Litigation in the Constitutional Court on Human Rights in Strasbourg on expelling priests from the alternative synod by force.
In January was made a complaint in the European Court on Human Rights in Strasbourg regarding the expel l ing by force of priests from the alternative synod from 250 temples . We remind you, that on 21-22 July 2004 by order of prosecutor the police took by force 250 temples, own ed by the alternative synod, and arrested the priests.
74 applications were sent from 48 priests and spiritual workers, 35 church boards and 733 laity . ? he Bulgarian government required from the constitutional court on Human Rights in Strasbourg the term for answer to be prolonged till 8 April 2005. The Bulgarian orthodox church , headed by Maxim , required to prolong the term for the response till 16 May 2005 .
We pray that the position of the European Court will be i n favor of the protection of the religious liberty of the Bulgarian citizens.
Prayer meetings in the Rule of Law Institute Tuesdays 6 p.m .
There are regular prayer meetings from the beginning of 2005 in the Rule of Law Institute . The Leader of the prayer group is Ivailo Tzenov. True members of the Institute take part, who come to share their prayer needs, testimonies and ideas for the development of the institute. The doors of RLI are opened for all that desire to participate on Tuesdays at 6 p.m.
Business Breakfast with guest speaker Teodor Anguelov from the European Baptist Federation
On January 11 was held the first Business Breakfast with a guest speaker Teodor Anguelov from the Baptist Federation.
New member in the Rule of Law Team in Sofia
Tzvetomira Gancheva took Diana's place in the Institute working part time from the beginning of February. She is a student in European stuies in her fourth year in Sofia University.
Latchezar Popov's participation in a meeting of the members of the Balkan Human Rights Network in Igalo , Montenegro .
The Chairman of the Rule of Law Institute represented the institute in Igalo, Montenegro, on a meeting of more than 70 nongovernmental organizations, that are members of the Balkan Human Rights Network. RLI was elected coordinator of the Bulgarian nongovernmental organizations for The Balkan Network . This is an international acknowledgement for the efforts of the Institute in the realm of the Human Rights.
Diana Daskalova's departure for Handong International Law School
In February Diana Daskalova, coordinator of Rule of Law Institute, left for South Korea, where she will specialize in the International right in Handong International School for one year.
Official Visitation of representatives of Kosovo Prime minister's legal department at the invitation of Advocates Europe and Rule of Law Institute.
21 - 25 February
Legal delegation from Kosovo arrived in Bulgaria at the invitation of Latchezar Popov on behalf of Advocates Europe. The representatives in the delegation were: Afrim Hoti, coordinator of the legal department of Kosovo Prime Minister and the jurists from the legal department of the Kosovo prime minister's office, Deme Keka and Haksi Gashi. The purpose of the visit was to meet representatives of the judicial power and to get to know about the Bulgarian experience in the sphere of the legal reform and religious legislation, which will be applied in the elaboration of the Creeds act in Kosovo. During their official meetings with experts from the department of Justice , the European integration commission and the Parliament, Latchezar Popov and Dani Bohotska accompanied them.
Business Breakfast with guest speakers from the legal delegation from Kosovo
On 22 February took place the business breakfast in Dublin Restaurant in Sofia . Guest speakers were the representatives of the legal department of the Prime minister's office of Kosovo. The leader of the delegation Afrim Hoti shared about the reform of the legislation in Kosovo and his personal opinion for the ethnic conflicts and the religious freedom in Kosovo .
Meeting of the leaders of the Christian Business Organization Europartners in Malaga , Spain
Latchezar Popov took part in the meeting of the leaders of the Christian business organization Europartners on 9-13 February in Malaga , Spain . As a result of his participation he contacted businessmen from North Ireland, Lithuania , Romania , Estonia and lawyers from Poland . As a result of that meeting Rule of Law Institute received a compact disk with the course "Alpha in the work place"
New member of the Rule of Law Institute office.
