Legislative instability and absence of predictability have been identified by courts as the main vulnerabilities of the Romanian judiciary, according to a 2015 judiciary state report released on Wednesday by the Supreme Council of Magistrates (CSM).
“Whereas requests for high performance of the judiciary are on the rise, such performance cannot be always obtained only by the efforts of those involved in the justice system. Thus, judges continue to name legislative instability and absence of predictability the main vulnerabilities of the system, along with a stuffy and inconsistent legislative framework and legislative as well as regulatory changes with no impact studies to back them and without securing materials and personnel and also the absence of harmonisation procedure and merit matters with rulings of the Constitutional Court. On the other hand, they mention the need for the Constitutional Court to limit its integrations to its lawful powers,” reads the CSM report.
CSM suggests ban on conditional release for repeat offenders with over 10-year sentence
The Supreme Council of Magistrates decided to refer to the Ministry of Justice a proposal to amend the Criminal Code so as to ban the conditional release for repeat offenders serving more than 10 years in prison, but also for those convicted for life, if they have not served at least 30 years of the sentence.
According to the agenda of the latest CSM sitting published on the institution’s website, the Council proposes the introduction, after Article 100 of the Criminal Code, of a new article with the marginal title “Prohibition of conditional release.”
The first paragraph of the new article provides that “in case of a prison conviction for a crime that is a recurrence for which the law provides a term in prison of 10 years or more, the court can ban the possibility of conditional release under the sentencing decision.”
The second paragraph refers to repeat offenders convicted for life, for whom the court can “ban the possibility of conditional release before the execution of 30 years of detention.”
The third and last paragraph states that the presentation of the reasons which led to the ban of the conditional release is mandatory.
Number of disciplined judges surges over three times in 2015
The number of judges subjected to disciplinary procedures in Romania in 20125 surged more than three times, according to a 2015 justice state report released on Wednesday by the Supreme Council of Magistrates.
The report says that in 2015, 28 disciplinary penalties were ordered, up from just eight in 2014.
“On the other hand, as far as criminal accountability is concerned, only four judges were sentenced for corruption or corruption-related offences to final and binding sentences in 2015, compared with seven in 2014,” the report says.
Also in 2015, CSM ordered the suspension form office of 10 judges after they were brought to court, placed on pre-trial detention or house arrest, compared with 20 in 2014.
“Unlike the other state power, the judiciary is not subjected to public control as the legislative power is, because the citizens may not penalise the members of the judiciary by vote. That is why it is imperiously required that enough levers are in place for self-control and verification imbedded in the justice system,” reads the CSM report.
Romania ranked sixth in terms of number of applications filed with ECHR
Romania is ranked sixth on a list of countries in terms of applications filed with the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), according to a 2015 justice state report released on Wednesday by the Supreme Council of Magistrates (CSM).
The number of individual applications against Romania on the ECHR docket at various judiciary stages was standing at 3,350 out of a total of 66,450 in 2015.
“Thus, Romania is sixth among the member states with the largest numbers of applications, after Ukraine (13,500 individual complaints), the Russian Federation (9,000), Turkey (8,850), Italy (7,750) and Hungary (4,450),” reads the report.
In cases versus Romania, ECHR issued 72 rulings in 2015 that point out at least one violation of a right enshrined in the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms or the protocols thereof.
In 2015, five judgments were also made regarding just satisfaction, two regarding revisions of previous judgments, five judgments and 52 decisions saying no violation of any right provided for by the convention has been detected; 62 strike-out decisions following out-of-court settlements; 51 strike-out decisions following the Government’s unilateral declaration as well as 36 strike-out decisions after the absence of the applicant’s interest in keeping the application on the docket has been ascertained.
These judgments and decisions of the ECHR solved 675 cases against Romania.
“It is worth mentioning that among the strike-out decisions as a result of out-of-court settlements or unilateral declarations of the Government 87 decisions regards 224 cases where unreasonable length of judiciary procedures is claimed; thus, these decisions stroke out 116 applications following out-of-court settlements and 108 after the Government issued a declaration recognising the violation of Article 6 and committing compensatory awards,” says the CSM report.