The Ministry of Justice (MJ) on Friday published the list of candidates for the offices of Prosecutor General and Chief Prosecutor of the National Anti-Corruption Directorate (DNA). Among the 11 shortlisted are Codruta Kovesi, Tiberiu Nitu and Claudiu Dumitrescu, Dan Voinea’s candidacy for prosecutor general having been rejected. According to the shortlist, the candidates for the position of prosecutor general of the Prosecutor’s Office of the High Court of Cassation and Justice are: military magistrate Gheorghe Cornescu, Elena Hach, Gheorghe Mota, Tiberiu Nitu, former first deputy to Prosecutor General Codruta Kovesi, Constantin Sima and Viorica Stoica. Sima and Stoica are also in the competition for DNA chief-prosecutor. The candidates for head of DNA are: Claudiu Dumitrescu, seconded as head of the Anti-Fraud Department (DLAF), Codruta Kovesi, seconded to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MAE), Vasile Ionita, Ioan Irimie and Paula Tanase.Dan Voinea’s candidacy for the position of prosecutor general was declined because he is no longer a prosecutor. Voinea retired a few years ago, when the Superior Magistracy Council (CSM) had started an investigation against him about the manner in which he had dealt with the revolution and miners’ riots cases. The 11 candidates will have interviews in the October 23-25 period and the results will be published at the Ministry of Justice and on its web site on November 1. Codruta Kovesi has been delegated to work for MAE at the request made by the Ministry of Justice to appoint her minister-counsellor, High Representative of the Ministry of Justice for liaison with the European Commission on fulfilment of conditions set forth by the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM) on the reform of the judicial system and anti-corruption fight at the Permanent Representation of Romania at the European Union. Kovesi is expected to say whether or not she is still in the race, given her recent appointment to Brussels. Tiberiu Nitu – appointed in September 2011 as inspector at the Judicial Inspection of the Superior Magistracy Council for the Muntenia-Oltenia-Dobrogea regions – was first deputy to the Prosecutor General of Romania from June 27 2008 to June 27, 2011, having previously served in the same position under a delegation for a period of ten months. Claudiu Dumitrescu has been seconded from DNA to the leadership of DLAF since August 2010. Before being seconded to head the Anti-Fraud Department, Claudiu Dumitrescu was the chief of the Service Combating Corruption against the Financial Interests of the European Union in DNA Unit I for Combating Corruption. Dumitrescu has worked as a prosecutor in Campina, then he became lead-prosecutor in Sinaia, and in 2003 became a prosecutor serving at the National Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office that in the meantime became a directorate. At the same time, CSM Vice President Oana Schimdt-Haineala said on B1TV Wednesday night that the secondment of ex-Prosecutor General Laura Codruta Kovesi to the Foreign Ministry ‘was not a problem’ for her candidacy to become chief of DNA, because, if successful, she could still be seconded to Brussels and DNA could be headed by someone else delegated by her.
Ponta wants prosecutor’s offices and CSM under Parliament control
Prime Minister Victor Ponta wants the prosecutor’s offices and the Superior Magistracy Council (CSM) to be subject to Parliament scrutiny, having the same regime as the intelligence services. In his opinion, that would be a safeguard that those institutions are not used in the political battle. The Romanian Constitution clearly stipulates that the three powers of the state are equal. Thursday and Friday, in Bratislava, PM attended a meeting of prime ministers of the EU countries that are members of the ‘Friends of Cohesion’ Group, on the theme of EU funds. ‘We are talking of a system where intelligence services should be under transparent parliamentary control in matters of budget and operation’, the PM noted at the press conference after the meeting, according to Mediafax. He stressed that he had no reproaches to make to the incumbent heads of SRI and SIE, but that the system had to be regulated. According to the PM, the current legislation says an intelligence chief may be replaced at the president’s proposal, by the vote of the Parliament. ‘The same should also apply to prosecutor’s offices, the control of CSM and our security that all those institutions a modern state needs are never used in the political battle’, Ponta added. According to Mediafax, in the context of the PM’s proposal to move CSM and prosecutor’s office under Parliament control, PDL President Vasile Blaga said on Saturday that Victor Ponta should quit as head of the Government and USL should appoint a responsible prime minister. ‘If he was a man, he would go. You cannot declare that the Parliament should control the prosecutor’s offices and CSM’, Blaga said.The PM explained in an interview granted to Luju.ro why the parliamentary overseeing of prosecutors is needed. Ponta said communications interceptions in politically orchestrated criminal cases were grievous abuses and violations of fundamental rights and freedoms laid down by the Constitution. ‘Categorically, there is grievous abuse and violation of fundamental rights and freedoms laid down by the Constitution. We see an absolutely condemnable lack of action from CSM in that respect. The otherwise benign conversations of the prime minister are leaked to the press and they have no opinion whatsoever. I doubt that it would have ended the same way if Mrs. Merkel or Mr. Hollande’s conversations had been published by the mass media! At the same time, we had over 100 of interceptions in a political case, for voting is a political mechanism, which was a political operation. Anyone of us can say what we like on the phone. We can say we are voting for Ponta, Basescu or Antonescu. Putting a person’s telephone calls under surveillance over such considerations is evidently political investigation. It will take us years to go back to a European standard after the police-state has grown so much and individual freedoms have been so much restricted in Romania’, the prime minister told Luju.ro.
