“It is necessary that the law finds out the balance between the constitutional right of the society to be informed and the need to protect information” declared Anastas Anastasov, Vice-President of the National Assembly and Chairman of the parliamentary Committee on Internal Security and Public Order. Together with Tsveta Markova, Chair of the State Agency on Information Security, they opened a roundtable themed: “Protection of the classified information in criminal trials”.
Anastas Anastasov confirmed the national representatives’ belief that discussions in the course of legislating where different points of view are presented before a bill is submitted to the National Assembly or before it is debated in the plenary are useful. He added the practice to hold preliminary public debates on a future legislative act is a prerequisite for its good quality and application later on.
The Vice-President underscored that the membership of the Republic of Bulgaria in NATO and the European Union have led to important legislative changes and to the adjustment of the Bulgarian legislation to international standards. Part of these changes was the rearrangement of the legal regime for the access to and the protection of classified information.
Anastas Anastasov said the today’s forum is to present and discuss how to create and maintain an adequate and up to date system of protecting classified information in criminal trials, keeping in mind that trials are public as are the sentences. He added the roundtable is held just on time, in view of the upcoming changes in the security sector.
Protecting the national security and keeping transparent the way of governing get complicated by the necessity to find the right balance between the individual rights of the citizens and their restriction in order to defend the interests of the society as a whole and the state. According to him the issue is subject of serious debates within the institutions, the civil society and among the public not only in Bulgaria, but in the entire European Union. Anastas Anastasov stressed that the opinion of the non-governmental organizations could demonstrate a different point of view, which may serve as a base of comparison, as corrective or even as a stimulus to improve existing practices.
The main topic of discussion focused on the issues of protecting classified information in the course of criminal trials, taking into account the principle of openness to the public of the legal proceedings. The roundtable was attended by Members of the Parliament, representatives of the Judiciary, of state institutions and civil organizations.