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September 16, 2021

Acting Justice Minister Birchall: Gov’t stance on GEO No. 13 categorical, act scrapped for good

Acting Minister of Justice Ana Birchall said that the Government’s stance on Emergency Ordinance (GEO) No. 13 is categorical and official and will be stated in Parliament too: the piece of legislation has been repealed for good. Birchall underscored that she wants to engage in dialogue with all the factors involved, including on the subject of the Criminal Codes, in order to jointly find the best solutions to keep the judiciary running smoothly.

“As I was saying yesterday too, we are in a process of priority assessment, both for the ministry and for the judiciary. I reiterate that I want us very much to sit at the same table and find the best solutions for justice to operate seamlessly,” Ana Birchall said on Saturday at the headquarters of the Justice Ministry.

She mentioned again that on Monday she will initiate dialogue on the already announced subjects and that she will broadly reach out to all factors, seeking the opinion of the civic milieu, journalists accredited to justice institutions, NGOs, the Judges Association, and the Judges Union.

Asked if she will take in to account the opinion of the Supreme Council of the Magistrates (CSM), given the negative opinion the Council had issued on GEO No. 13/2017, Birchall said: “The Government’s point of view on this ordinance has been sufficiently clear, I think, and this will also be its stance in Parliament debates in the coming period, next week, or depending on when they are scheduled.”

“Ordinance No. 13 has been repealed and this is the Government’s official stance. I very much want us to also proceed with calm, balance, transparency, professionalism, using each our expertise to a review of the Codes,” the acting Minister of Justice told Digi 24 television broadcaster.

Birchall added that as a law professional but also as a common citizen she doesn’t think it’s normal for laymen to decide which Constitutional Court decision is binding and which is not.

“I don’t think it’s normal, and I’m talking as a law professional, as a Bachelor of Laws, but also as a citizen of Romania, I don’t think it’s normal that we decide which ruling of the Constitutional Court is binding and which is not. I hereby express my regret that not all the provisions have been harmonized last year, when certain CCR rulings were transposed into national legislation, but this is already a different subject,” said Birchall.

She pointed out that she wants a constructive , transparent relationship with mass media.

“I won’t ever comment on the substance of one law or another before I consult with everyone who duly has a say on the matter and I am also talking here about those who should defend human rights in Romania and those who must enforce the law. (…) I say this again, the principle is the same, protecting human rights in Romania, just as in any country, but also the legal instruments required by those who must fight corruption, enforce the law according to the principles of justice and see to the proper operation of Romania’s judiciary, said Birchall underscoring that the unfailing functioning of justice in Romania is everybody’s desire.

The acting Justice Minister assured that she will take no measures whatsoever to hinder the fight against corruption.

“This is assumed by our government, if you just look at the governing program. We are now assessing the priorities we need to implement in the next period. A colleague in the ministry suggested me to take a closer look at court infrastructures, there are relevant projects underway. To the best of my ability, during this term I’ll act as I always did, in the same good faith, responsibility, professionalism, and with the same exigency,” Birchall said.

She underscored that her major goals during her fixed term as JusMin are ensuring the proper course of the Ministry’s current activity and putting effort into bringing everyone at the same table, as she consider this to be an important aspect.

In conclusion, Birchall said that she will spend a part of this Saturday at the ministry to study the documents relevant to the subjects she plans to approach next week.

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