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October 21, 2021

Scandal in Parliament after juridical committee adopts amnesty law

The draft stipulates the amnestying and pardoning of crimes for which jail sentences of up to six years and up to seven years respectively were issued. The initial periods were up to four years for amnestying and up to seven years for pardoning.

Confused murmur on the political scene after the Lower Chamber’s juridical committee issued a favourable report on Monday evening on the draft law concerning the amnestying and pardoning of some crimes, a draft initiated by MPs Madalin Voicu and Nicolae Paun. The report and the 23 amendments to it were adopted with a majority of votes, only four votes being registered against it (the votes of PNL MPs). According to juridical committee vice chairman Ciprian Nica, who presented the report in the plenary, 21 of the 27 member MPs attended the juridical commission’s meeting.
The draft law was at first rejected by the Senate last May, the Lower Chamber being the decisional body in this case. Although the final vote was expected later yesterday, the amnesty law was taken off the Lower Chamber’s order of the day. The decision was adopted at the end of talks between Lower Chamber Speaker Valeriu Zgonea, juridical commission chairman Bogdan Ciuca, the PSD MPs’ leader Marian Neacsu, and PNL MPs Florin Iordache and George Scutaru. The talks took place in the office of the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies.
Before that decision was adopted, the parliamentary groups of PNL, PDL and PPDD had announced that they will vote against the draft law, being of the opinion that it is untimely. Moreover, PNL President Crin Antonescu stated that the Liberals categorically oppose the amnesty law and he intended to ask for an open vote within the Lower Chamber. In his turn, Premier Victor Ponta told the USL MPs that amnesty should concern sentences that fall below 5 years in jail and should not include corruption cases. Thus, according to Ponta, this would consist of the amnestying of petty crimes in order to decongest the penitentiary system that is currently buckling under strain. At the same time, Judge Horatius Dumbrava, member of the Superior Magistracy Council (CSM), asked the Council’s plenary to react publicly, pointing out that the law would seriously compromise the efforts made within the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM).
What does the law stipulate?
According to the report adopted by the juridical committee on Monday evening, the amnesty is not applicable in the case of crimes such as corruption, embezzling, murder, the causing of severe bodily harm, torture, breaking out of jail, and pandering, while the pardoning of punishments of up to 6 years in jail is not applicable in the case of minors interned in reeducation centers. The draft law however stipulates that the crimes for which the Penal Code or special laws stipulate jail terms of up to 7 years or fines are amnestied.
“The amnesty removes the penal responsibility for the crime committed, in all its forms of penal involvement – author, instigator, accessory and improper involvement. If it comes after sentencing, it also removes the execution of the sentence ruled, as well as all the other consequences of the sentencing. In the cases included on Paragraph 3, the fine paid prior to the amnesty is not returned. The amnesty has no effects on the security measures and on the rights of the aggrieved person,” the draft reads. According to the draft, the crimes that fall within the aforementioned conditions are amnestied also in the case in which the punishment limit has been surpassed as a result of the application of special laws or of an aggravated form stipulated in the Penal Code or within a special law.
In what concerns the pardoning, the draft stipulates that “jail terms of up to 6 years, their complementary punishments as well as the fines issued by the court are fully pardoned.” The chapter detailing the punishments that will not be pardoned includes crimes stipulated by special laws, namely the laws that concern Romania’s national security and the laws concerning the prevention and combating of trafficking and the illegal consumption of drugs, with their subsequent modifications. “

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