Public Ministry prosecutors reject “en masse” the draft judiciary laws modified in Parliament, the Prosecutor’s Office attached to the High Court of Cassation and Justice pointing out, among other things, that the bills are not based on an impact study.
Public Ministry prosecutors pointed out on Wednesday that the bills of the Lower House, forwarded to the Supreme Magistracy Council, are not based on an impact study and the prior consultation of magistrates, feature non-correlations and deficiencies, and do not induce predictability and stability within the judicial system.
“It has to be pointed out that these bills, instead of proposing point-by-point modifications, are making additions to the law, with the consequence of radical changes to the architecture of the judicial system. Bearing in mind the special importance of these bills, prosecutors deem that the debating of these bills under regular procedure (not under emergency procedure) is imperiously called for in order to have the necessary time to receive the Supreme Magistracy Council’s report following a thorough analysis and the consultation of all judicial institutions,” the Prosecutor’s Office attached to the High Court of Cassation and Justice points out in a communique remitted to Mediafax on Wednesday.
According to the Prosecutor General’s Office, the Lower House bills will negatively influence the career and professional activity of judges and prosecutors and will generate imbalances in the functioning of courts and prosecutor’s offices.
Prosecutors state that the setting up of the Directorate for the Investigation of Crimes Committed by Judges and Prosecutors, as part of the Prosecutor’s Office attached to the High Court of Cassation and Justice, is unjustified.
“The setting up of this directorate creates the false impression that at the level of this socio-professional category there is a criminal phenomenon of such extent as to justify treating magistrates differently in case they break the penal legislation (in 2015, 16 magistrates were indicted; in 2016, 18 magistrates; in 2017, 5 magistrates),” the Prosecutor’s Office attached to the High Court of Cassation and Justice points out.
The Prosecutor General’s Office also criticises the method of appointing the chief prosecutors. Thus, “the Justice Minister’s prerogative of nominating the Prosecutor General of the Prosecutor’s Office attached to the High Court of Cassation and Justice, his First Deputy and Deputy, the Chief Prosecutors of the National Anticorruption Directorate, the Directorate for the Investigation of Organised Crime and Terrorism and the Directorate for the Investigation of Crimes Committed by Judges and Prosecutors, as well as the said structures’ chiefs of sections, on one hand politicises the judiciary – given the fact that the Justice Minister nominates persons in the top offices of the Public Ministry – and, on the other hand, deprives of content the Prosecutor General’s possibility of forming his own managerial plan, namely it prevents him from nominating his subordinated chief prosecutors with which to appropriately form a working team,” the communique reads.
The Prosecutor’s Office attached to the High Court of Cassation and Justice shows that the proposed nomination procedure also contravenes the European Commission’s recommendations expressed as part of the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism.
Finally, the prosecutors point out, the bills drafted by the Lower House are eluding the negative vote of the Supreme Magistracy Council, of the corps of magistrates and of civil society, as well as the entire legislative process of amending the judiciary laws, process started by the Justice Ministry, considering that the standards of efficiency and transparency are not observed.
The Supreme Magistracy Council could issue, on Thursday, a non-binding report on the bill amending the judiciary laws, a bill substantially modified in Parliament compared to the form initially transmitted by the Justice Ministry.
DNA: We ask for a negative report. There are no impact studies
The National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) claims that the bill amending the judiciary laws should receive a negative report from the Supreme Magistracy Council (CSM), considering that a prior consultation of magistrates did not occur, a proper substantiation of reasons is lacking, and no impact studies were carried out.
Considering the bills amending and supplementing the judiciary laws, bills tabled within the Lower House, DNA prosecutors drafted a point of view and lodged it with the Supreme Magistracy Council (CSM).
“Concerning the way the bill was drafted – without consulting the magistrates beforehand, without an appropriate substantiation of reasons and without impact studies –, anticorruption prosecutors mainly consider that a firm position of rejecting the bills en masse is called for, via the issuance of a negative report on the whole legislative package,” reads a DNA communique.
Referring to the same subject, the Directorate for the Investigation of Organised Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT) also stated that, following the general assembly of DIICOT prosecutors, most DIICOT prosecutors are against the recently proposed amendments to the judiciary laws.
“The General Assembly of Directorate for the Investigation of Organised Crime and Terrorism prosecutors took place on Tuesday, the vote showing that most prosecutors are against the amendments proposed via the bills transmitted by the Supreme Magistracy Council. Both during the prior process of consultation and within the General Assembly, numerous opinions were expressed on the meaning of the proposed amendments to the judiciary laws and on the urgent method of legislation promoted,” DIICOT informs.
The DIICOT points out that the arguments on which the vote was based are: the absence of a consistent substantiation report liable to support the proposed essential amendments; the incoherence of the process of debate and professional consultation of magistrates in regard to the framework norms that regulate their activity; the successive waves of consultations initiated in the last two years by various political decision-making factors have generated a perception of precarity of the process of legislative modernisation of the judicial system, which thus seems based on non-integrated and inconsistent visions and on unclear objectives; failure to align the proposed amendments to the exigencies of contemporary European standards, as they stem from the key-documents of relevant international bodies, exigencies that first of all concern the guarantees of independence of the judiciary in relation to political or other type of factors.
Last week, the PSD-ALDE ruling coalition presented three bills modifying the CSM Law, the law on judiciary organisation and the statute of judges and prosecutors.
According to the judiciary laws proposed by PSD-ALDE, the Romanian President should be involved in the procedure of appointing the chief prosecutors but not in the procedure of dismissing them from office. At the same time, a directorate for the investigation of magistrates would be set up and placed under the authority of the Prosecutor General’s Office.
The Judicial Inspection would be subordinated to the National Council for the Integrity of Judges, Prosecutors, Judicial Inspection and the Statute of Judicial Inspectors, a new body that would be set up.
Justice Ministry: In meeting with Timmermans, Toader presented the developments in what concerns the amendment of the judiciary laws
On Tuesday, Justice Minister Tudorel Toader met European Commission First Vice President Frans Timmermans, to whom he presented “the stage of the internal procedure and the developments in what concerns the amending of the judiciary laws,” according to the Justice Ministry.
“The two officials exchanged opinions about the stage of meeting the recommendations of the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM). The Justice Minister presented in detail the stage of the internal procedure and the developments in what concerns the amending of the judiciary laws: law no.303/2004 on the statute of judges and prosecutors; law no.304/2004 on the organisation of the judiciary; law no.317/2004 on the organisation and functioning of the Supreme Magistracy Council,” reads the Justice Ministry communique posted on the ministry’s website.
The meeting took place against the backdrop of constant dialogue with the European Commission, and was attended by Paraskevi Michou, Deputy Secretary General of the European Commission in charge of the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM).