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Justice Ministry concerned about rise in magistrate-related graft cases

The Justice Ministry voiced concern about a significant increase this year in the number of corruption cases that involve magistrates and lawyers, which compromises the legal system’s image and people’s confidence in the system, Justice Minister Catalin Predoiu said in a press release quoted by Agerpres. Predoiu underlined that lack of integrity and corruption can affect magistrates’ independence and called for a more direct involvement on behalf of legal system opinion leaders. “Passivity to any corruption deeds in legal professions can affect the act of justice and the system’s image. The justice system and the political system must make concrete decisions to spread out the values of altruism and integrity among Romanian society,” the minister said.


His comments came as daily ‘Adevarul’ ran yesterday a story detailing several cases of corruption involving magistrates, which ended in rather too lenient verdicts. The newspaper said most magistrates caught receiving bribes in the last couple of years were sentenced to prison with suspension of sentence. Even magistrates who were sentenced to prison were faced with very short terms, the newspaper said, giving as an example the case of former Arad Tribunal judge Ioan Lazar who was sentenced to two years in jail for a EUR 25,000 bribe, and of former Petrosani Judge Hall vice president Valentin Popescu, who was found guilty on 14 counts of corruption and was sentenced to only three years and a half in prison.

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