Julia Russeva started working part-time in the Rule of Law Institute in March. Together with Tzvetomira she will work as a coordinator of the Rule of Law Institute .
Round Table on Religious Liberty and Conscience, Sofia
Latchezar Popov took part in a round table on Religious liberty and Conscience on 25-26 March in Sofia . 20 members of non-governmental organizations, church leaders, governmental officials from the Ministry of interior, the Ministry of Justice, and the Direction on religion took part in the forum. The focus of the discussion was 'The Connection between State and Church', 'The State intervention in the Church activities' and 'The role of media'. As a result of the meeting was made a decision to create a web page with current information on the issues of the religious liberty in Bulgaria.
Projects application for funding before the Balkan Rights Human Network.
The Rule of Law Institute prepared a number of small and big projects, with which applied before the Balkan Rights Human Network. Among them are the 'Police manual continuation and the training of police officers on human rights' , as well as the project of 'Institution the position of local Ombudsman in Nova Zagora municipality'. A project was approved, which will be fulfilled with the cooperation of the association 'Future for all'. It is a project for crime prevention training of police officers and representatives of the local authority in Kostenetz, Dolna Banya, Breznik.
Business Breakfast with guest speakers Chris Thompson and Tzvetan Simeonov
On 29 March 2005 in Dublin Restaurant took place a business breakfast organized by Rule of Law Institute (RLI). Chris Thompson, USAID Commercial Law Reform Program and Tzvetan Simeonov, Vice president of Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, spoke briefly on the topic of 'Commercial Mediation' and 'Business Mediation' and shared their personal experience.
Meeting with the President of the Europartners organization Dominic Fesler
The president of the organization Europartners Dominic Fesler met 20 Bulgarian Christian businessmen, jurists and Pastors on 9 ?pril at the RLI office . He shared about the activity of the organization and his personal testimony. Mr. Fesler expressed his desire to work with Bulgaria in future, organizing seminars and trainings.
Religious liberty weekend, Prague
Advocates Europe and the European Evangelical alliance organized the forum on religious liberty. 20 people from 12 countries took part - representatives of non-governmental organizations and the Alliances from Holland, Norway, U.K. and Sweden, lawyers and judges. As a result of the meeting was drawn up a religious liberty map of Europe , which will be updated every 6 months. Latchezar Popov contacted the Czech lawyers Adam Russ and Alexander Voinar with the intention to be established an Advocates Europe branch in the Czech Republic. Third religious liberty Forum was planned in Europe next year.
Peacemakers seminars in Plovdiv , Nova Zaggora, Sofia
The Peacemakers seminar took place in the period 11-16 April in Plovdiv , Nova Zagora and Sofia, organized by RLI and Peacemakers Ministries. Chip Zimmer, the lecturer, who is the international director of Peacemakers ministry, taught the participants how to react biblically to conflicts and how to handle them with the principles of the Word of God. To the seminar in Plovdiv , organized with the lawyer Irinna Mileva's cooperation, came 50 people, believers from the Protestant, Catholic and the Orthodox Church. In Nova Zagora, due to Pastor Nikolay Nikolov's efforts, 30 people took part. Latchezar Popov and Chip Zimmer were invited to an annual meeting of 50 judges from Nova Zagora, together with the Chairmen of the Local and the Regional court. Latchezar Popov and Chip Zimmer spoke about the purposes of Advocates Europe and the Rule of Law Institute. Latchezar met the Chairman of the Town council in order to gain his support for the Ombudsman project .
The echo of the Peacemakers seminar and Chip Zimmer's and Latchezar Popov's visit in the local newspaper "Zname" was the title "Nova Zagora - Center of the Balkans".
The series of seminars ended with the two days meetings at the RLI office on 15 and 16 April, where the participants were 35: jurists, judges, members of the Parliament, Government and officials from the Ministry of Interior. The training on peacemaking in Bulgaria is expected to continue in future.
