Senate Speaker Calin Popescu Tariceanu held a press conference on Wednesday, addressing the enhancement of Parliament’s intelligence oversight, the president’s attitude in this context and a possible pardon law. At the end of his speech, Tariceanu called on Klaus Iohannis to choose between being held captive by the intelligence services and having a trenchant attitude.
Calin Popescu Tariceanu: “Many Romanians and I lived in the communist hell [and] imagined that after 1990 the citizens’ individual rights and liberties will be fully respected and we won’t end up, not in the darkest of dreams, reliving the dark period of communism, a period in which the law in Romania was made by the Securitate along with the magistracy and the communist party. Today we no longer have the communist party, we have the two other institutions.
“What happened recently shows us a new, less-visible face of the illegal practices of the intelligence services and the magistracy, and severe malfunctions, excesses, abuses within the judiciary. The decision the president took the day before, to discharge SRI’s deputy director, only serves to confirm the things we complained about in recent years.
“What is the intelligence services’ degree of involvement in the judiciary? Based on what laws did the intelligence services expand their tactical field in the judiciary? Parliament did not pass such a law. There are some CSAT [Supreme Defence Council] decisions that came to legislate over and above Parliament and that are illegal, illegitimate, they came to regulate the way in which the services can get involved in the judiciary.
“The president, from the position he holds, must decide whether he wants to be the guarantor of the Constitution and of the observance of the laws, or whether he wants to be the establishment’s man, namely of the services and magistracy. By breaking the law, by breaking the legal norms, by being preoccupied solely with the institutions being strong but not with the citizen; institutions must serve the citizen, we’re not trampling anyone.
“The examples that are piling up lately are ever more numerous. They prove the serious errors in Romania. Because prosecutors did not do their job, judges looked away, innocent people spent ten years in prison, were arrested without being convicted – take Maria Rarinca for example –, things show that the judiciary is functioning defectively and needs reform.
“We have to take the discussion into the area of laws, how do we bring [them] in line with the Court’s decisions, how do we return to normality and to the true rule of law, not to what the president imagines, which serves the fight between political parties. This is unfortunately today’s Romania and when I warned the President, in 2015, that the institutions are functioning defectively, and today it is proven and the President has a certain responsibility.
“I’m asking the President to defend individual rights. If he won’t, I will fill in that role, in my capacity as Senate Speaker. I entered politics for people to feel free and dignified. I’m serving my state by serving my citizens. The Romanian state should take care of people, should understand what their purpose is. We cannot ignore personal ambitions, but in the end they may not lead to a result as the one seen in Romania. A man who is trying to block the activity of Parliament, of Government, only to satisfy his own agenda. We are heading toward a profound political crisis.
“The president should hear this call clearly, should decide what kind of president he wants to be, the services’ captive, as he seems to be now, for reasons we can guess or which maybe are not true and so then the president has the possibility to adopt a trenchant attitude,” Tariceanu added.
“ You owe Romanians some answers regarding modus operandi of institutions of force”
On Tuesday evening, the Senate Speaker said that the head of state, Klaus Iohannis, owes Romanians “answers to some simple questions relating to the modus operandi of the institutions of force”.
“Mr. President, in the middle of this immense scandal, you owe Romanians some answers to some simple questions regarding the modus operandi of the institutions of force. These questions are not only mine, but of the hundreds of Romanians that have addressed me and the Parliament in the hope that they will find justice,” Tariceanu states in a letter to President Iohannis, after the head of state signed two decrees regarding the military discharge and release from office of General Florian Coldea.
The questions addressed by Tariceanu refer to claimed “secret decisions” of the Supreme Council for the Country’s Defence (CSAT), “that offered special powers to the institutions of force regarding the judiciary”.
“Are there other secret decisions of the CSAT through which special powers were conferred to the institutions of force regarding the judiciary, which led to the limiting or infringement of citizens’ rights and freedoms? If so, you have a duty to make them public. What is the level of involvement of the secret services in the judiciary, beyond the general description “The judiciary is a tactical field”? In light of the document presented by the UNJR [National Union of Judges of Romania], you have the duty to state what are the special powers you granted to the services and where their influence on magistrates stops. Are there covert operatives in the judiciary, and, if so, what is their number and at what hierarchic level inside the judicial power?,” the quoted document says.
Tariceanu also accuses the President, in the letter, of conferring special powers to the institutions of force brought back to life using a communist model by former President Traian Basescu and that the current President turned a blind eye to the discretionary powers used by the Supreme Council for the Country’s Defence.
The National Union of Judges of Romania (UNJR) has published, on Monday, a letter referring to the extension of competencies of the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI) in the area of justice, received from the Supreme Council for the Country’s Defence in February 2016, following a request formulated by the magistrate association.
“Arguing that the ‘elaboration and adoption of Law no. 51/1991 was done in an incipient period of post-communist democracy, in which corruption did not gain the hallmarks of a phenomenon’, instead of modifying the law, as it would be constitutional, in 2005 ‘CSAT integrated the problem of corruption in the structure of the National Security Strategy, as a risk factor and security objective’. This artifice, to complete the law by secret decisions, represents a dangerous precedent for the rule of law, hindering citizens’ knowledge of the reach of the competencies of a state institution,” the UNJR release shows.