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October 18, 2021

Senate Judiciary Commission rejects lifting of ex-minister Titus Corlatean’s immunity

The Senate’s Judiciary Commission issued on Tuesday a negative report on National Anticorruption Directorate’s (DNA) request for the Senate to lift ex-Foreign Minister Titus Corlatean’s immunity in order for the DNA to start its criminal probe against him.

The negative report was adopted with 5 votes in favour and 3 against. The report is consultative.

The DNA’s request for the Senate to approve the start of the criminal probe against Social Democrat Titus Corlatean in the “Diaspora Vote 2014” Case will end up in the Senate’s plenum next week. The plenum will decide whether to lift his immunity.

The request could end up within the Senate’s plenum next Tuesday, Senate Deputy Speaker Ioan Chelaru announced on Monday, Agerpres informs.

“The report will be finished tomorrow and, in these conditions, it will be sent to the plenum meeting next Tuesday,” Chelaru stated on Monday after the meeting of the Senate’s Standing Bureau.

In his turn, Senate Speaker Calin Popescu Tariceanu pointed out that the Standing Bureau is waiting for the Judiciary Commission’s report, not for the Romanian Constitutional Court’s (CCR) decision on malfeasance in office.

“I don’t believe we necessarily have to see a link (with CCR’s decision on malfeasance in office). I know on Tuesday he will show up at the Commission to be heard, as is natural, and the Commission will present its report to the Standing Bureau. We will decide on the next steps, which means plenum vote. We are not waiting for the Court’s decision, we are waiting for the Judiciary Commission’s report,” Tariceanu explained.

Senate Judiciary Commission Chairman Catalin Boboc stated last week, after the case files were unsealed, that the Commission will present its report to the Standing Bureau on Tuesday this week.

On May 30, the Senate’s Standing Bureau had sent to the Judiciary Commission, for analysis, the DNA’s request that concerns Senator Titus Corlatean.

DNA Chief Prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi asked for the Senate to be notified in order to approve the criminal probe against Senator Titus Corlatean in the “Diaspora Vote 2014” Case.

DNA prosecutors claim that “against the backdrop of organising the presidential elections in 2014, in his capacity as Foreign Minister, Titus Corlatean set up polling centres abroad in a discretionary manner, by breaking legal procedures and issuing directives, thus obtaining an undue benefit for the candidate nominate and backed by the party whose member Corlatean was.”

Prosecutors point out that the undue benefit consisted of limiting the number of Romanian citizens who were able to exercise their voting rights abroad. DNA also claims that the former Foreign Minister also “harmed the Foreign Ministry’s legitimate interests,” interests that consisted of the proper functioning of Romania’s diplomatic missions and consulates abroad and of their optimal fulfilment of the legal obligations to defend the rights of Romanian citizens abroad.

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