BULGARIA - Abolitionist
Government: parliamentary democracy
State of civil and political rights: Free
Constitution: 12 July 1991
Legal System: civil law and criminal law based on Roman law
Legislative System: unicameral National Assembly (Narodno Sobranie)
Judicial System: Supreme Administrative Court; Supreme Court of Cassation; Constitutional Cour, Supreme Judicial Council,
Religion: Bulgarian Orthodox 82.6%, Muslim 12.2%, other Christian 1.2%, other
International Treaties on the Death Penalty and Human Rights:
- International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
- 1st Optional Protocol to the Covenant
- Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (aiming to the abolition of the death penalty)
- Convention on the Rights of the Child
- Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
- European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms
- 6th Protocol to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (concerning the abolition of the death penalty)
- European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
- Protocol No. 13 to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, concerning the abolition of the death penalty in all circumstances
- Statute of the International Criminal Court (which excludes the death penalty)
The death penalty for all crimes was abolished on December 10, 1998. The abolition bill was voted by an overwhelming majority in the Bulgarian Parliament. The death penalty was replaced by a non-commutable sentence of life imprisonment not applicable to persons under 20 years of age and women who are pregnant at the time of the offence or the judgment.
The Bulgarian Vice-President commuted the 21 death sentences passed between 1990 and 1998 to life imprisonment upon the abolition of the death penalty in December 1998. Bulgarian courts had continued to pass death sentences up to abolition in 1998, but none of these were executed due to a moratorium.
A moratorium on executions imposed by Parliament was in place between July 20, 1990 and December 10, 1998. On February 13, 2003 Bulgaria deposited with the Council of Europe the instrument of ratification of Protocol No 13 to the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms banning the death penalty in all circumstances.
On 19 Decembr 2016, as in previous years, Bulgaria co-sponsored and voted in favour of the Resolution on a Moratorium on the Use of the Death Penalty at the UN General Assembly.