New Justice Minister Florin Iordache stated on Thursday, when he took over the mandate from Raluca Pruna, that strengthening the rule of law and boosting citizen’s confidence in the judiciary are priorities. Iordache had stated on Wednesday that a pardoning law is auspicious.
“Strengthening the rule of law and boosting the citizen’s confidence in the judiciary are priorities. The most important is the citizen’s confidence in the fair, lawful act of justice,” Florin Iordache stated on Thursday when taking office.
In what concerns the audio recording in which ex-president Traian Basescu is heard talking about information he allegedly received on the ICA legal file, in which Dan Voiculescu was convicted, Iordache stated that he will analyse whether notifying the judicial inspection is called for.
Florin Iordache arrived at the Justice Ministry at 9 a.m. on Thursday. Prior to that, former Minister Raluca Pruna was at the ministry’s headquarters to hand in her mandate.
“I’m very pleased, I believe I had a fairly good mandate for a very short time. I did a lot of things, I also left many things undone because I didn’t have the time. For instance, the whole year last year I prepared a package of justice laws that modify the laws from 2004, the three laws, the justice package. I did it through wide-ranging consultations, I discussed with the magistrates’ associations. They were bills, we didn’t manage to file them in Parliament, I believe it’s fair to leave that to this Government. I hope they will be filed in Parliament and adopted,” the ex-minister stated.
On Wednesday, Florin Iordache presented the members of Parliament’s judiciary commissions several objectives he will have at the helm of the Justice Ministry, pointing out that he will ask the Premier to revise the Penal Code and the Penal Procedure Code, and that a law on magistrates’ responsibility is needed, based on the European model. In what concerns the revising of the Penal Code and Penal Procedure Code, Raluca Pruna said such a move would only be called for based on Constitutional Court decisions.
“I believe we’ve had plenty of Constitutional Court decisions; we set this legislation in agreement with the Court’s decisions not long ago, halfway through last year, I believe there are no longer any things that would require urgent measures, but it remains to be seen. If the court notes that another stipulation is unconstitutional, obviously that stipulation would have to be modified,” Pruna pointed out.
The ex-minister stated that she will resume her office in Brussels on February 1. Raluca Pruna did not want to give advice to the new minister, however she had a message for magistrates.
“I don’t have the liberty to give recommendations to the new minister, who is a politician and is better positioned than I am to know what he has to do. I have a recommendation for the Romanian magistracy. They should not forget that many people are hoping it is a mature magistracy. I hope that what was built in the last 12 years at least, since 2004, will not be lost and from now on we’ll do nothing but consolidate,” the ex-minister added.
Former Justice Minister Raluca Pruna: I don’t think an amnesty and pardoning law solves the penitentiaries’ problems
Former Justice Minister Raluca Pruna stated, after handing in her mandate, that she does not believe that an amnesty and pardoning law would solve the penitentiaries’ problems. The statement came after the new minister, Florin Iordache, stated that such a law would be “auspicious.”
“I’ve said ever since I took office that I don’t believe an amnesty and pardoning law solves the penitentiaries’ problems. It would solve them immediately in the sense that we would empty the penitentiaries, but they would fill up again. So, we would tinker with the effect, not the cause. I don’t believe I’m in complete contradiction with Mr. Iordache. I’m waiting to see. Many statements are made in election campaigns, let’s wait and give everyone the benefit of the doubt,” Raluca Pruna said.
The statement came against the backdrop in which Florin Iordache stated on Wednesday that a parliamentary discussion on the amnesty and pardoning law would be auspicious.
“An amnesty and pardoning law was not backed by us in the elections campaign, but such a law, discussed in Parliament, would be auspicious in my view. If we come up with such a law, Parliament is the place where it can be discussed and analysed,” Iordache told journalists on Wednesday, after he was heard in Parliament.
Outgoing minister Raluca Pruna discussed with the new minister the system’s urgencies.
“We talked about urgencies, the urgencies are included in my review, which is still on the ministry’s webpage. Two things are important: for what was started and the package of justice laws to be continued, it’s a package of laws prepared by CSM, on which the magistrates were clearly consulted and which we left for this Parliament to adopt. It was a proper delivery-receipt process. He had questions and of course I answered them. I’m confident,” Raluca Pruna stated.
In what concerns the magistrates’ responsibility, Pruna said: “I don’t believe there are magistrates, today in Romania, who issue convictions on orders. I’m saying this as a person that has at least 12 years of experience with this system. Today, the Romanian magistracy is not what the magistracy was many years ago. I believe the system is working and that this is a test for the system too. The system will have to show it is mature, independent, we all want an independent judiciary.”