On Monday, the huge scandal over the potential presence of spies within the judiciary seemed to have died out: the Supreme Defence Council (CSAT) issued a communiqué announcing that there are no undercover field agents among judges and prosecutors.
The Supreme Defence Council (CSAT) has verified, at the request of the Superior Council of Magistrates (CSM) and the Justice Ministry, the validity of affidavits submitted by magistrates and concluded that there are no field agents, undercover field agents included, informers or collaborators of intelligence services among them.
“Following checks conducted by the authorised authorities, it was concluded that judges, prosecutors, assistant judges, specialised legal equivalent staff as well as auxiliary specialised personnel of courts and prosecutors’ offices are not field agents, undercover field agents included, informers or collaborators of intelligence services,” the Presidential Administration informs in a statement.
According to the above-mentioned source, the results were presented both to the CSM and to the Justice Ministry, according to the institution that requested the checks.
On Tuesday however, Dan Mihalache (photo), head of the Presidential Chancellery, caused a sensation by making a surprising statement: the CSAT’s announcement is the result of a more complicated situation, since CSAT has no way of verifying 23,000 magistrates. In other words, it cannot reach such a categorical conclusion.
Dan Mihalache stated on Tuesday that the National Union of Judges in Romania’s (UNJR) intention to sue CSAT over the issue of the relation between the judiciary and intelligence services is “hazardous,” stating that CSAT is legally empowered to order the verification of magistrates.
“I find it a bit hazardous and I have the feeling someone is engaged in an election campaign within the judiciary over this topic. There is the legal obligation – not introduced by us, I believe it was [stipulated by law] in 2005 and 2006 – for CSAT to verify these things,” Dan Mihalache stated at a debate on the women’s presence in politics, a debate organized by PNL.
On the other hand, Dan Mihalache stated that this CSAT prerogative should be rethought.
“If you’re asking me, it’s a bit complicated. I don’t see CSAT’s role very well here and maybe one day this stipulation has to be rethought because CSAT does not have at its disposal the instruments with which to verify 23,000 magistrates,” Mihalache explained.
According to Dan Mihalache, CSAT can only send the affidavits to the relevant institutions for them to see whether there are undercover agents among the judges.
“This was the institutions’ answer (there are no undercover officers among judges – editor’s note),” deeming that CSAT lacks its own capability to “go out looking for undercover officers.” Dan Mihalache stated that he has “certain doubts about these procedures,” however “this was the state institutions’ answer.”
In 2015 the CSAT verified, following a directive issued by President Iohannis, at the request of the CSM and of the Justice Ministry, the validity of affidavits made by judges, prosecutors, assistant judges, legal specialised staff assimilated to them and of the specialised auxiliary staff of courts and prosecutor’s offices to determine whether those in question are field agents, undercover field agents included, informers or collaborators of intelligence services.
UNJR: President Iohannis should publicly clarify how the magistrates’ affidavits were verified
UNJR is asking President Iohannis to clarify publicly how the magistrates’ affidavits on their relation with intelligence services were verified, against the backdrop in which Dan Mihalache, the head of the Presidential Chancellery, has said that CSAT lacks the instruments with which to verify them.
“In light of the new statements according to which CSAT does not have the capacity to verify whether the intelligence services have undercover agents among the magistrates, the National Union of Judges in Romania (UNJR) is asking for the immediate publication of the CSAT decision on whose basis the Romanian Presidency announced, on January 18, that verifications were made and “there are no field agents, undercover field agents included, informers or collaborators of the intelligence services” within the judiciary,” a UNJR communiqué issued on Tuesday and quoted by Mediafax reads.
Likewise, UNJR is asking President Klaus Iohannis to publicly clarify the procedure that CSAT followed and that resulted in the Presidency’s communiqué, considering that Dan Mihalache, the head of the Presidential Chancellery, stated, after the communiqué was published, that CSAT does not have at its disposal the instruments with which to verify the magistrates’ affidavits.
In this context, UNJR considers that Mihalache’s statement flagrantly contradicts the Presidency’s communiqué.
“While the Presidency states that “following the verifications made by the relevant institutions it was noted that […] there are no field agents, undercover field agents included, informers or collaborators of intelligence services” within the judiciary, Mr. Mihalache told us today that “this was the institutions’ answer: CSAT does not have its own capacity to go out looking for undercover officers. (…) I have certain doubts about this procedure, but this was the state institutions’ answer.” Consequently, one voice is telling us verifications were made, and another is telling us there are no capabilities with which to conduct verifications. The doubts publicly expressed by an official of such a rank in what concerns CSAT’s ability to conduct actual verifications only serve to elevate the confusion and suspicions that the judiciary is influenced by intelligence services, something that runs counter to the fundamental principles of democracy,” UNJR states.
In this context, UNJR is asking the Romanian Presidency and the Supreme Defence Council to explain, publicly and officially, the procedure they followed when conducting these verifications.
“The completion of all overtures meant to render transparent the relation between intelligence services and the judiciary is an absolute imperative in order to consolidate confidence in the judiciary and to guarantee its independence. There can be no rule of law without an independent judiciary,” UNJR points out.
UNJR President Dana Garbovan stated for the press that the Union has asked CSAT to make public the decisions concerning the relation between intelligence services and the judiciary, as well as these services’ prerogatives in combating criminality, including in what concerns combating corruption and organized crime. She claimed that since she has received no answer to this request, she is taking into account the possibility of suing CSAT.