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February 7, 2023

CSM: President Basescu’s statements have affected the independence of the judiciary as a whole

The Superior Council of Magistracy (CSM) on Wednesday ruled that President Traian Basescu’s public statements during a televised show on September 9 are likely to have affected the independence of the judiciary as a whole.

The CSM plenum upheld as grounded the request to defend the independence of the judiciary against President Basescu’s public statements made during the show “Under Question”, aired by the B1 TV channel on September 9, and which were subsequently cited by mass media.

“During the aforementioned show, Mr. Traian Basescu said that ‘the decisions made by the prosecutors have been under the control of an important journalist’. He also voiced various opinions on justice, the prosecutors’ appointment in office, the involvement of the political and executive power in the enforcement of justice, as well as on the need to cleanse the system of corrupt elements. In this context, Mr. Traian Basescu spoke of ‘corruption and political control on the judges’, about remnants of the old system having been passed over to the new generation in the judiciary, mentioning that ‘in certain cases, as a consequence of the biased attitude of the prosecutors, things weren’t taken to the end, because at some point, someone from the rotten old system intervened’,” the release reads.

The CSM plenary sitting decided on September 23 to ask the Judicial Inspection to look into President Basescu’s statements. The check-ups revealed that the statements of the President of Romania and the data provided by the Prosecution Office attached to the High Court of Cassation and Justice, DNA and DIICOT, provide insufficient evidence to allow the identification of the prosecutors on whose conduct the head of state had commented on, or to check on the truthfulness of the assertions.

“The Council considered that if the President of Romania publicly comments on the credibility of the judiciary, voicing mistrust in the independence and impartiality of certain magistrates, the others involved in ongoing judiciary proceedings as parties in lawsuits are the more so influenced to lose confidence in justice. Even in political discourses, as far as aspects related to the authority of justice are concerned, the role of the judiciary and the need to retain the confidence of the citizens in the act of justice must be taken into account, so as to protect the magistrates against baseless attacks, no matter where they come from,” reads the CSM release.

Following the conclusions of the check conducted by the Judicial Inspection, the CSM plenum found that President Traian Basescu’s statements “are likely to affect the independence of the judiciary as a whole”, reports Agerpres.


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