President Klaus Iohannis on Thursday sent a letter to Senate Chairman Calin Popescu-Tariceanu, in which he says he has no constitutional power to dismiss from office the chair of the Supreme Court or the chief prosecutor of the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA).
“In reference to your request for the dismissal from office of the chair of the Supreme Court of Justice and Cassation and the chief prosecutor of the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA), I want to mention that Romania’s President has no such constitutional or legal powers,” Iohannis underscores in his reply to a letter from Tariceanu and four other senators that have called on Iohannis to dismiss from office or force to resign Supreme Court Chair Livia Stanciu and DNA chief prosecutor Laura-Codruta Kovesi and to initiate inside the Supreme Council of Magistrates (CSM) a disciplinary inquiry into the two magistrates while also joining Parliament in a bid to amend the Code of Criminal Procedure.
Iohannis says that under Law 303/2004 on the statutes of judges and prosecutors there is no provision for dismissal, only for revocation, as a judiciary means of prematurely ending the term a leading office held by a judge or prosecutor.
“The measure of revocation cannot be made by Romania’s President. The application of this penalty is allowed only after various previous procedures have been carried out in compliance with Law 303/2004,” says Iohannis.
The president also says resignation from an executive office is a unilateral act of will that cannot be determined or influenced by any public authority, included not even by the President of Romania.
Iohannis suggests that Tariceanu should call on CSM if he sees fit.
“Securing judiciary independence is a fundamental element of the rule of law and, according to the fundamental law, the Supreme Council of Magistrates (CSM) is the guarantor of justice independence, the only public power entrusted with a say in the disciplinary accountability of judges and prosecutors, and, implicitly, in their career. In accordance with Article 97 (1) of Law 303/2004 anyone may notify the CSM about the faulty activity or behaviour of judges or prosecutors, their violation of professional obligations in their interactions with justice seekers or the commission of any disciplinary offence. From such perspective, I believe that you should call on the Supreme Council of Magistrates directly, if you see fit, because the President of Romania has no power to initiate such a judiciary demarche on behalf of any authority or individual,” Iohannis explains.
In a letter on Tuesday, five senators, including Senate Chairman Calin Popescu-Tariceanu, called on President Klaus Iohannis to oust from office by dismissal or resignation Chair of the Supreme Court of Justice and Cassation Livia Stanciu and chief prosecutor of the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) Laura Codruta Kovesi for alleged violation of the rights and fundamental freedoms of Mariana Rarinca.