Nomination of the prosecutor general, anti-corruption chief sparks row

PM wants prosecutor general and DNA head to be again appointed by the Magistrates alone without any political interference. Macovei, who introduced the political appointments, slams the proposal saying the new Minister wants to ‘subjugate’ Justice.

PM Victor Ponta’s statements that the prosecutor general of Romania and the head of the National Anti-Corruption Directorate (DNA) should be appointed only by the Superior Council of Magistracy (CSM), with no involvement on the part of either the Ministry of Justice or the president of the country has sparked the current opposition criticism. ‘Very soon we will need to go back to the system we supported in 2004, when Cristian Diaconescu (currently the president’s adviser – our note) was Minister of Justice, where both the chief of DNA and the prosecutor general should have nothing to do – regarding their appointment – with neither the minister, nor the president, but just with CSM. This one is a politicised system introduced by Macovei when she was a minister and also a very good friend of the president’s’, Ponta said on Romania TV last Thursday. According to the prime minister, although the terms of both the head of DNA, Daniel Morar, and prosecutor general Codruta Kovesi expire around the date of September 1,  he has not discussed with the minister of justice the subject of whom he would nominate. ‘I allow the minister full discretion to secure the independence of the judiciary and propose people who are unconnected with the president, prime-minister, PSD or PDL. I was a prosecutor for many years and the thing I hated the most was to sense all sorts of political influences. I am not going to do now what I disliked then’, Ponta also said. PDL MEP and ex-Justice Minister Monica Macovei, on the other hand, says Ponta’s proposal is ‘a restoration of the Nastase-Stanoiu regime (ex-PM and ex-Justice Minister in PSD regime). According to a statement quoted by Mediafax, Ponta’s proposal is ‘bad’ because it infringes on the commitment Romania made when entering the EU and also laid down in the Mechanism of Cooperation and Verification. ‘Since 2005, the Justice Ministry nominates and the president of the country appoints. If they appoint the wrong people, the voters know who is responsible and needs to be held accountable. I supported Daniel Morar as head of DNA and, in front of the entire country, I took responsibility for my proposal. So did President Basescu for appointing him to office’, was Macovei’s argument. ‘CSM cannot be dismissed, but a minister can. There isn’t such thing as democracy without individual accountability for your own deeds’, the MEP also said. ‘For the first time in the last 22 years, we see politicians from all parties, PDL included, who are investigated, arrested or convicted. None of those is a political case. This is what scares Ponta and his gang’, Macovei concluded. Yesterday, in a press conference, Macovei criticised the Ponta Cabinet and its proposals in the justice area, saying she was ‘afraid’ the members of the Ponta Government might drive Romania ‘to dictatorship’. Macovei thinks Titus Corlatean has been named as Minister of Justice ‘to subjugate justice and help his party colleague, the defendant Adrian Nastase, with his pending court cases’. US Ambassador Mark Gitenstein again declared his support for Daniel Morar continuing as the head of DNA and also praised the National Integrity Agency as well as in-coming Justice Minister Titus Corlatean. ‘No matter who is appointed (as prosecutor general and chief prosecutor of DNA – our note), that person’s integrity and credibility must be beyond doubt.  I believe Daniel Morar is such a person. (…) I believe it would be difficult to find a more adequate person for the position, but, at the same time, there has to be a consensus that the person is as good as Daniel Morar is. It seems like a difficult task to me, but it will be just as hard for anyone who may be named, because that person will immediately be compared with Codruta Kovesi and Daniel Morar’, said Gitenstein on TVR Info the other day. The ambassador of USA also says Titus Corlatean will be a fine Minister of Justice, noting he is happy that he reconsidered his statements on the arrest of one of the prosecutors on the Adrian Nastase case.Yesterday, Monica Macovei said Ambassador Gitenstein was entitled to voicing his opinions regarding Morar because the State Department of the USA had ‘financed’ both DIICOT and DNA, therefore he was interested in knowing what happened with the ‘investment’.

Kovesi denies plagiarism allegations

The prosecutor general has denied the allegations that her doctoral paper was plagiarised and asked CSM to defend her reputation in the case, since her work had not misappropriated any scientific methodology belonging to another author, but actually made reference to all cited works and authors. She made the clarification after the Group for Political Investigations (GIP), led by Mugur Ciuvica, had said, on Friday, that Kovesi’s Ph.D paper was plagiarised and even submitted evidence in support of its allegations to the Justice Ministry, CSM and Council for the Attestation of Academic Titles. Professor Viorel Pasca, Kovesi’s doctoral paper guide, in turn says the reproduction of definitions given in normative acts and legal texts is not plagiarism and insured that the paper of the head of the Public Ministry was verified.

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