4th May 2005
On 4 th May the business breakfast took place. Mr Michael Barkin - consul of the American Embassy, was invited as a speaker . In the pleasant atmosphere of the " Dublin " restaurant, 54 "Alabin" Str.,he acquainted the participants with the conditions of giving business visas and educational and working visas for students.
Participation of Tsvetomira Gancheva on the meeting of the Administrative Board of the Balkan Human Rights Network in Dubrovnik, Croatia
21th - 22th May 2005
Tsvetomira Gancheva, coordinator of RLI, represented RLI on the meeting of the Administrative Board of the Balkan Human Rights Network in Croatia . On that meeting many fundamental questions were discussed about the future of the organization: financial side, future projects, development of the administrative body - the Secretariat, as well as possibilities for future partnership.
Seminar " Prevention in team " with the participation of officers from the Bulgarian Police
27 th - 28 th May 2005
A seminar-training on human rights of 25 police officers from the Regional Police offices of Kostenets, Dolna Banya and Breznik , Bulgaria , was held on 27 th - 28 th May 2005 in the suburbs of the town of Kostenets . The event was organized jointly by the Association Future for All and the Rule of Law Institute, members of the BHRN, and it is a continuation of series of trainings , which have been held for a year already. Lectures were on the topics of "The human rights in the police practice" and "The model Police close to the society". On the second day during the workshops the policemen had to solve cases from the police practice, giving suggestions how the citizens should be treated in real situations according to human rights principles. The participants expressed their satisfaction of the practical approach of the training and shared what challenges they encounter while performing their daily duties.
Participation of Valentin Savov in a human rights' school, organized by the Balkan Human Rights' Network
23 th May - 4 th June 2005
RLI sent the young lawyer Valentin Savov, an active member of the RLI, as a participant in the summer human rights' school of the Balkan Human Rights' Network in Dubrovnik . During two weeks spent in familiar atmosphere different aspects of the defense of the human rights were discussed and the stress was put on the newer forms of violation and protection, related to the mass media. More than 30 different professionals participated, narrow specialists in the sphere of protection of human rights. Almost all of the Balkan countries had their representatives there.
Partnership of the RLI in the organization of the second seminar-training "Prevention in team"
11 th - 12 th June 2005
The second seminar "Prevention in team", organized by the Association Future for All with president Nina Suhachenska, was held on 11 th and 12 th June. Tsvetomira Gancheva participated as a representative of the RLI in the seminar-training on prevention of crimes for policemen from Regional Police offices of Pernik, Breznik and Kostenets. On the first day the lecturer Boyko Slavchev, adviser of the interior minister, represented the conception of the European Convention of Human Rights and its application in the every-day work of the policemen. On the second seminar training day the policemen solved cases according to the principles of observation of the human rights and liberties and respect of the human dignity.
14 th June 2005
That month the Business breakfeast was held on 14 th June 2005. The speaker was Mr Kenneth Volandez from the American Agency for International Development (USAID), Reform of the Commercial Law Program. He spoke on the topic "Business Mediation".
Father Anatolii Balachev died
Father Anatolii Balachev, member of the Board of Directors of RLI, died in June 2005 at the age of 66. After he had graduated from the Theological Academy in Sofia , in 1968 he became a priest. For years on he was a lecturer in the Theological Seminary of Sofia, the Theological Academy in Sofia, a parish priest in the churches: "St. Great Martyr George the Victor", "St. Nedelya", "St. st. Cyril and Methodius" in Sofia, and since 1992 he had been a member of the Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church and its secretary general. He established the Orthodox Polyclinic with a diabetic center "St. Evangelist Luke", the first of its kind in Bulgaria .
Repairs and refreshment of the office
After the repairs of one month, the RLI office became a nicer place to carry out the different activities of the Institute and to welcome our guests. Many changes were made in the arrangement of the office, that were indispensable in view of the increasing scope of activities of the RLI.
