MEP Monica Macovei, interim president of the M10 political party, warns that “the future is full of unpunished criminality in Romania” and that the changes that the MPs have started to bring to the Penal Code and the Penal Procedure Code are extremely risky. Thus, if denunciation for a crime committed more than 6 months earlier is struck out there will be an “unacceptable” reduction in the statute of limitations period, Macovei explains in an interview for ‘Romania Libera’ daily.
In what concerns the scandal that started around High Court President Livia Stanciu after Mariana Rarinca, sued by the former, was acquitted after spending 6 months under preventive arrest, the MEP believes that “an acquittal after the defendant was under preventive arrest should result in damages paid by the state to the person that was under preventive arrest.”
Likewise, Macovei believes that the magistrates involved could be held accountable. “If it turns out that a judge or prosecutor involved in this case acted with ill faith, meaning he knew there are no evidence to prove guilt, knew that Mrs. Rarinca is not guilty and yet he arraigned her or arrested her, despite having clear evidence pointing to her innocence, this is a crime that the Superior Magistracy Council (CSM) has to verify. If we are talking about the different interpretation of evidence, this is no longer a crime and it is the state’s responsibility to pay the damages,” she stated.
“Preventive arrest has to be ordered by the judge when the legal requirements are met: the risk that the defendant might destroy evidence, might influence witnesses, has such a considerable political or economic power that it may influence many things in the trial,” Macovei added.
In what concerns the modification of the Penal Code and the Penal Procedure Code, a process currently taking place gradually in Parliament, the MEP stated that these modifications can be “a disaster.” “If one of the modifications were to come into force for a second it would be a disaster, because afterward the more favourable law will be applied,” Macovei stated. She warned that “MPs have become more sophisticated, learning from past mistakes” and that now “each one of them changes one or two articles, based on the step-by-step method,” a fact that distracts the attention of outsiders who thus lose track of the series of modifications.
“There are six draft laws through which the modification of the Codes is attempted and they will go through at different moments. One of them might slip through,” she added.
Asked about the law that would ban denunciations, a law being currently drafted, Monica Macovei stated that this is “inadmissible” and that as long as the crime does not fall outside the statute of limitations period it can be investigated. “Basically, through this modification the MPs change the statute of limitations period which at any rate is low in Romania. In other states it does not even exist. By modifying the time span for the filing of the denunciation they are modifying the statute of limitations period bringing it down to 6 months,” the MEP warned.
“The penal procedure law is applied to the present, not to the past, but I have seen decisions in which it was interpreted differently and was applied to the past too. Think about the future too however: the future is full of unpunished criminality in Romania. And there is one more thing, Romania is not alone in what concerns the judiciary, just as we have organized and cross-border crime we have to respond through an organized group of prosecutors and judges that would work across borders. If Romanian legislation will be more lenient on criminal issues than that of other EU member states then Romania will become the haven of criminals because they will take refuge here, since the laws of the country in which you reside are applied, just like in the case of companies that do not want to pay taxes and go to tax havens,” Macovei warned.