Judge Horaţius Dumbravă proposed during the plenary meeting on Tuesday that President Klaus Iohannis should mediate a future meeting of the Superior Council of Magistracy (CSM) that will discuss the subject of the involvement of the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI) in the act of justice.
The CSM member made his proposal in the context of the debate on the request of the National Union of Judges in Romania, Association of Magistrates in Romania and Association of Prosecutors in Romania to alert the Judicial Inspection to perform checks into the possible impairment of the independence of justice and magistrates by SRI.
Horatius Dumbrava asked that under art. 133 paragraph 6 and art. 80 of the Constitution. The first legal text says the president of Romania presides over the works of the Superior Council of Magistrates which he attends and the second that the president represents the Romanian state and is the guarantor of national independence, unity and territorial integrity of the country and watches over the compliance with the Constitution and smooth operation of public authorities. For that purpose, the president has a mediating function among the powers of the state, as well as between the state and society.
The CSM members are to decide if they will invite the head of state to mediate such a meeting.
The National Union of Judges in Romania (UNJR) asked in 18 May the Superior Council of Magistrates to defend the independence of justice and magistrates against the suspicion that SRI is involved in the act of justice, according to a UNJR press release.
According to the quoted source, the National Union of Judges in Romania, next to a group of judges, has asked the Superior Council of Magistrates ‘to defend the intendance of justice and magistrates from the reasonable suspicion of the involvement of the Romanian Intelligence Service in the act of justice beyond the limitations set by the law, a suspicion that induces to citizens justified doubts on the impartiality and, hence, the fairness of the act of justice’.
The request of the judges was made in the context where the head of SRI Legal Directorate, Daniel Dumbrava, said the courts of law were <tactical field’ of SRI and that ‘currently we keep our interest/attention until a final decision is made in each case’.
‘Such assertions are of unprecedented seriousness and severely hurt the appearance of impartiality of judges as well as the independence as such of the judiciary’, already causing major concerns among magistrates’, reads the letter sent to CSM.
Under the law, CSM ‘has the right and obligation to also take its own action in order to defend judges and prosecutors against any action that might hurt their independence or impartiality or create suspicions regarding those’.
UNJR notes in its letter that, in a similar situation, the Superior Council of Magistrates in Italy adopted, on 4 July 2007, in unanimity, a resolution stressing that ‘such interferences lead to the intimidation and loss of credibility by magistrates’.
‘Considering that courts of justice are <a tactical field> of SRI, as well as the acceptance of the presence of the Service in this <tactical field> until the final solving of the situation means accepting the possibility that the institution may be operating with obscure means on the actors in the judicial process, including prosecutors and judges. Such a premise is a serious attack on the independence of justice that cannot be accepted even at the level of appearance or suspicion’, the letter reads.
UNJR also denounces the fact that, in his interview, Gen. Dumitru Dumbrava said ‘SRI’s working manner engages prosecutors (…) as well as judges’.
‘This expression simply shows a misunderstanding of the notion of justice independence (…_ Such statements made by a key person in the SRI leadership could suggest a lack of independence on behalf of the magistrates, for which reason CSM has been asked to step in ‘to defend the independence of justice and magistrates against the reasonable suspicion that the Romanian Intelligence Service is involved and influences the act of justice beyond the limitations given to it by the law’, the judges say in their letter.
In its plenary meeting on 13 May, the Superior Council of Magistracy decided to notify the Supreme Defence Council (CSAT) to conduct checks into possible covert officers among judges and prosecutors, according to CSM representatives.
The CSM representatives noted for Mediafax that CSAT would be notified in order to determine who are the covert officers active in the magistracy.
The CSM decision followed the request made by the National Union of Judges in Romania (UNJR) to CSM to check and eliminate possible covert officers in the magistracy and also ask the Romanian Intelligence Service for clarifications.