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March 21, 2023

CSM – investigations into cases at Bucharest Tribunal

The prime Deputy Prosecutor General of Romania, Daniel Morar, says the Judicial Inspection should check other courts as well, not just the Bucharest Tribunal.

The leadership of the Superior Council of Magistracy (CSM) yesterday asked the Judicial Inspection to check whether the legal requirements on the randomised allocation of cases had been observed at the Bucharest Tribunal, following suspicions of a possible manipulation of the automatic workload allocation system. ‘The CSM leadership has brought to the attention of the Judicial Inspection possible disciplinary violations occurring at the Bucharest Tribunal in connection with the randomised case allocation,’ a CSM press release reads.

CSM has decided to take action following information surfacing in the case where judges Antonela Costache and Viorica Dinu had been arrested for influence peddling and bribery. Sorin Vasilescu, an archive clerk at the same court, lawyers and other people were arrested in the same case on suspicion of having contacted the two judges, asking that certain cases be allocated to specific magistrates, as well as intervening for favourable settlements of various cases pending in the Bucharest Tribunal and Bucharest Court of Appeal, in exchange for high sums of money. Realitatea TV says the prosecutors had the two judges audio-taped while they were in a Tribunal lift. The transcripts of their conversation show that one of the court clerks had manipulated the computer system in order for the cases of Dinel Nutu (former Staicu) to be allocated to specific panels of magistrates who had been paid off in order to release him.

CSM President Oana Schmidt Haineala (photo) told Realitatea Tv that she had decided to ask CSM members to sanction the tasking of the Judicial Inspection with checks to determine if any other similar manipulations had happened there. ‘Such checks may not be performed without a vote’, said the CSM president, adding that the verification would also prevent similar situations in the future. Laura Stefan (Expert Forum) said on Realitatea TV that the criminal file of the two arrested judges showed very clearly that the randomised case allocation system can be manipulated in a number of ways, some of which possible because of flaws in the IT system itself, some others because of the ill faith of people operating it. Laura Andrei, President of the Bucharest Tribunal, said on Digi24 Tv that it was ‘a routine check’.‘CSM checks the randomised allocation system every year’, she said, adding that, after the scandal with the two arrested judges, it was predictable that CSM would do an inspection. 

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