CSM: JusMin’s statements about unjust repression may affect the independence of prosecutors

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The Supreme Magistracy Council’s (CSM) Section for Prosecutors has taken note of the statements made by Justice Minister Tudorel Toader regarding the existence of unjust repression in the cases in which pre-trial arrest was ordered but the defendants were subsequently acquitted, against the backdrop of an announcement regarding the intention to order the drawing-up of a record of such cases, record that would also feature the names of the prosecutors handling the cases, and has signalled “these statements’ potential to affect the independence of prosecutors in what concerns the adoption of solutions in court proceedings.”

“The Supreme Magistracy Council’s Section for Prosecutors has taken note of the Justice Minister’s statements regarding the existence of unjust repression in the cases in which pre-trial arrest was ordered but the defendants were subsequently acquitted, against the backdrop of the announcement regarding the intention to order the drawing-up of a record of such cases, record that would include the names of the prosecutors handling the cases. Expressing our preoccupation with fulfilling the Council’s constitutional role as guarantor of the independence of the judiciary, the Section for Prosecutors signals these statements’ potential to affect the independence of prosecutors in what concerns the adoption of solutions in court proceedings,” reads a communique issued by the CSM on Thursday.

Likewise, the CSM emphasises that “the task of identifying the acts stipulated and punished by the criminal law, of investigating and holding accountable their authors, belongs to the criminal prosecution bodies, while the interpretation and enforcement of the law in a concrete case, the establishing of facts, the assessing of the evidence, claims and requests lodged, is the prerogative of the trial courts.”

Justice Minister Tudorel Toader had said on Tuesday that he wants the drawing-up of a record of persons who were investigated and arrested, and subsequently acquitted, in order to know how many Romanians have suffered unjustifiably, pointing out that it would also be of interest to know the names of the prosecutors who investigated the said persons.

“But what are we saying it’s grave that they acquitted Ponta? It’s normal, if there’s no evidence, it’s very good, if the act of justice has been carried out. Or Toni Grebla? But, as a man and citizen, why do we differentiate that they’ve acquitted someone after who knows how long, yet how many anonymous persons we don’t know went through this gauntlet, innocent. We must see the phenomenon, not the examples, the examples are of nuance, that it’s this guy or that guy. What’s the difference, they all have IDs, personal identification numbers, souls, ailments, families, social – if not physical and mental – deterioration,” the minister said in a press conference in Constanta when asked for his comments on the acquittal of former Constitutional Court Judge Toni Grebla.

He pointed out that the time could come when there would be a rigorous record of those investigated, arrested, and then acquitted.

“The time will probably come when we would see a rigorous record of those investigated, arrested, possibly detained and subsequently acquitted without being convicted. So that we would have a picture of the Romanians who suffered unjustly. I don’t know whether we will succeed or not, but maybe it would also be of interest to know that person X was investigated for three years, possibly indicted, possibly arrested, by prosecutor Y,” Tudorel Toader said.

He claims that the names of the prosecutors that investigated those who were eventually acquitted should also be known.

“Maybe it’s also of interest for us to know why we put up against a wall someone who steals, and we say he is a lawbreaker, this and that, and then he is innocent. We’re sorry, we’ll pay you damages, go at the ECHR, the ones from the ECHR will give you, see if we can reach a deal and the Justice Minister signs it and we take the lawsuit off the dockets, we pay him EUR 2-3,000, goodbye. You think EUR 3,000 covers the suffering of three years of undeserved prison? Categorically not. So then why do we drive him into a corner – he stole, he’s a criminal, he’s this and that; it’s serious, it’s very serious, but shouldn’t we know the one who carried out this unjust repression too? Maybe the time will come when things will clear up… There’s no need for enactment, it’s very simple, statistically,” Tudorel Toader explained.