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May 20, 2022

President urges judges to deal with high-level corruption cases

In a press statement at Cotroceni Palace yesterday, President Traian Basescu voiced appreciation for the interim justice progress report issued by the European Commission last week, saying that the document objectively reflects recent developments in Romanian authorities’ efforts to reform the legal system and fight corruption.

The head of state detailed the negative aspects included in the document, saying that one of the main conclusions is that “high-level corruption cases are not yet moving ahead.” More specifically, Basescu referred to the absence of court sentences in corruption cases, underlining that the High Court shares major responsibility in this matter.

“Inefficiency, lack of progress in judging high-level corruption cases will be a very important element if it continues to manifest itself until the annual report due this summer. A possible failure to assure progress in high-level corruption cases will certainly lead to a negative report,” the president underlined, calling on all magistrates and authorities to step up their efforts. Basescu also said the report negatively mentions Parliament’s attitude to corruption cases involving lawmakers, in reference to MPs’ recent votes to prevent more thorough inquiries against Democrat Liberals Monica Iacob-Ridzi and Dan Pasat. The head of state underlined that when he asked MPs to give a vote that would help the investigations, he did not do it for the sake of personal interest, but for national interest.

Furthermore, the president also mentioned the elections of a new Superior Council of Magistracy (CSM), which the EC report praised but also made note of the fact four of the new members of the Council saw their mandates revoked by the Constitutional Court because they were ineligible. In the context, the head of state said the CSM election proved that some judges “continue to think they are above the law” and slammed magistrates for sometimes “brutally interfering in the executive power.”

Last but not least, the president criticised “discrediting campaigns” led by some media trusts against state institutions. “It’s a pity, because these actions require a lot of effort and state institutions want to prove that Romanians can have confidence in them. What good do these discrediting campaigns do?” Basescu wondered.

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