Calin Popescu Tariceanu, President of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE), proposes the modification of the Statute of Judges and Prosecutors, in the sense of eliminating the political factor – the President and Justice Minister – from the procedure for appointment of holders of leadership positions.
“The High Court of Justice (ICCJ) appoints its president, vice president, section presidents, from among the judges that were active within that court for at least two years,” Tariceanu’s draft law stipulates.
According to it, the president, vice president or section presidents are revoked by the ICCJ, which can take note ex officio, at the request of one third of its members or at the request of the institution’s general assembly.
“The General Prosecutor of the ICCJ’s Prosecutor’s Office, his first deputy and deputy, the General Prosecutor of the National Anticorruption Directorate, his deputies, the chief prosecutors of the sections, as well as the chief prosecutor of the Directorate for the Investigation of Organized Crime and Terrorism and his deputies, are appointed by the Superior Magistracy Council from among the prosecutors that held the position of judge or prosecutor for at least 10 years, for a period of three years, with the possibility to be reinstated only once,” the draft law reads.
According to the proposal, they are also to be revoked by the Superior Magistracy Council (CSM), which can take note ex officio, at the request of the general assembly or of the General Prosecutor of the ICCJ’s Prosecutor’s Office.
The draft law’s explanatory statement points out that “in the public space in Romania but not only in Romania, all over the world, there is a debate on the most appropriate ways of ensuring the independence of the judiciary and of removing the judiciary from the far too great influence of the political factor.”
At this moment, the law stipulates that Romania’s President appoints the ICCJ’s president, vice presidents and section presidents, at CSM’s proposal, while Tariceanu’s proposal is for these appointments to belong to the Supreme Court, which would choose its leadership from among its members and “without any kind of political intervention from the outside.”
According to Tariceanu, chief prosecutors are now appointed by the Romanian President, at the Justice Minister’s proposal, with CSM’s non-binding opinion, and his proposal is for them to be appointed solely by the CSM.
“This modification of the law means changing the mechanism by completely removing the political factor from the appointment procedure. We are thus allowing the CSM to fulfil the mandate for which it was established. I believe this proposal is liable to strengthen confidence in these institutions, to strengthen the feeling, perception and the actual independence of the Judiciary, to remove these appointments from any scope of political decision-makers, so that the progress registered so far would be consolidated, strengthened, and of course certain weaknesses noticed at this moment would be removed as much as possible,” Tariceanu points out in the explanatory statement.
The draft law will be debated publicly within the Lower Chamber until May 3 and will then enter the parliamentary procedure.