Participation of the RLI in the Conference of Advocates Europe in Croatia
22 th - 26 th June 2005
In the period of 20 th - 26 th June the RLI took part in the Conference of Advocates Europe in the resort village of Fujine , the Republic of Croatia . That initiative was organized by Advocates Europe for Bulgaria and passed under the title: "Doing Justice with Compassion". The Bulgarian team included lawyer Latchezar Popov, Dani Bohotska, Tsvetomira Gancheva, lawyer Pavlina Chitova, Yordanka Hristova and her husband, Vladimir Atkov and Diavena Kalcheva. Tihomir and Christine Kukolja were our hospitable hosts. Representatives of 14 countries gathered in the cosy hotel, situated on the board of a mountain lake, not far away from the Adriatic coast.
The program was rich in events: seminars, workshops, discussions, common prayers, official evening and free time for conversations, songs and excursions. Many members of the Board of Directors of Advocates International and Advocates Europe were present.
Lawyer Latchezar Popov, president of the RLI and Advocates Europe, dedicated his presentation and workshops to the vision and strategy of Advocates Europe, as well as to the problem how to build up a similar organization, starting from a small group in view of the experience with RLI. Speakers and participants shared their experience, exchanged ideas and enjoied their time together.
Changes in the RLI staff
Considerable changes were made in the RLI staff. Tsvetomira Gancheva has left for Budapest , where she will study next academic year, and Julia Russeva has started a new job. Since the 1 st of July I am on their position. My name is Diavena Kalcheva. I am a lawyer and I combine my duties of a coordinator and legal work in RLI.
Orthodox Church Case in Strasbourg
As you know, after the temples of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church have been occupied by force on 21 st July 2004, the Holy Synod of the BOC with deputy-chairman Bishop Inokentii, currently Bishop Boris, as well as many clergymen and Christians submitted claims before the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg for having their religious rights and freedoms violated. We analyzed in details the statement of the Bulgarian government in relation to the claims and in the beginning of July we sent our written reply. We expect that in the late autumn the European Court of Human Rights will pronounce itself on the admissibility and will proceed with the case in essence.
"Christian Center - Sofia" and pastor Ivan Hazurbasanov
Certain articles in "24 chasa" from the middle of July this year misinterpreted the activity of the "Christian Center - Sofia" and its leader pastor Ivan Hazurbasanov. The manipulative articles represent an evident violation of the human right of expressing freely one's religious convictions. RLI is not impartial towards that violation and has given its support in writing and submitting the claim on behalf of " Christian Center - Sofia " and the pastor before the Commission against Discrimination.
Regular prayer meetings in the RLI
Since the beginning of 2005 regular prayer meetings are held every Tuesday at 6 p.m. in the office of the Rule of Law Institute. Our prayer group consists of members and friends, who come to share their prayer needs, testimonies and ideas for the development of the Institute. Every Tuesday RLI opens its doors for everybody who would like to join us in the common prayer and to communicate with friends and colleagues.
13th September 2005
On 13th September 2005 the Business breakfast was organized in “Dublin” restaurant. Mr Tsvetan Simeonov – deputy-chief of the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry was the guest-speaker. He spoke about: „Business Ethics in Bulgaria. Foreign investments. Relations between employers and employees.” Mr Daniel Perrone, consul of the USA in Bulgaria, was our special guest.
National Conference of the RLI in Sofia
16th – 18th September 2005
The Rule of Law Institute celebrates its 10th anniversary since it has been established. In relation to that event a National Conference was organized, which took place from 16th to 18th September in the building of Bulgarian God’s Church on 37 “Vassil Drumev” Street. The topics were selected so that to reflect the main aspects of the entire activity of the RLI: human rights, religious freedoms, integration of faith and profession, mediation and peacemaking, moral and ethics. The inauguration was on 16th September 2005 with a special ceremony at 2 p.m. and the rest of the conference was spent in lectures, conversations, testimonies and prayers.
