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In just six days, 538 judges voted to revoke Cristi Danilet.
The elections for the top positions in the Superior Council of Magistracy (CSM) that positioned prosecutor Oana Schmidt-Haineala as president prompted an unprecedented movement in the judiciary. Many tribunals throughout the country successively voted, at the end of last week, in favour of revoking CSM members Cristi Danilet, Alina Ghica, Horatius Dumbrava and Alexandru Serban, unhappy with the way these magistrates represented them or how they acted in the Council meeting of January 4. The Pitesti Court of Appeals ruled with a 2/3 majority the revocation of the three judges that represent it in the CSM (Ghica, Dumbrava and Serban). A similar decision was made by the Cluj Court of Appeals. Just one day after voting to revoke Alina Ghica from CSM, the judges of the Cluj Court of Appeals summoned a new General Assembly and voted to revoke Dumbrava and Serban as well. At the same time, magistrates from tribunals all over the country, represented in CSM by judge Cristi Danilet, pressed on with the procedure of revoking him, so until now a total number of 711 judges voted over the decision to revoke Danilet, reads a communiqué quoted by luju.ro. Out of this number, 538 want Danilet removed from CSM and only 110 support him. A total 43 tribunals upheld the revoking proposal and 17 rejected it. According to the source, 46 more tribunals must still need against Danilet, as there are 176 tribunals in Romania and the decision to revoke a CSM member must be supported by half of the total number plus one, i.e. 89.On the other hand, the General Assembly of judges from the Mehedinti Tribunal decided to revoke judges Mona Lisa Neagoe and Adrian Neacsu, with 31 votes to 3 and a nil vote, because “they accepted backstage schemes confirmed even by some members of the CSM.” According to luju.ro, the decision of the Mehedinti Tribunal is unprecedented, as Neagoe and Neacsu are perceived as “having had no contribution to solving the problems that are really important for the Romanian judiciary system” and “with regard to the accusations of politicising the CSM.”
According to the law, an elected member of the CSM may be revoked when the majority of the courts he/she represents demand it, and in their turn tribunals must decide to request it with two thirds of the ballots cast by their acting judges.
CAB postpones vote for revoking the members of the CSM
The Bucharest Court of Appeals (CAB) postponed by 12 days the vote for revoking the members of the Council, although 92 judges signed the call for holding the session. Internal sources quoted by luju.ro said there are several reasons for this delay: making the accusations against Alina Ghica (former CSM president) for her activity in the Council; allowing each judge to form his or her own opinion about the accusations against Alina Ghica; allowing the judges that are on leave to return to work.
“Electing me was inconvenient for many politicians”, Oana Haineala claims
In an interview with ‘Evenimentul Zilei,’ Oana Schmidt-Haineala said that the reaction of courts to the elections that made her president of the CSM is “emotional, largely generated by vanity. “As I see things, there is no difference between my colleagues prosecutors and judges, and the position of CSM president is mostly administrative and does not imply the prosecutor exerting any form of authority upon the judge,” Haineala said, quoted by evz.ro. She also rejected the idea that the prosecutors that are members of the CSM are subordinates of the minister of Justice: “There is a specific provision in the law of the Council which stipulates that, while they exert their mandate, the prosecutors and judges that were elected as members of the CSM are suspended from the offices of judge or prosecutor.” Haineala claims that “appointing” her (though she was not appointed, but elected) as president of the Council has upset many people, especially “a certain zone of politics,” but she did not want to elaborate. “None of the CSM members, especially I, will yield to either pressure or blackmail,” she added. As for the attitude of the minister of Justice, Mona Pivniceru, who criticised the election of a prosecutor as head of the CSM, Haineala said that she expects her to be “balanced.”
Ponta: Electing a prosecutor as chief of the CSM is somehow strange; Danilet is a member of PDL
Premier Victor Ponta considers that electing a prosecutor as head of the Council, though not illegal, is still “somehow strange” and believes that a battle for power, without political influences, is being waged within CSM, adding that the only CSM member that is in politics, “who is with PDL and claims it overtly,” is Cristi Danilet. “I was a prosecutor and I was taught that I make the proposal and the judge decides, because I have stability and the judge has immovability,” Ponta said on RTV. In retort, Danilet mentioned that he never was a party member. “Neither I, nor any member of my family ever was a party member. Neither before ’89, nor after. (…),” the controversial judge stated.
Morar reacts to the CSM row
In a communiqué released Thursday, the Public Ministry led by interim general first-prosecutor Daniel Morar announced that he consulted prosecutors over the election of a prosecutor as chief of the CSM and 92 pc of the respondents consider that choosing Oana Schmidt Haineala is constitutional, as the members of CSM (judges and prosecutors) have the same statute and vocation. According to the source, 80 pc of the consulted prosecutors considered that “the viewpoints expressed by the Romanian Association of Prosecutors, in the present context, do not represent the position of the professional body of prosecutors.”However, luju.ro informed that the Public Ministry sent to prosecutor offices a ready-made statement they should pronounce upon and there was no real consultation. “Based on the information we received, prosecutors were summoned on January 10 at their chiefs and were ordered to take act of the respective statement,” reports the website, which considers that the document “opens an irreversible gap” between judges and prosecutors.On Digi 24, Morar said that the “noise” surrounding the elections for the leading position of CSM started from certain dissatisfactions and frustrations of some judge that lost the elections, and the office of CSM chief was won by a prosecutor.