The detention conditions existing in some of the Romanian prisons could be compared with those offered by concentration camps, being far from the European Union standard, Justice Minister Robert Cazanciuc said on Tuesday.
‘Unfortunately, today, in Romania we have detention conditions that may often suggest those in a concentration camp. This is not at all an overstatement and I am taking responsibility for the terms I’M USING. No investment has been made in some of these places in dozens of years, we have penitentiaries that have been in operation uninterruptedly since 1780, we have prisons transformed from former factories or army bases. We are unable to provide the conditions required of an EU member state’, Cazanciuc said on TVR.
‘The minister of justice said the existing shortcomings in the prison system cannot be dealt with locally, and that Romania is among the initiators of an EU project for investment in improving detention conditions.
‘We have started an investment programme. Romania cannot deal with this shortage of infrastructure in its prison system alone. This is why, together with my Italian colleague, as Romania and Italy have received the highest number of ECHR convictions over improper detention conditions, I have initiated an action in the European Union and nine more member states joined in. It is not about investing in luxury conditions, it is about proper conditions for re-education programmes’, Cazanciuc noted.
He explained that the current prison population in Romania is 29,000, but conditions at European standard can only be offered to 19,000 imprisoned persons.
‘We cannot cover the shortage of 10,000 places overnight. We have started two prison development procedures, one near Ploiesti and one near Caracal and I hope the European Commission finds the resources to allocate funding for the infrastructure beginning with next year’, the justice official further said.
The Romanian state has been ordered by courts to pay over 1 M euros in damages over precarious prison detention conditions – reads the recitals of an investment project for the Giurgiu prison, a document that was published on the website of the Justice Ministry in September. According to eh document, the National Prison Administration received, through the Ministry of Finance, a total of 139 such court decisions. ‘Sao far, the Romanian state has been made pay a total of 1,142,154 euro and 10,000 Swiss francs’, reads the recitals.
Cazanciuc on US ambassador remarks: A stand converging with Gov’t policies
The statements of the US Ambassador in Bucharest, Hans Klemm, on the topic of justice and legislative predictability converge with Romania’s Government policies, Justice Minister Robert Cazanciuc said, according to Agerpres.
“It is a stand converging with the Government’s policies. We can only say that we are on the same side of the fence, that we are trying to progress in Romania, including by having increasingly better laws and supporting justice by all possible means, at least, as I said, as far as the Government is concerned,” Cazanciuc told TVR public television broadcaster.
In his opinion, the reactions of Romania’s foreign partners are an answer to the manner in which actions are conducted domestically.
“The reaction of the foreign partners can only be in agreement with our own attitudes and actions. If we always have attitudes and actions in agreement with the important partnerships of Romania with the European Union, the US, if these actions are in agreement with the society’s general interest, the European or the US partners can only have the same support attitude. If they find that things aren’t going in a good direction, it is legitimate for them to speak about that,” the justice minister showed.
The Romanian Government should now move forward with implementing transparent consultations for all contemplated policy and regulatory changes, US Ambassador to Romania Hans Klemm told a conference on Tuesday called “Case for Investing in Romania,” organised by the American Chamber of Commerce in Romania (AMCham).
“What happened in the Senate was a vote against the interests of Romania”
Justice Minister Robert Cazanciuc has argued that the Senate recently defeating a bill on the establishment, organisation and operation of a national agency for the administration of impounded assets is a vote against Romania’s interests.
“I have seen some media headlines earlier talking about a ‘bleak Tuesday.’ I would not call it a ‘bleak Tuesday,’ but what happened today in the Senate was a vote against the interests of Romania. I had left the Senate in the morning somewhat optimistic; I had even prepared a speech in which I was trying to say that we have an opportunity together with the senators to debunk the myth of ‘Tuesday 13’ and show that things can be different that in our perception. Unfortunately, it did not happen as planned: there was a vote against the bill, against the interests of Romania,” Cazanciuc told the TVR national public broadcaster according to Agerpres.