15th November 2005
The Business Breakfast of November was a good opportunity for Mr Latchezar Popov to acquaint the guests with the latest world events and tendencies in Advocates International. He chose the topic: “Integration of faith and profession through the activity of Advocates International, Advocates Europe and Rule of Law Institute” and represented the theme in the light of his 40-days trip to the USA and Latin America. Many guests and members of the RLI answered to the invitation and were present at the event.
Coalition “My Family”
18th November 2005
The Rule of Law Institute accepted the invitation to join a coalition of many non-governmental organizations, led by “Agape Bulgaria”, in defense of the family. The coalition “My Family” is an union of equal partners. The RLI will participate with its own projects, including “Peacemakers” project and an article dedicated to the problem of resolving family problems according to the Biblical principles. That initiative aims to attract public attention on the modern problems of the Bulgarian families and the ways of overcoming them. The first step was made on 18th November, when a symposium was held in “Radisson” Hotel. The whole initiative will end in April 2006 after a series of events would have been held according to the program elaborated in advance.
Participation of the RLI in the conference “Justice and security in an enlarged Europe; the challenges before Bulgaria”
Lawyer Latchezar Popov, Chairman of the Board of Directors, and Diavena Kalcheva, Coordinator, represented the RLI at the conference “Justice and security in an enlarged Europe; the challenges before Bulgaria”, organized on 3rd December by the minister of European questions of Republic of Bulgaria – Her Exellency Meglena Kuneva. The conference was held in the Boyana Residence in the mountain of Vitosha. Many ambassadors, lawyers, judges, state magistrates and representatives of non-governmental organizations spoke in order to describe the problems before Bulgaria on her way of adhesion to the European Union.
Steering Committee Meeting of BHRN – Belgrade, Serbia and Montenegro
8th – 9th December
Steering Committee Meeting was organized in Belgrade, Serbia and Montenegro on 8th – 9th December 2005. The RLI, which is the national coordinator of BHRN for Bulgaria, was represented at the event by its Chairman of the Board of Directors – lawyer Latchezar Popov. The Steering Committee analyzed the work and the politics of the BHRN and elaborated a program for the future development of the network.
At that meeting the RLI offered a project entitled Balkan Café, prepared in cooperation with the Bulgarian organization “Future for all”. The project is intended for the Balkan countries, members of the BHRN and tends towards establishing of monitoring on the condition of the human rights, as well as appreciating the legislation, its application in the sphere of the human rights and proposals for its amendments.
Official dinner of the RLI dedicated to the 10th Anniversary of RLI
The RLI organized an official dinner on 16th December in “Dublin” Restaurant as a culmination of the celebration of its 10th anniversary. Over 70 lawyers, state magistrates, clergymen, professionals, members, friends and guests gathered there some days before Christmas. Three of them were awarded by the RLI for their contribution to the development of the Institute during those ten years. Everybody received a small present from the RLI. The tradition of writing prayers for the next year was observed, as well as the prayers from the passed year were read.
National Prayer Breakfast
The RLI organizes together with pastor Victor Virchev the First National Prayer Breakfast on 23rd December. The event will take place in the First Pentecostal Church on 21, “Bacho Kiro” Street. We hope that the National Prayer Breakfast will turn to a tradition that will gather the representatives of the authorities and the society at common prayer and communication.
Meeting of the Board of Directors of Advocates Europe in the office of the RLI
14th – 15th January
On 14th – 15th January the Board of Directors of Advocates Europe will gather in the office of the Rule of Law Institute. Lawyer Latchezar Popov, Chairman of the RLI and President of Advocates Europe, will lead the meeting that will be very important. The members of the Board will discuss the future of Advocates Europe: development, budget, annual and financial report about the passed year, enlargement by adhesion of new members, etc.