 © 1999 Copyright by Interia & AIP