OMO "Ilinden" - PIRIN

Address: ZK Elenovo, bl. 6 B app. 6, p.k. Mechkarovi, Post Cod 2700, Blagoevgrad, BULGARIA
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Letter to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg
from the Co-President of OMO "Ilinden" - PIRIN

August 29, 2007

Department for the Execution of Judgments of the European Court of Human Rights
Council of Europe
65000 Strasbourg


In rejecting our latest application for registration, the Sofia City Court found that:

1. The 76 individuals which signed "Foundation Declarations" on 1 July 2007 have not filled in and signed membership forms to join the party as required under Article 11 of the Law on Political Parties.

Our comment: This is not true. All 76 individuals of the "Initiative Committee" had filled in declarations for individual membership as required under Article 11 of the Law on Political Parties. Those declarations together with the same declarations filled in by all 685 founding members of the party were submitted to the court, as required under Article 15(5) of the Law on Political Parties. We are in possession of photocopies of the above.

2. The Court claimed that there is no evidence that the meeting of the "Initiative Committee" ever took place and that the required decisions at such a meeting according to the Law on Political Parties were not taken.

Our comment:
i) The Law on Political Parties does not require "evidence" of such a meeting taking place.
ii) The "Founding Declarations" signed by all 76 individuals contained each individual name in full and their personal identification number is evidence that they have taken made the necessary declaration.
iii) The declarations for individual membership were filled in personally by each individual with his/her own handwriting. In those declarations, the place and date where the declaration was made is clearly stated.
iv) As evidence of the meeting taking place, we took a photograph all the members gathered together on 1 July 2007.

3. The court claimed that "it is not clear to the court how in the short time of 15 days was it possible that 685 declarations of Bulgarian citizens with voting rights were collected so that the Foundation Assembly on 15 July 2007 could be held." Furthermore, "the court cannot accept that in such a short period of time 685 persons could gather for the Foundation Assembly".

Our comment: We submitted to the court all documentation from the Foundation Assembly from which it is evident that the meeting took place. We even submitted additional documentation to the court which was not required according to the law. We submitted 685 declarations for individual membership, filled in personally in their own handwriting by the participants. Moreover there were a number of articles in the media (text, photos and video footage) which confirmed the meeting taking place. Bulgarian State Television was present at the event and made recordings of the meeting. We also have video footage and photos of the meeting. Therefore the allegation of there not being any evidence of the meeting taking place is absolutely absurd.

4. The Minutes of the Foundation Assembly was signed by the Chairperson of the Assembly and by the person recording the Minutes. According to the Court, the Minutes should have been signed by all 685 foundation members.

Our comment: There is no such requirement in the Law on Political Parties, not to mention the fact that such a requirement in itself is absurd. In accordance with the requirements of Article 15 (4) of the Law on Political Parties, we have given the court a list containing the names, personal identification number and signature of all those present at the assembly. In addition we submitted to the Court, the Minutes confirmed by the Supervisory Committee at the Assembly (and later by a Notary) which observed the meeting and confirms the number of persons present as well as the decisions taken at the assembly.

5. The court claimed that the list of 685 foundation members cannot be accepted as evidence that they are members of the party and that they are aware of this, because their individual declarations according to Article 11 have not been submitted to the court.

Our comment: This is simply not true. The handwritten declarations, as required according to article 11, were filled in and signed personally by all 685 founders were submitted to the court. Again, we have photocopies of the above.

6. The letter from the Department for the Execution of Judgments of the European Court of Human Rights (11 July 2007) leads the court to the conclusion that the list of 5,000 members was not original, but rather was the same one as submitted last year and accordingly the list cannot be accepted.

Our comment: We have no comment on this. Both we and the Secretariat are fully aware of the purpose and contents of that letter.

7. According to the Court, the aims stated in the Statute of the party are unclear and are not characteristic of a political party but rather of an NGO.

Our comment: We have no comment on the above absurdity.

8. The same party with the same name was registered in 1999 and was banned in 2000 by the Constitutional Court of Bulgaria. According to the Court, the "political aims" of this party are the same as those of the party registered in 1999 and that "even the Presidency of the party are the same persons." Therefore, "the Court is not convinced that considering the same political aims and the same political leaders of the party that the same result will not be reached, i.e. that there will be another application submitted to the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Bulgaria calling for a dissolution of the party."

Our comment: The party now is the same party as in 1999, even if the political aims are not identical as in 1999. However in 1999 we did not have a Collective Presidency, but rather a leadership with a single President. Even so, only two members of the leadership of 1999 are members of the current five-person Collective Presidency. The Court is deliberately ignoring the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights and as a result is speculating about what may happen in the future with regards to the Constitutional Court.

9. The constitutionality of a political party must be judged according to its activities listed in Article 4 of the Statute of the Party "Political Aims" "they talk about a party which is active in a particular part of the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria which is contrary to the Law on political Parties and the Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria."

Our comment: This is simply absurd. The court does not state which articles of the Constitution and the Law on Political Parties we have violated by being active on a particular part of the territory of the country - because there are no such articles which forbid this. Furthermore, we have members from the entire territory of Bulgaria and we plan to be active on the entire territory of the country.

Here we would also like to note that contrary to the claim of the court that "our aims are not political" the court on several occasions in the decision has declared our aims to be political by using such terminology as "political aims" as was used above!

10. The party must submit a minimum of 5,000 handwritten filled in and signed declarations according to Article 11 of the Law on Political Parties.

Our comment: Here the court demonstrates its unfamiliarity with the law. According to the Law on Political Parties (Articles 12(2), 15(4) and 15(5) a minimum of 500 (five-hundred) such declarations must be made which we already did. Regarding the 5,000 members, only a list is required with the name, personal identification number and address of the person, without his/her signature (Article 15(7) of the Law on Political Parties).

Please do not hesitate to contact us for further information.

Yours sincerely,

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