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March 6, 2021

CSM looks into the way in which defendants are removed from prosecutor’s offices in handcuffs: Other countries do not present similar shows

The members of the Superior Council of Magistracy (CSM) are analysing the way in which defendants are removed in handcuffs from the prosecutor’s offices and put on police vans to be driven to the lockup facilities, saying that other countries do not present ‘similar shows’.

CSM members say a comparative analysis is needed with what happens in other countries in order to see if other countries have the same practice of removing defendants in handcuffs from the prosecutor’s offices.

Moreover, they say they have even received feedback from embassies that other countries do not present similar ‘shows’.

‘I have investigated this and have already had discussions. We need to see if what happens on a daily basis can be a show and we need to see if things happen in the same way in other countries. Based on the feedback we receive, also from embassies, there are no such shows. So we need to see the legislation, compare legislation and, even if we could find answers in the broadcasting law, we too should introduce a rule for what happens day by day’, Judge Mircea Aron, member of CSM, states, quoted by Mediafax.

The representatives of the Superior Council of Magistrcy do not exclude the option of proposing to the Minister of Justice to regulate the manner in which detained or arrested persons are escorted out of the Public Ministry buildings.

‘The show is not staged by prosecutors. (…) We need to have an examination of compared law to find the best options to blot out the phenomenon. If a legislative article is required, we will propose to the minister of justice to take steps in that respect’, CSM President, Judge Marius Badea Tudose, says.

There are members of the Council who even believe that the practice of the judicial bodies violate Council of Europe practices.

‘Lately – and there is a lot of debate – we have seen that various people are arrested or detained by the prosecutors, we see them in handcuffs, which, in my view, violates the practice adopted even by the Council of Europe. They are handcuffed with the hands tied both in front or in the back, and are taken from the prosecutor’s office to Court. Other prosecutor’s offices do not do that. When defendants come for interviews, at least they have this minimal protection and provide them with access and exit from the building of the prosecutor’s office. Some of these people may be acquitted and I wonder if we should not have a reaction at this point’, Judge Horatius Dumbrava, member of the Superior Council of Magistracy, in turn says.

Several politicians have denounced the ‘telejustice’ in Romania lately.

President Klaus Iohannis also said the legislation should be amended to have ‘less handcuff rattle’ on TV.

‘I believe certain aspects could have been mitigated. (…) I mean, have less handcuff rattle and find out what happened from dry press statements instead. (…) I believe this is where change is needed both in legislation and procedure and we need an act of will also from those who are in charge of the field. I do not mean to assign the blame on anyone in particular, I have no clues on a certain place where there is an illegal leak of information. It doesn’t happen, but also the self-esteem of all those who come into contact with these cases needs improving. Some would definitely come to the conclusion that they should not give a copy of their file to the press five minutes after they receive it for consultation’, Iohannis said.


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