Senate Speaker Calin Popescu Tariceanu explained on Antena 3 on Wednesday that one cannot talk about conflict of interest in the case of Premier Victor Ponta.
“Let’s set the record straight. You said the conflict of interest the Premier is accused of is not the prerogative of the National Anticorruption Directorate. It is not the prerogative of the General Prosecutor’s Office. It is not the prerogative of the Prosecutor’s Office. Why? In a democratic state, political decisions cannot be investigated by the Prosecutor’s Office. The decisions of ministers, of the premier. Including the appointment of a minister, which goes through the filters of a political party, then of Parliament which gives its vote of confidence, and in the end of the President who signs the appointment decree.”
Tariceanu explained that the judiciary cannot intervene in the sphere of political decisions.
“There is a clear border that has to do with the separation of powers in the state, a fundamental principle – the judiciary does not interfere in the sphere of political decisions. It’s not about the DNA or the General Prosecutor’s Office. When a Government is about to be toppled other than in a democratic way – through no-confidence motion or at the ballot box – it is a coup de force which is also called coup d’état.
Likewise, Tariceanu explained that in Romania the judiciary has a very big problem.
“I believe the citizens that follow the events these days ask themselves a legitimate question: What do these aspects have to do with their rights and freedoms? A lot. Because a Government is the result of the democratic vote of citizens who elected their representatives in Parliament and the latter formed a Government. Parliament, good or bad, as it is, is the only representative and democratic institution. The judiciary, essential in the rule of law, is not a democratic institution. It cannot interfere with the democratic process. And now we have to understand: when a state power is outside any democratic control, such as the judiciary, it can lead to excesses. We have the Rarinca case – an obvious case of abuse within the judiciary. It’s not just the Rarinca case. There are dozens and hundreds of simple citizens abused by the judiciary. Do we have a problem within the Romanian judiciary? My clear and firm answer is yes.”
“I don’t want to put the blame on the judiciary as a whole. But neither can we feign not seeing what the deficiencies are at the level of the judiciary.”
Tariceanu’s advice for the head of ICCJ: I believe she should start reading the Constitution
Senate Speaker Calin Popescu Tariceanu explained on Wednesday on Antena 3 that he avoided making comments on the statement made by Mrs. Livia Stanciu, head of the High Court of Justice (ICCJ).
He referred to the statement made by Livia Stanciu on Wednesday, according to which “what happened in Parliament proves that not all Romanian citizens are equal before the law.” Livia Stanciu referred to the Parliament’s vote in the case concerning Premier Victor Ponta.
“I believe Mrs. Stanciu should start reading the Constitution. The procedures that took place in Parliament are stipulated by the Constitution. The prosecution request, the Parliament’s vote and the Parliament’s sovereign decision.”
Tariceanu added that immunity is not an element of protection for its holder.
“Now, let us talk about immunity. Mrs. Stanciu looks upon immunity as someone who does not understand what immunity for the member of parliament or for the premier represents. Immunity is an instrument not for the protection of its holders but of the citizens that gave a vote of confidence to some persons in order for the latter to represent their public interests. Maybe she doesn’t know. Immunity is meant to protect citizens from remaining unrepresented.”
Referring to Premier Victor Ponta and his prosecution, Tariceanu added that there is an important component in the equation – political stability.
“In what concerns the premier, this also has a different component – political stability. Yesterday I gave as an example the immunity in the US, concerning the head of the US. There, in the famous Clinton case, the Attorney General, not some regular prosecutor, filed an impeachment request. The Lower Chamber decided to start the impeachment procedure. The Attorney General presented the evidence. There were four counts, they were brought before the Judiciary Committee and two of them were left: perjury and abuse of power. Who tried Clinton? The Senate – with two thirds of the votes, not with a majority plus one. I am not talking about legislation, I am talking about the notion of immunity. Why are things done this way? Because of political stability considerations.”
Tariceanu explained that the judiciary is predisposed to excesses, against the backdrop of the fact that it is not a democratic body.
“There are filters that prevent potential abuses. Any institution can make abuses. The government too can make abuses. Is there a mechanism of control? Yes. Parliament. In the case of the judiciary, is there the possibility of a transgression? Yes. Greater power corrupts. Power exercised without control corrupts. In democratic countries there are “checks and balances,” a system for the avoidance of backsliding. We are witnessing serious backsliding in our case.”