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October 19, 2021

CSM rejects magistrates’ accountability law: Any legislative initiative, ill-timed. No such law for MPs and Gov’t

Superior Magistracy Council (CSM) President Mariana Ghena (photo) stated at the Council’s plenum meeting on Thursday, citing the Council’s point of view, that any legislative initiative on modifying the magistrates’ accountability is ill-timed since it would disturb the balance between the judicial, executive and legislative branches of government.

The first item on the order of the day of the Superior Magistracy Council’s plenum meeting on Thursday was the adoption of an institutional point of view on the independence of the judiciary from the standpoint of the magistrates’ accountability and of financial independence. The point of view was read out by CSM President Mariana Ghena, who claimed that an initiative on the magistrates’ accountability is ill-timed and risks disturbing the balance between the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government.

The CSM plenum’s point of view was adopted after the magistrates’ associations were consulted.

“The independence of the judiciary represents an essential component of the rule of law in which the three branches of government – legislative, executive and judicial – must be in a permanent balance. The Council emphasises that the current legislation regulates the magistrates’ accountability under a triple form: disciplinary, penal and civil.

“The adoption of other legal stipulations on this aspect is not necessary. Another regulation, which has no correspondent in similar forms of accountability for the members of the other two branches of government, the legislative and executive, represents in itself a disturbance of the balance between them, with serious consequences for the proper functioning of society,” Mariana Ghena stated.

The CSM President pointed out that the judiciary “has proved throughout time that it has the capacity to self-regulate,” including by censuring magistrates in the three aforementioned forms, being in fact the only branch of government that has regulated a form of accountability.

In CSM’s opinion, any legislative initiative whose goal is to target the magistrates’ accountability on coordinates other than those already in existence is ill-timed at this moment.

“In its turn, the Superior Magistracy Council commits to identify, solve and firmly censure the cases in which magistrates are breaking the law,” Mariana Ghena added.

In what concerns the judiciary’s financial independence, CSM commits to intensify the overtures to take over the courts’ budget from the Justice Ministry.

Justice Minister Florin Iordache stated on January 6, at the CSM, that a magistrates’ accountability law is needed and could enter Parliament’s debate in February at the latest, after he has talks with the representatives of the judiciary.

Former CSM President Mircea Aron stated at the meeting marking CSM’s new make-up that attempts will be made to modify the magistrate’s statute, which should not become a humiliation.

On this topic, Supreme Court President Cristina Tarcea stated on January 6, at the end of CSM’s plenum meeting, that she agrees with the improvement of the law on magistrates’ accountability only if a law on lawmakers’ accountability and one on the Government’s accountability are also proposed.

In his turn, Prosecutor General Augustin Lazar said that at this moment the magistrates’ accountability is regulated both by the Constitution and by other laws, its modification not being an urgency.

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