European Commission spokesperson Mark Gray said that the procedure of nominating the attorney general and the chief prosecutor of the National Anticorruption Directorate will also be mentioned in the report.
The Superior Magistracy Council (CSM) row has come to the attention of European officials. European Commission spokesperson Mark Gray said yesterday that it is expected for the CSM conflict to be reflected in the Mechanism of Cooperation and Verification (MCV) report that will be presented by the end of this month. “We are aware of the problem at the CSM, but I cannot comment on precise issues. I believe it is expected for this issue to be covered by the MCV report,” Gray stated yesterday, being quoted by Mediafax. He added however that the report will focus more on the progress that Romania has made in the last six months when it comes to the judiciary and to the fulfilling of the 11 political commitments taken by Premier Victor Ponta, commitments mentioned in the previous MCV report on July 18, 2012. “The procedure of nominating the attorney general and the chief prosecutor of the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) will also be mentioned in the report. We won’t comment on the names forwarded, we will comment on the procedure,” the EC’s spokesperson stated. According to official sources, the MCV report on the Romanian judiciary will be published on January 30. CSM’s section for judges announced early this week that the procedure of electing the CSM’s current leadership violated legal provisions, “and the solution for overcoming the unprecedented crisis caused by the January 4 elections is the resignation of prosecutor Oana Schmidt Haineala, who was elected head of the Council.” According to international standards, the president of a judiciary council should be a judge, taking into account the guarantees of absolute independence it enjoys, the CSM’s section for judges stated, invoking note number 10 (2007) issued by the Consultative Council of European Judges.
Delay in case concerning the cancellation of Daniel Morar’s right to vote within CSM
On the other hand, lumeajustitiei.ro website points out the “suspicious game” allegedly played by Judge Diana Bulancea, from the legal section of the Bucharest Court of Appeals, in the case in which the Association of Romanian Magistrates (AMR) is asking for the cancellation of the CSM decision that made Daniel Morar (former head of the National Anticorruption Directorate) a full member of the Council. According to the aforementioned source, the judge filed a request for abstention on January 14, the very day the case was about to be judged, although the case dated back from October last year. As a consequence, the case was postponed for January 28, 2013. “Here we are clearly talking about the desire to delay this case!” AMR lawyer Eugenia Crangariu stated. Lumeajustitiei.ro asked for CSM’s Judicial Inspection to take note and to verify the way in which Diana Bulancea tried to delay AMR’s legal case against Daniel Morar’s CSM membership, claiming that the judge had plenty of time to file her abstention request since October 2012. Moreover, lumeajustitiei.ro representatives claim that the abstention request could have been settled that very day and another judge could have judged the case instead of another deadline being given. The same source added that according to Judge Diana Bulancea’s statement on juridical, investigative and criminal prosecution offices held by relatives, her husband is Marius Bogdan Bulancea, prosecutor at the High Court of Justice’s Prosecutor’s Office. At the time the statement was signed (June 15, 2010), prosecutor Bulancea was the aide of Attorney General Codruta Kovesi. As a consequence, the Judicial Inspection has the duty to verify the belatedness of Judge Bulancea’s statement of abstention in the case in which AMR is trying to prove that Danie Morar, the current boss of the judge’s husband, does not have the constitutional right to be a CSM member that has the right to vote. Meanwhile, the process of recalls continues in the country, magistrates form the Alba Iulia Court of Appeals deciding yesterday to recall judge Alina Ghica from the CSM, arguing that her behavior lacked transparency last year and seriously affected the Council’s image. Judges and prosecutors should pay when they make mistakes, Ponta saysPremier Victor Ponta stated on Tuesday evening during a talk-show that judges and prosecutors should pay when they make mistakes because there were numerous cases in which court rulings “contradicted each other” and people placed under arrest later had to be paid damages on the basis of European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) rulings. “Judges are independent and they should remain independent, prosecutors are not but they should be independent, but they have to pay when they make mistakes,” Ponta stated on Realitatea TV. Moreover, the Premier also said that no judiciary reform has taken place so far.