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Bucharest
September 30, 2020
JUSTICE

UNJR judges ask Justice Ministry to suspend law that favoured plagiarist convicts

The National Union of Romanian Judges (UNJR) has asked the Justice Minister to suspend for a period of three months the law that allows prison sentences to be reduced by 30 days for each scientific paper or invention published.

UNJR deems that the abuse of the law that concerns “scientific papers” should be stopped immediately, but considers that its abrogation would be discriminatory, a communiqué shows.
The period of three months, UNJR states, would offer time for the completion “of regulations that would also include clear and rigorous criteria meant to avoid the abusive use of this law.”
Judges warn that persons with remarkable professional careers may be among those convicted and the fact that they have been convicted “does not diminish their expertise in the domains they specialise in, with them being able to continue adding value to society while serving time.”

UNJR considers that the new regulations “could include stipulations that would allow in a first stage the verification of the fact that the paper was actually written by the convict.”
A second stage could verify the paper’s scientific character. Several solutions could be reached in this regard, following consultations with the Romanian Academy or the Higher Education’s National Scientific Research College, UNJR claims.

UNJR’s proposals are in line with the recommendations made by the Judicial Inspection in its report that analyses the loopholes of the current parole legislation based on the legislative article that the Justice Ministry wants abrogated through emergency government ordinance.
The proposal was made before the expiration of the deadline set by the Justice Ministry for the completion of the public debate concerning the draft emergency ordinance that would abrogate the legislative article concerned.

According to National Penitentiary Administration data, 229 convicts wrote and published 440 scientific papers from 1 January 2013 to 21 December 2015.
The Superior Magistracy Council’s (CSM) plenum decided last week, with nine votes in favour and nine against, to endorse the Legislation Directorate’s point of view, which stipulates the introduction of “objective, fair and transparent” criteria in what concerns the [paper’s] scientific character and the writing of papers in penitentiaries. Through this vote, CSM has decided to uphold the controversial legislative article, in contrast to the Justice Minister who wants to abrogate it.

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