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May 23, 2022

Ex justice minister accused of violating human rights with ANI law

Constitutional Court explains why it declared parts of the Integrity Agency’s unconstitutional.

Former Justice Minister Monica Macovei is to be blamed for imposing the National Integrity Agency (ANI) law, which violates fundamental human rights, Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania (UDMR) Senator Gyorgy Frunda said yesterday. In a meeting of Senate’s Permanent Bureau, the senator said that neither Parliament nor government can do anything to solve ANI’s situation until the Constitutional Court officially explains its recent ruling that several provisions in the agency’s law are unconstitutional.

The ruling, handed out last week, practically stripped ANI, an institution in charge of checking state officials’ wealth, of most of its powers. The issue was also discussed by President Traian Basescu with government members he summoned for consultations earlier this week. ANI was seen as a key institution in the government’s efforts to fight high-level corruption in view of escaping European Commission monitoring on legal system reform.

Frunda also said yesterday that he drew attention on some unconstitutional aspects in ANI’s organisation law from the very beginning. “It’s true that the project was not imposed by the European Union, but proposed by former minister Macovei. And when we got into this, we were criticised because provisions of the law go way beyond European requirements and violate human rights,” the lawmaker said.

Later yesterday, the Constitutional Court made public the reasons why it ruled part of ANI’s law unconstitutional. Among other issues, the court said provisions making publication of wealth and interest statements mandatory were violating the right to one’s privacy. The court said that the ANI law as a whole was incoherent and underlined that a government emergency ordinance amending the law later on made things even worse, as it affected citizens’ rights and freedoms.

Last but not least, the court dismissed press speculation that the ruling was triggered by the fact ANI was checking the wealth of seven of its magistrates. No court member was ever notified of being investigated and ANI did not ask for any documents in this respect, the court said.

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