UN expert says new judicial codes should be postponed

An independent United Nations human rights expert on Tuesday called on the Romanian government to ensure that key conditions are in place before proceeding with major judicial reforms slated for later this year, according to a press release on the UN website. Gabriela Knaul, the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, asked the government to consider postponing the enactment of four new criminal and civil laws for at least a year, stressing the need for “cautious reflection” in such a complex process.

“A reform that truly aims to generate positive changes should foresee prior assessments, clear benchmarks and indicators of achievement and broad consultations with all parties involved,” she stated at the end of her six-day mission to Romania. Knaul said several key conditions should be in place before the four new codes are adopted. They include ensuring adequate financial and human resources for the prosecution service and the courts to assume their new functions. In addition, the general public needs to be informed on the legal changes that are to be introduced and the expected results on the ground, while judicial officials need training on the new reform and its implications.

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