In an open letter to diplomatic representatives of the US, EU and European Commission
In an open letter on Friday, Prime Minister Victor Ponta called on the diplomatic representatives of the US, the European Commission and the member states of the European Union to step in and publicly voice support for Romania’s Supreme Council of Magistrates (CSM), which he argues was directly targeted by President Basescu’s recent statements.
‘I am sending you this letter out of my wish to highlight how serious yesterday’s attack of President Traian Basescu at justice independence was, and to call on you to step in and publicly express support for the Supreme Council of Magistrates, which was directly targeted by the head of state in his statements of yesterday,’ Ponta says in his letter.
He argued that Thursday, at his press conference, President Basescu “made threats against a CSM member magistrate, used derogatory words and criticized in harsh terms the activity of the magistrates who, according to the law, are required to see to the proper functioning of Justice.”
Ponta also includes in the letter Mr. Traian Basescu’s incriminating statements: ‘It seems that there are magistrates who want to do politics at all costs and get to do politics worse that politicians do. I understand that there is a Mr Magistrate claiming that I have affected justice by leaking information from a case file. That Mr Magistrate lies! If there is any CSM magistrate wanting to do politics he or she should start up in politics fairly and leave the magistracy aside. Such untrue attitudes only discredit the institution. I could not get past this incident, which I call unfortunate, and my wish is: if there are CSM members or judges who want to do politics, let them start up in politics!’
“That is an extremely serious fact that endangers the smooth operation of the judiciary of late and calls into question its independence. The Supreme Council of Magistrates had previously asked for the verification of information publicly disclosed by the President on an important court case [the Microsoft case]”, reads the letter sent by Ponta to foreign diplomats.
‘Given all this, I am kindly asking you to analyse the statements in question and send a public message of support for CSM independence and justice independence overall. The Supreme Council of Magistrates is the institution empowered by the Constitution to secure the smooth operation of justice, and such unprecedented attacks surely endanger justice independence and efficiency,’ the letter says.
While on a working visit to the Republic of Moldova on Friday, Ponta pointed out that justice must be independent and enjoy protection from the politicians when it does its job properly, whereas when politicians make a faux pas in their statements about justice they must be sanctioned.
“The judiciary must be independent, when it does its job properly, justice must be protected by politicians. And the role of our partners, both the US and the EU, is precisely that of supporting an independent and effective justice. And when they make a mistake, politicians must be sanctioned. I blundered myself some time ago and was promptly admonished. Yesterday, the President of the country was seriously in the wrong by attacking judges. I believe he will be cautioned,” the Prime Minister said when asked about the reasons behind the letter he sent to the diplomatic representatives of the US, the European Commission and EU member states.
US Embassy: The independence of justice, free of any influence, vital in any democracy
The Embassy of The United States of America announced having been notified about the signals issued by the Supreme Council of Magistrates (CSM) regarding politicians’ statements related to the activity of magistrates and points out that the officials’ comments on ongoing cases are inappropriate.
The diplomatic mission made this announcement after PM Victor Ponta sent diplomatic representatives of the US, the European Commission and all EU member states a letter demanding them to analyse the statements made on Thursday by President Traian Basescu.
“The Embassy was notified about the CSM press release of October 7 “regarding certain statements on the Lukoil file, presently pursued by the Prosecutors’ Office of the Appeal Court in Ploiesti” and the press release of October 9 “regarding the position of the Supreme Council of Magistrates to the public statements made by politicians, referring to the activity of prosecutors and judges. The comments made by officials on ongoing cases are inappropriate and may create the appearance, intended or not, of an interference. The independence of justice, its freedom of any influence exercised by an outside factor, is vital in any democracy”, the Press Bureau of the US Embassy declared at the request of Mediafax.
CSM: “Politicians should be considerate in their campaign on the topic of justice”
The Vice-President of the Supreme Council of Magistrates (CSM), prosecutor Gheorghe Muscalu declared on Thursday evening that the institution is calling out to all politicians involved in the present electoral campaign to be “considerate” in their discussions reaching the topic of justice and to stop “unfounded” attacking of magistrates.
“We decided in the plenum to issue an extremely clear message to politicians and public persons, inviting them to be genuinely reserved in discussing the topic of justice, in attacking or discussing verdicts, in unfounded attacking of magistrates”, Muscalu announced on Thursday after the plenum meeting of CSM, held on the same day.
On the same occasion, the Vice-President of the Council outlined that the members of CSM have attempted lately to send a clear message to politicians involved in electoral campaign. “Lately, we tried to promote an extremely clear message in the public space, regarding the present context of the electoral campaign, as well as previous circumstances, regarding preparations of the electoral campaign. Therefore, we invite politicians and public persons who make statements that reach public space in various manners to be reserved in using justice or concrete topics related to justice as part of their electoral campaign”, Muscalu outlined.