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October 28, 2020

CSM apprises Judiciary Inspection about statements

The Superior Council of Magistracy (CSM) apprised the Judiciary Inspection (IJ) yesterday about public statements that “have the potential to intimidate and compromise the judiciary,” statements made by Premier Victor Ponta, MPs Varujan Vosganian and Mihai Voicu, and MEP Ramona Manescu. The aforementioned statements concern the investigations conducted by the High Court’s Prosecutor’s Office into the manner in which the July 29 referendum was organized and took place, Mediafax informs.“The notice mainly concerns the statements they made as political leaders and public opinion shapers, statements that surpass the limits of public discourse discipline, having the potential to intimidate and compromise the judiciary as a state power,” a press communiqué issued by the CSM reads.PNL MEP Ramona Manescu stated on Saturday that the Social-Liberal Union (USL) is asking CSM to take note of the allegedly illegal recordings of phone conversations between Victor Paul Dobre and Ioan Rus, pointing out that in Parliament USL will not accept the Prosecutor’s Office request concerning Dobre. On the other hand, Manescu pointed out in a press conference that Rus, as Interior Minister, was a member of the Supreme Defence Council (CSAT) and, in line with legal provisions, should have been told that his phone was being tapped. Manescu labeled the Prosecutor’s Office request “an abuse” and added that Romania has reverted “to the political trials of the 1950s.”CSM gave an answer to Ramona Manescu yesterday by pointing out that verifications into the prosecutors’ possible disciplinary infractions can be ordered at the notice of any person or at the judicial inspectors’ own initiative, CSM lacking the legal possibility of taking action “ex officio.” Manescu expressed her “disappointment” with CSM’s reaction to her statements and accused it of “ill will.” On August 9, PNL Senator Varujan Vosganian posted the following on his personal blog: “I notice things have gone over the line. A quaestor is already promptly indicted, in just two weekend days, at the clear recommendation of the suspended president. He is followed by a secretary of state, then by a minister, based on reasons nobody understands, for allegedly not taking responsibility for things everyone knows are not true. The electoral lists were taken to the Prosecutor’s Office early in the morning, without the legality of this unusual measure being clear.” On August 10, PNL MP and Vice President Mihai Voicu stated: “It seems in Romania respecting the law becomes malfeasance in office in some people’s opinion. I’m amazed by this request and unfortunately I believe it has powerful political connotations. (…) I don’t believe in the correctness of this request.”The note that the CSM sent to the Judiciary Inspection shows that Premier Ponta stated on August 9: “As a former prosecutor I call on my former colleagues to avoid ridiculous situations as much as possible. To me it didn’t seem funny at all, although it probably is, to see that Mr. Mazare’s top models are being investigated. I believe this country’s prosecutors should apprehend criminals, rapists, should investigate corrupt people, thieves.” Likewise, a letter that the Premier’s office sent to all foreign embassies in Bucharest mentions “the abuses against Romanian citizens that took part in the referendum,” claiming that the hearings “can be interpreted as intimidating all Romanian citizens that voted at the referendum,” the CSM President points out in the note. Likewise, in the context of press articles and television broadcasts, general statements about the activity of prosecutor’s offices, by improperly associating terms, namely the names of politicians and previous cases covered by the media, “induce the idea of political involvement in the judiciary, particularly in the prosecutors’ activity, being suggested that the judiciary as a whole is not foreign to political influences,” the aforementioned document shows.“All these aspects put into question both the magistrates’ independence and the independence of the judiciary system as a whole, outlining the image of a judiciary that does not live up to European standards and that answers to political orders. At the same time, contrary to the Romanian Constitution and by ignoring the fundamental principles of the rule of law, the attempt is made, through various assertions, to induce the idea that not all citizens can be equal before the law, namely before prosecution procedures,” the CSM President pointed out.

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