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September 24, 2021

Prosecutor General Lazar on abuse of office: It should be reworded, but not to make it inapplicable

Romania’s Prosecutor General Augustin Lazar says he agrees with the abuse of office being restated in the Criminal Code to take into account the relevant ruling issued by the Constitutional Court of Romania, but restating it should not make it inapplicable.

“Wordings such as the one describing the abuse of office had been applicable in Romania for more than 50 years without it generating confusion. Things used to be clear until recently, when some objections were raised. I agree with the article being reworded but not to the extent that it becomes inapplicable as law practitioners see it,” Lazar told TVR public broadcaster on Friday.

About officinal negligence, Lazar said it should not be decriminalised because the number of perpetrators is still high.

“Why decriminalising official negligence when there is a very high number of public servants sent to court over official negligence and many of them are indicted? (…) There is a discretionary reflex still common with public servants. When asked why they do certain things they would say because they want to. It is inadmissible to hold a competition for offices at mayoralties with the subjects given beforehand to the contestants only to make believe they are being tested. If we want modern administration, we have to follow high standards of exigence,” said Lazar.

In his opinion, harmonising the criminal legislation with the CCR rulings will continue without any surprises and with all the relevant institutions and organisations being consulted.

“We have set up a working group to look into the existing jurisprudence against the new text demanded to be passed. I am perfectly sure that the working group, together with Justice Ministry and Parliament experts will find the best solution. I have no doubt, and I want to assure everybody, that the legislative process will be conducted without any surprises. (…) Laws have to be wisely instead of hastily designed (…) and at least the law practitioners, those dealing with conflicts of interest, official negligence or abuse of office have to be in the know to give an educated pinion,” said Lazar.

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