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October 1, 2020
POLITICS

DNA Chief-Prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi: Parliamentary immunity should be abrogated altogether

The Chief-Prosecutor of the National Anti-corruption Directorate (DNA), Laura Codruta Kovesi continued her media exposure of the last days and came out with new statements and clarifications meant to shed light on the points of interest insistently raised by the mass-media over the recent weeks. Following her interviews to ‘Romania Libera’ and Radio Romania News and Current Affairs on Wednesday, Wednesday night, Kovesi made new statements on digi24.ro TV on parliamentary immunity or ‘the institution of the denouncer’ or the weight of denunciations in the DNA investigations.

‘Parliamentary immunity should be abrogated altogether’, Kovesi said on Digi24. Invited to the evening news, Laura Codruta Kovesi said it was not normal that a political vote should be a substitute for justice. The DNA chief denounced the members of Parliament for raising a shield around their colleagues in conflict with the law, blocking the efforts of the judiciary. In addition, Laura Kovesi accuses, that’s discriminative against the rest of the people.

‘It should be completely abrogated. It is not normal that a vote given by politicians should block justice or be a substitute for justice’, she said, as the Senate had declined DNA’s request to remand Dan Sova in custody although the majority of the senators present in the hall had voted in favour. The Senate Regulation was however invoked, which says that the decision is made by absolute majority. Meanwhile, the Regulation has been harmonized with the Constitution and any future decision on DNA requests will be made based on the votes of attending senators.

‘Any arrest request made by prosecutors is censured by a judge (…). Regarding the remand requests, there is definitely a preferential treatment for the MPs. A person who is not an MP and who commits exactly the same crime may be arrested at any time. An MP, on the other hand, can commit any corruption offence because the Parliament can protect him/her by not allowing his/her preventive arrest. That’s preferential enforcement of the law’, said the chief-prosecutor of DNA.

Regarding serving or former ministers, they may not even be prosecuted without the Parliament’s consent. Laura Codruta Kovesi reminded of the cases of ex-Ministers Daniel Chitoiu and Laszlo Borbely, where the approval had not been granted by Parliament.

‘That was a suspicion which might or might not verify. We couldn’t even look into it because we did not receive the consent. Investigations are being blocked’, she said.

 

DNA Chief-Prosecutor explains ‘institution of the denouncer’

 

DNA Chief-Prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi spoke, on Digi 24, about the importance of a denunciation in resolving a case and the reasons for which some of the investigated people prefer to admit to the commission of offences or report corruption offences allegedly committed by other people.

‘The institution of the denouncer is not used now for the first time in Romania. It is regulated and is also used in Europe and in the US’, Kovesi said. She added that one of the reasons for which denunciations had become more visible was that they concerned important people.

There is a major difference between people who admit to the offence, people who report  possible offences DNA is unaware of and those who report offences DNA already knows about’, said the DNA chief.

She added that the new Criminal Code made it possible for those who admit to the commission of the offences they are charged with to receive more lenient punishments.

‘If on the first court date you plead guilty as charged, you could have one third of your sentence cut’, Laura Codruta Kovesi said.

The situation is different for those who report alleged crimes committed by others. If DNA is aware of them, the denouncer only gets half of the punishment and if someone makes a denunciation concerning facts DNA is not aware of, the person is ‘completely protected from punishment’, the DNA head explained.

‘No prosecutor builds his/her case on just a denunciation. It must be always combined with other evidence’, Kovesi noted.

She pointed out that ‘not even the admission of the defendant is the queen of all evidence’ and that, in the absence of any other evidence, no prosecutor would refer a case to Court just based on the admission of a defendant.

On the other hand, Laura Codruta Kovesi also said that 90% of the DNA cases started from complaints made by people or legal entities. ‘Complaints, not denunciations’, she noted.

 

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