Procedures to appoint magistrates in ruling positions, under CSM scrutiny

A commission of the Superior Council of Magistracy (CSM) included in the Monday agenda an older draft amendment of the law of the magistrates status, but the discussion was postponed for yesterday, sources within the Council told According to them, if the proposals are adopted by the commission and voted in the plenum subsequently, the Parliament might quickly change the magistrates’ status which is under reexamination in the Chamber of Deputies. That could change, radically and relatively fast, the rules to appoint those in key positions in the system, chief prosecutors, their deputies, the president and vice-president of the High Court and section chiefs. These are currently appointed by the Head of State, following the proposal of the Minister of Justice or by CSM sanction. The new regulations rule that the appointment or revoking from leading positions of prosecutors and judges should be made only by the sections of prosecutors and judges within CSM.
“The majority opinion is that the President and the political factor, namely the Minister of Justice, should be removed from appointing prosecutors and judges, and to level the two procedures to appoint these in leading positions,” said CSM vice-president Gheorghe Muscalu.
The adoption of this legal amendment is hard to justify as the leading positions in prosecutors’ offices and justice were filled last year for three-year mandates (the High Court, the chief prosecutors). In September 2013 a new leadership was appointed at the High Court of Cassation and Justice (Liviu Stanciu as president, Ionut Matei as vice-president) and last April new chief prosecutors were appointed (Tiberiu Nitu at the General Prosecutor’s Office, Laura Codruta Kovesi at the National Anti-Corruption Department, Alina Bica at DIICOT, their deputies and the section chiefs). The issue of changing the appointment of magistrates in ruling positions was raised in May 2013. A commission no 1 was created at CSM, led by judge Mircea Aron (the commission members at that time were judge Adrian Bordea, judge  Horatiu Dumbrava, prosecutor Bogdan Gabor, prosecutor Florentina Gavadia, prosecutor Elena Hach, prosecutor Gheorghe Muscalu, judge  Alexandru Serban; guests: judge  Mona-Lisa Neagoe, judge  Marius Badea Tudose and Octavia Spineanu Matei, INM director).

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