Despite the insistent requests made by Justice Minister Predoiu and the Court of Appeals magistrates, the Senate’s Juridical Commission rejected their re-validation.
Senate in the crosshairs. The Speaker of the Senate and the Senate’s Permanent Bureau were “bombarded” yesterday by requests to initiate the procedures needed in order to validate the 8 magistrates that were legally elected members of the Superior Council of Magistracy (CSM) at the end of last year. A request in this regard came from Justice Minister Catalin Predoiu. “Validating the eight magistrates who were elected members of CSM in conformity with the law represents, in light of the decision taken by the Constitutional Court on January 25, the only legal option, taking into account Article 147 of the Constitution, an article that stipulates the compulsory nature of Constitutional Court decisions. Any other solutions would run counter to the Constitution,” Predoiu stated, being quoted by Mediafax. According to the Minister, validating the eight members of CSM would allow the institution to return to normal and would eliminate any uncertainty concerning the way Justice system affairs are led. According to him, a delay would undermine confidence in CSM’s institutional stability, would fuel the idea that its activity was blocked out of political interests and would create the premises of functional gridlock, such as in the case of approving measures demanded by the prosecutor or appointing new judges within the High Court. “We are aware of the fact that postponing sine die the validation of the legally elected magistrates, until a regular court decides to admit the appeal that a non-eligible candidate filed after the Constitutional Court’s decision, or invalidating the whole list is being discussed. Such a situation would lead to a contradiction between the regular court’s and the Constitutional Court’s decisions, thus creating a pretext to have the Court’s decision ignored. It’s our duty to point out the fact that such a scenario would have negative effects on our credibility as a EU member state in view of the responsibilities we took in reforming the Justice system,” Predoiu underlined.
A similar position was adopted by the presidents of the Courts of Appeal and the general prosecutors of Prosecutor’s Offices under the authority of Bucharest Courts of Appeal. The latter called on the Senate, in an open letter, to urgently take the measures needed to validate, as soon as possible, the make-up of CSM, so the institution will be able to resume its activity, stalled since February 4, 2011. “The situation created has a major impact on the judiciary, in all respects, starting from administrative aspects to those related to the system’s image and credibility,” the magistrates who signed the letter argue. In turn, the representatives of the ruling coalition called, in the voice of the deputy secretary general of the Democratic Liberal Party (PDL), Gheorghe Flutur, on their colleagues in the opposition, to accelerate procedures to validate the CSM magistrates.
CSM President Horatiu Dumbrava yesterday reproached the three magistrates who had been invalidated by the CSM that “they did not realize the deadlock justice might reach” despite having been sent signals in this respect. “The Constitutional Court decision was quite clear, only the fairly and legally elected get validated. Under the CCR ruling, the three, I’m sorry to say, remain invalidated as they don’t observe the law and the Constitution,” Dumbrava said, adding that the Senate too should have abided by the CCR decision on the case.
PONTA: USL WILL VOTE AGAINST POLITICAL INTERFERENCE IN THE JUDICIARY
In the opposing camp, the co-president of the Social Liberal Union (USL), Victor Ponta, claims the Union’s MPs will vote, in the Senate, against political interference in the judiciary, arguing that the judges and prosecutors elected their peers and it is not within the Parliament’s prerogatives to assess their capacities. According to Ponta, the fact that the parliamentary majority in the Senate will vote to change the judges’ and prosecutors’ decision in the CSM case amounts to extending Traian Basescu’s and PDL’s control over the “latest bastion they had not taken”, that is, the judiciary.
A SOLUTION TO CSM SITUATION LEFT TO THE RULING COALITION
The majority of the members of the Senate’s Legal Committee rejected, yesterday, the proposal made by the coalition senators, that the CSM decision be adapted to the CC ruling by “revalidating” only eight of the 11 candidates. The opposition senators included, instead, in the report to be forwarded to the assembly at the beginning of next week, a recommendation that the president Traian Basescu should become involved as a mediator in the resolution of this institutional conflict. “There is no legal and fully constitutional way to get out of this institutional crisis. (…) Either the 11 are considered members of CSM or elections should be organized at the levels where those declared incompatible by the Court are to be found. We cannot operate with double standards,” the chairman of the Legal Committee, Toni Grebla (Social Democratic Party – PSD), stated. The responsibility for solving this situation lies now with the ruling coalition, Grebla added.