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January 26, 2023

Ponta changes his mind about amending Criminal Code : Gov’t adopts emergency ordinance on judicial control

Prime Minister Victor Ponta has changed his mind about amending the Criminal Code, the Constitutional Court (CCR)  having declared the judicial control non-constitutional, as the law does not stipulate a maximum term for the measure, the Code now needs to be amended.

The PM announced at the beginning of the Cabinet Meeting on Wednesday that the Government would adopt an emergency ordinance to amend the provisions on judicial control CCR had ruled non-constitutional.

‘Minister Cazanciuc has presented the draft as an emergency ordinance, before the Parliamentary recess, on changing the Code of Criminal Procedure following the CCR decision on judicial control. We are adopting it today, it will enter into effect and there won’t be any problem at all’, Agerpres quotes Victor Ponta as having said.

Justice Minister Robert Cazanciuc (photo R)  in turn explained that the option of an emergency ordinance was the solution agreed on with Superior Council of Magistracy (CSM), High Court of Cassation and Justice (ICCJ) and Public Ministry.

‘Following the meeting we had with the CSM, High Court and Public Ministry yesterday, we came to the conclusion that the solution would be an emergency ordinance. This morning we also received the go-ahead from the CSM, this is perfectly legal’, Robert Cazanciuc explained.

On Tuesday, after talks with the Minister of Justice and with officials of the U.S. Embassy, Ponta said the Criminal Code would be amended by law in Parliament. On Wednesday, before the Cabinet Meeting, however, the premier said he had changed his mind: the Criminal Code will be changed by emergency ordinance. In this way, the Government meets a requirement of National Anti-corruption Directorate (DNA) Chief Prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi.

The talks between the U.S. charge d’affaires Dean Thompson and the Minister of Justice happened in the context where the Constitutional Court ruled last Thursday that the sections of the Code of Criminal Procedure which regulate the enforcement of judicial control and judicial control on bail are against the Constitution, as they restrict individual freedom, free movement and private life. The National Anti-corruption Department pointed out that an emergency ordinance was needed to bring changes that should enter into force before the decision of the Constitutional Court is published in the Official Journal.

The plenary meeting of the Constitutional Court found that, although the new Code of Criminal Procedure includes the judicial control and the judicial control on bail among the preventive measures, it does not also sets a maximum term for the enforcement of the measures.

The CCR judges agreed with a majority that sections 2011-217 of the Code of Criminal Procedure which regulates the preventive measures of judicial control and judicial control on bail are not constitutional.





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