Referring to the extension of the tenure of the head of the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA), Justice Minister Raluca Pruna (photo) stated, in an interview that ‘Romania Libera’ published on Tuesday, that her reinstatement “would expose that person to criticism from a part of society.”
“It would be unreasonable for me to venture off into speculations about the extension or non-extension of tenures. Of course, in principle I said that the law offers the possibility to reinstate a person; however, once again I believe Romanian society is at this moment fairly opposed to that and I believe a procedure – I am talking as a principle – to reinstate a person that has proven good management, integrity and professionalism would expose that person to criticism from a part of society. Based on transparency reasons I see fit to make public the professionalism, integrity, performance criteria, in order to be at ease with the proposals I place on the table of the CSM and, in the end, of the President. I won’t make a complicated procedure because when it comes to these leadership positions within prosecutor’s offices we are not talking about competitions,” Justice Minister Raluca Pruna stated in her interview for ‘Romania Libera’ daily.
The tenures of the head prosecutors will expire next year. Thus, Laura Codruta Kovesi, the person who has revolutionized the anti-corruption fight in Romania and has contributed to the arrest of an impressive number of corrupt persons from all walks of life, but most of all of important politicians, may no longer lead the DNA.
“I have the moral obligation, and I will do it, to personally go through the country, at the courts of appeal and their prosecutor’s offices, to encourage those who are upright and very good to file their bids,” the Justice Minister added.
According to the law, the Justice Minister makes the nominations, the Superior Magistracy Council (CSM) offers a consultative note and President Klaus Iohannis makes the actual appointment.
Laura Codruta Kovesi was appointed chief prosecutor of the DNA in May 2013, for a three-year term that features the possibility of being extended. She had previously served two terms as chief prosecutor at the General Prosecutor’s Office.
“I don’t understand why writing a book while serving time is bigger proof of reform”
In what concerns the setting up of the National Frozen Assets Agency, Raluca Pruna stated that this might take place next year.
“The law was adopted on November 11 and the first part of next year will be dedicated to finding a headquarters building, adopting procedures to hire the agency’s personnel. So during the first half of next year. We will make a public call for bids for the position of director. This is one priority of my term,” she said.
Asked about the rise in the number of cases in which jail sentences have been lowered because convicts wrote books while in jail, the Justice Minister stated that she has noticed the intensification of this activity and finds it discriminatory, however changing the law is unrealistic for the time being.
“We suddenly have persons that write a lot. It’s an absolute record. There are people in academia who struggle, sometimes for a year, to be able to write a scientific article in their line of expertise. I have asked the National Penitentiary Administration for a list of the works written and I notice just by browsing the titles that many of them – this is just an impression – could not pass as scientific works in a well-settled world. An author wrote six books in a year. This is exceptional, but not ruled out. As a principle, I said I find it a matter of discrimination. I don’t understand why writing a book while serving time is bigger proof of reform than painting or sculpting. As a minister, I have to be realistic. In order to eliminate this measure, which I find discriminatory, I would have to tinker with the law, to modify the law. I don’t believe this is realistic and that is why I saw fit to take over an initiative to modify the regulations of the law concerning the serving of time, regulations that introduce the filter of a special scientific commission that would attest the scientific character of the works, which should have been adopted since 2013. The first step would be to adopt a statute and then, of course, I hope that during my tenure I would be able to persuade that there is the need to modify the law, a modification I would make with all the norms in force. To organize a public debate and to put a draft on the Government’s table, probably at the end of my tenure, leaving to the future parliament, that will have the legitimacy to adopt such laws, the opportunity to decide whether adopting such a law would be good or not,” Raluca Pruna added.
In what concerns lawmakers’ immunities, she stated that “a lawmaker needs immunities, but not any kind of immunities.”
“In all stable societies immunity covers exclusively political opinions and votes, the activity in Parliament. Nothing outside that activity should normally be the object of immunity. Being a representative does not guarantee, or should not come along with a package of intangibility,” the Justice Minister said.