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July 3, 2022

Senate: The longest time for house arrest during legal inquiries, 180 days

The longest time a person may be placed under house arrest during legal inquiry is 180 days, according to a draft law destined to approve the Government Emergency Ordinance for the change of the Criminal Procedure Code.
The Senators passed on Tuesday the draft law for approving Government Emergency Ordinance 24 / 2015 for changing Law No. 135 / 2010 referring to the Criminal Procedure Code, with 86 votes “for”, two abstainings and 24 votes “against”.
The Senate is the first chamber to take note, the Chamber of Deputies is the decision-reaching forum for this draft law.
The Government decided on June 30, by Emergency Ordinance, that the measure of house arrest during criminal inquiries may be established for no more than 30 days and prolonged with 30 more days, but the maximum duration of the measure cannot exceed 180 days.
By the Emergency Ordinance, that has entered into force at this time, changes were made in the stipulations referring to the duration of house arrest included in the Criminal Procedure Code. The legislation was thus adapted to the decision of the Constitutional Court on May 7, referring to the admission of the exception of unconstitutionality of the stipulations of article 222, referring to the duration of house arrest in the Criminal Procedure Code.
In the normative act adopted by the Government, it was mentioned that it created the required normative act to apply house arrest in the stage of preliminary chamber or during initial trial, under the limits and coordinates of the Constitution. By the applied changes, the maximum term for disposing the measure of house arrest was regulated, with a chance to extend it to durations that also have an expressly established maximum.
Therefore, during criminal inquiry, house arrest may be established for a duration of no more than 30 days and prolonged only in case of necessity, if the reasons that determined adopting the measure or whether new measures have appeared, and neither of these measures could exceed 30 days. The maximum duration of house arrest during a criminal inquiry is 30 days.
The prolonging of house arrest may be ordered by the judge of rights and liberties of the Court that had had the competence to judge the case in initial trial or by the adequate Court that has the offence scene under its circumscription or by the headquarters of the Prosecutors’ Office the investigating or inquiry supervising prosecutor belongs to. The rights and liberties judge is notified for prolonging the measure by the prosecutor, through a motivated proposal accompanied by the file of the cause, with at least five days before the duration of the cause expires, according to changes approved by the Government.
The duration of deprivation of freedom ordered by the measure of house arrest is not taken into account for the calculation of the maximum duration of the measure of preventive arrest of the defendant during criminal inquiry.

“The legislative change is necessary in regime of emergency and mostly because, in its absence, the institution of house arrest cannot be functional for the stage of preliminary chamber or during initial trial. A fast legislative intervention by Emergency Ordinance issued by the Government was requested by the High Court of Cassation and Justice Prosecutors’ Office and by the Supreme Council of Magistrates”, the Government pointed out, according to Mediafax.

On June 12, the Official Monitor published the decision of the Constitutional Court issued on May 7, admitting the exception of unconstitutionality of the dispositions of article no. 222 in the Criminal Procedure Code.
Therefore, the Court determined that the “procedural criminal norms of article no. 222, marginally named “The duration of house arrest”, by the fact that they fail to regulate the duration house arrest may be disposed for and the maximum duration of this measure in the preliminary chamber procedure and in initial trial, are unconstitutional, while judiciary organs may order the disposition of house arrest for unlimited amounts of time, and, as a consequence, due to the lack of time limitations, there is a restriction in the exercise of fundamental rights and liberties targeted by the content of this measure”.
Based on these considerations, the Court noted that “such restriction is unconstitutional, as it violates the right of proportionality, affecting the substance of targeted fundamental rights and not limiting itself to the restriction in exercising them.”

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