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September 25, 2021

2016 to bring new changes at the helm of the judiciary

The year 2016 will bring about new changes at the helm of the judiciary, since the tenures of the heads of the High Court of Justice (ICCJ), Constitutional Court of Romania (CCR), ICCJ’s Prosecutor’s Office, National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) and Superior Magistracy Council (CSM) will expire.

At the Constitutional Court, Augustin Zegrean (appointed by the Presidency), Puskas Valentin-Zoltan (by the Senate) and Toader Tudorel (by the Lower Chamber) will reach the end of their tenures, so that the three aforementioned institutions will have to appoint new persons. Moreover, the new head of the CCR will have to be selected in order to replace Zegrean.
The president of the ICCJ will be replaced too, Livia Stanciu reaching the end of her second term in office. The new head of the ICCJ will be proposed by the Superior Magistracy Council (CSM) and will be appointed by President Klaus Iohannis.

Tiberiu Nitu (ICCJ’s Prosecutor’s Office) and Laura Codruta Kovesi (DNA) will reach the end of their first term in office. The law allows them to hold two terms in office. Romania’s Attorney General and the Chief Prosecutor of the DNA are appointed by the Romanian President, at the proposal of the Justice Minister and with CSM’s approval, from among prosecutors and judges with an experience of at least 10 years. The terms in office cover a period of three years and can be renewed only once.

As happens every year, elections for the leadership of CSM will take place during this period. Former prosecutor Mircea Aron, now a judge, and prosecutor Luminita Palade, head of the Bucharest Court of Appeals’ prosecutors, want to take the helm of the “guarantor of the judiciary’s independence.” Among CSM’s weak points, Mircea Aron has identified “the sometimes too complicated, useless and in some parts contradictory dialogue.” Another shortcoming identified by Aron is “insufficient attention to arguments within the commissions, section or plenum.”

Luminita Palade seeks to modify the regulations that concern the promotion of magistrates into leadership and executive positions, and to consolidate judiciary inspection, “a top priority for the CSM.” Likewise, she considers that “there is the need to continue controls concerning the situation of old case files.”

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