Antonescu slams Ponta for giving in to Brussels pressures
PNL President Crin Antonescu criticized Premier Victor Ponta on Saturday evening during a TV show, regretting that he is obeying orders from Brussels and from Viviane Reding in what concerns the appointment of prosecutors and that is inadmissible. “The idea that we have two governors in Romania – one appointed by Mr. Barroso and Mr. Barroso himself – is unbearable. And when you hear that Barroso supported Romania… But this idea is not Mr. Barroso’s fault; it stems from Basescu’s behaviour, because that’s why he is so loved. “Do you want fiscal treaty?” Everybody negotiated something, we said “let’s do it.” “Banking union?” “Ready!” “Is Mrs. Reding the one to decide who the prosecutor general should be?” “Ready.” We have to win the elections here and that is why we’re fighting to take Romania to a direction for at least four years. But to do that we need goals, what say do we have in Romania’s energy policy among others, we shouldn’t go there to be reprimanded, now Mrs. Day is doing it. Ponta has understood this, but he is in a delicate position. He is doing well up to a point,” Crin Antonescu added, quoted by ziare.com. The Speaker of the Senate also stated that he is trying “very hard” to understand the Prime Minister and to avoid “making his life difficult” but nevertheless he cannot agree with the Justice Minister’s and Victor Ponta’s decision to send Laura Codruta Kovesi to Brussels. “I’m trying very hard to help Mr. Ponta because he is in a difficult situation. In other words I don’t want to make his life difficult. Honestly however I can’t understand the following thing: since I very clearly said that from our point of view prosecutor general Kovesi acted politically biased, at least during this period after the referendum, I can’t agree with the decision taken,” Antonescu said.Antonescu pointed out he cannot do anything in this situation because the Justice Minister has already taken a decision, but nevertheless he cannot agree with that decision. He added that in his opinion “the probability that Mrs. Kovesi will be head of the DNA is very high”. Antonescu said that Traian Basescu’s idea of replacing the head of the DNA with the head of the General Attorney’s Office and vice versa can only lead to comparisons with what is going on in Moscow, referring to the Putin-Medvedev switch. At the same time, Antonescu added that Romanian intelligence services are playing “an increasingly powerful, hypertrophied, political and economic role.” He blamed this phenomenon on the lack of “sufficient will” from politicians and from those that should ensure democratic control. Antonescu added that he has reserves in what concerns the intelligence services and their heads because certain doubts are yet to be shattered. “While I was interim president I couldn’t form an idea on whether the services are obedient to the president or not, but it’s very clear that for the past 20 years in Romania there hasn’t been sufficient will on the part of the politicians, on the part of those who led, to always know and to always democratically control what these services are doing and on the other hand in these conditions they played and are playing an increasingly powerful, hypertrophied, political and economic role. I have reserves towards the services and their bosses,” Antonescu stated.PNL President Crin Antonescu added that “the idea of impartiality and ruthless attack against all political directions” from the High Court’s Prosecutor’s Office and the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) is “false” and that “nobody from Basescu’s entourage and from PDL’s inner circle was bothered during the Kovesi-Morar terms in office.”