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October 8, 2022

Raluca Pruna: I will propose adoption of draft decision on SIPA archive before end of Government’s term

The draft decision concerning the archives of the Justice Ministry’s former Independent Service for Protection and Anticorruption (SIPA) will be proposed for adoption before the current Government ends its term, Justice Minister Raluca Pruna announced on Tuesday.

“I will do something before I finish my term. (…) I will propose the adoption of a decision I launched for public consultations, before this Government ends its term,” Pruna said, answering a question in a joint press conference with Deputy Premier Vasile Dincu, Agerpres informs.

SIPA, which subsequently became the General Directorate for Protection and Anticorruption (DGPA), had its origins in the Operative Service, redubbed the Independent Operative Service (SIO), which was one of the first intelligence services set up in Romania after the fall of communism, in February 1990. Initially created to monitor penitentiaries, SIO became the Independent Service for Protection and Anticorruption (SIPA) in 1997. The service was subsequently accused of operating with no oversight and of spying on judges, prosecutors, lawyers, journalists and members of civil society who were pleading for the respect of human rights.

SIPA’s directors and deputy directors were former Securitate officers, some of whom had engaged in political police actions in that capacity, according to the CNSAS. Likewise, dozens of former Securitate officers were among SIPA’s employees.

General Marian Ureche, who prior to 1989 had been a Securitate colonel, was one of SIPA’s directors. In April 2002, Free Europe nominated him among those who had spied on NATO states prior to 1989. Marian Ureche was also accused, among other things, of dealing with keeping Ioan Petru Culianu under surveillance.

After the fall of communism, Marian Ureche worked at the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI) School in Baneasa, where future SRI officers were trained. In 1993, Ureche wrote “The Intelligence Services,” a book in which the former Securitate was praised. The book was used as a textbook at the SRI School.

According to the press, Marian Ureche was appointed at the helm of SIPA in 2001, based on recommendations from the SRI and Justice Minister Rodica Stanoiu, who was in her own turn revealed to have been a collaborator of the former Securitate.

General Dan Gheorghe was one of SIPA’s deputy directors. In his own turn a former Securitate officer, after the SRI was established he was appointed head of its Antiterrorism Brigade.

Another SIPA deputy director was colonel Marian Anghel Descultu. President Ion Iliescu retired him in 2002, with the rank of general. Descultu had been a former officer within the Securitate’s Fourth Directorate. The CNSAS established that he too had engaged in political police actions in that capacity.

A European Commission assessment report dated 2004, issued as part of Romania’s European Union accession procedures, pointed out that “SIPA lacks transparency and accountability and it was reportedly involved in human rights abuses in prisons and in influencing the judiciary.”

In 2006, Justice Minister Monica Macovei disbanded SIPA, whose name at the time was DGPA, arguing that it had committed abuses and the ministry did not need an intelligence service.

Historian Marius Oprea has stated that SIPA hired officers from the former Securitate’s core, officers who “used the same means to compromise and blackmail.”

“This government decision will basically allow state institutions to use, ten years later, intelligence abusively and illegally collected by SIPA – an intelligence service disbanded following Romania’s negotiations to join the European Union. To use that intelligence now would mean to flagrantly ignore all obligations that Romania took during the pre-accession period and which she must observe currently too, as member of the European Union,” the magistrates claim. Because of this, “before talking about what is to be done with these archives, it’s important to know what happened with them for the past ten years,” the magistrates conclude in the letter they sent to Premier Ciolos.

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