Justice Minister after controversial statements made by ICCJ President: Does it mean it’s normal for a high-ranking judge to engage in politics?

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On Friday, Justice Minister Tudorel Toader commented on the statement that High Court of Justice (ICCJ) President Cristina Tarcea made about the excessive politicisation of the procedure to dismiss from office the Chief Prosecutor of the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA). “Does it mean it’s normal for a high-ranking judge to engage in politics?” Toader wrote on Facebook.

“Does it mean it’s normal for a high-ranking judge to engage in politics? Does it mean it’s not normal for a minister to criticise a judge, but it’s normal for a judge to criticise a minister?”, Tudorel Toader wrote on Facebook on Friday.

The Justice Minister’s statement comes as a reaction to the statement that ICCJ President Cristina Tarcea made on Thursday, according to which the decision to dismiss from office DNA Chief Prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi was “politicised to an inadmissible degree.” Tarcea declared herself “intrigued.”

“I don’t find it normal for a Justice Minister to notify the Constitutional Court over an aspect, after all common, of the dismissal of a Chief Prosecutor, I don’t find it normal for the same aspect to raise issues of dismissal, of impeachment of the president of the country. This aspect is politicised to an inadmissible degree and I wouldn’t want it happening again,” Cristina Tarcea stated in an interview for Realitatea TV.

“I won’t speak on behalf of my fellow judges, because I haven’t discussed these aspects with them. I will talk on my own behalf and I will say that I have looked at everything that has happened. Not necessarily with concern but intrigued, because I found it all so inadmissibly politicised that I did not know exactly what is going on and I did not know to what extent the body that is, after all, according to the Constitution, part of the judicial authority must be the object of dispute of so many political disputes,” the ICCJ President stated about the decision to dismiss Laura Codruta Kovesi.

She added it does not seem normal to her for the dismissal from office initiative to start from the political environment and for a Justice Minister to notify the Constitutional Court over such an aspect.

“This doesn’t seem normal to me and it shouldn’t happen. It’s true that the statute of the prosecutor is fairly uncertain, according to our Constitution, leaving aside the fact that nobody has the objective of clarifying certain aspects that are fairly unclear and confusing in the Romanian Constitution, but as long as a body is part of the judicial authority let’s not engage in electioneering, let’s not engage in political actions involving that body of the judicial authority. I don’t find it normal for the dismissal initiative to start from the political environment, I don’t find it normal for a Justice Minister to notify the Constitutional Court over an aspect, after all common, of the dismissal of a Chief Prosecutor, I don’t find it normal for the same aspect to raise issues of dismissal, of impeachment of the president of the country. This aspect is politicised to an inadmissible degree and I wouldn’t want it happening again,” Cristina Tarcea added.