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September 25, 2022

Basescu praises prosecutors at Public Ministry review

Concerning appointments at Public Ministry and DNA, Head of State hints he will opt for continuity.

President Traian Basescu praised prosecutors yesterday at the Public Ministry’s 2011 review, during a meeting he attended along with Romania’s General Prosecutor Codruta Kovesi and National Anti-corruption Office (DNA), Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT), High Court’s Prosecutor’s Office, High Court, Superior Council of Magistracy and Justice Ministry representatives. The President praised the General Prosecutor’s Office’s recent years of activity, stating that this only the beginning and, although he doesn’t “look on the bright side of things and one can’t say that the successes registered in the last 2-3 years mean that corruption, tax evasion, organized crime and money laundering have been put to an end,” it “proves that those that think about making a living or growing rich through crimes can no longer sleep peacefully.” “I’ve appreciated the fact that lately even you, prosecutors, have stopped treating your colleagues or corrupt judges with kid gloves,” the Head of State said. “Romania is already at a stage in which we can say that the justice system, the prosecutors and the judges have reached a point from which the justice system’s proper functioning processes have become irreversible. Today I don’t see what politician would still think he could get on the phone to call a judge or a prosecutor,” Basescu stated, adding that there is no prosecutor that could say that Basescu ever gave “directions in a case or another.” “No, I didn’t do it, I won’t do it. (…) For the rest of my term I will encourage the justice system’s isolation from politics, isolation from the point of view of influence,” the President said. Concerning the final appointments at the helm of the Public Ministry and the DNA, the Head of State explained: “I’ve considered that it is good to temporize the appointments so that once the general prosecutor is replaced he could propose to the Justice Ministry, the Superior Council of Magistracy and the President a team with which to work, something that also goes for the DNA and the General Prosecutor’s Office. (…) I will continue to stake on continuity, just like I did in the last six years in the case of the General Prosecutor’s Office and the DNA.” Basescu reminded magistrates of the battle with the Mechanism for Cooperation and Verification, stating that “it is extremely important, also having negative effects such as the blocking of Romania’s Schengen accession.

Achievements and shortcomings

In her turn, General Prosecutor Codruta Kovesi pointed out that the Public Ministry is a brave institution because its investigations have touched areas that seemed untouchable and has investigated persons that seemed immune to the law. Kovesi denied any political influence, stating that “although prosecutors were often accused of drafting cases based on political orders, the courts’ rulings have proven that their actions were based on evidence, not on made-up crimes pinned on some persons.” Kovesi stressed her arguments, expressing her hope that the future team will enjoy the same decisional independence. According to the General Prosecutor, the Public Ministry’s priorities consist of fulfilling the MCV criteria, hiking efficiency in combating crime, recovering damages and transparency, while this year’s challenge consists of preparing the system for the implementation of the new civil and penal codes. Kovesi pointed out that the highest number of cases was solved last year, despite the fact that over 1 million cases were left unsolved and more than 1 million persons were left in uncertain judicial situations. In her opinion, a solution for lowering the number of unsolved cases would be to hike the number of prosecutors. At the same time, she pointed out that hiking the auxiliary personnel is the absolute priority. Kovesi also pointed out that last year over 1,300 tax dodgers were arraigned in court and over EUR 250 M were placed under control. That fact was praised by President Basescu too, considering that in 2010 that sum stood at just EUR 10 M.

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