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September 30, 2020
JUSTICE

Justice Minister: I had talks with Grindeanu and Dragnea on amending Criminal Codes

Justice Minister Tudorel Toader had talks with Liviu Dragnea and Sorin Grindeanu on the amending of the Criminal Codes. In a statement for Realitatea TV, Toader pointed out on Sunday that the bill will be drafted by his subordinates. The minister avoided commenting on the bill granting pardons and saying whether this act of clemency will also include those who received suspended sentences, as did PSD President Liviu Dragnea.

“What we are considering, what we must immediately do, is setting the Criminal Code stipulations in line with the recent CCR [Constitutional Court] decisions,” Toader said.

Asked whether he talked with Premier Sorin Grindeanu or with PSD President Liviu Dragnea in this sense, the minister said: “Broadly, there were several talks. But our talks aside, it’s an obligation stemming from the Constitution. If we do not modify the legislation immediately, what is the effect? The norm declared unconstitutional is suspended for 45 days, after which it ceases its effects.”

Unlike his predecessor Florin Iordache, who wrote the bill with the sole help of his aide, Tudorel Toader said he will work on the legislative act alongside Justice Ministry experts. In what concerns another controversial bill, the bill on the granting of pardons, for suspended sentences too, Toader said:

“This bill concerning the granting of pardons has an initial form. Throughout its drafting, it experienced and maybe will experience many modifications.”

Asked whether it would be normal for a pardoned person to then hold public office, Toader said:

“The question is difficult. With the delimitation between normal, moral and juridical norm. I’m cautious responding because there is a stipulation concerning what you are asking me.”

The Justice Minister also talked about the amendments that should be brought to the magistrates’ accountability, saying that they will be brought transparently, without any hidden agendas.

 

“In one month and a half at most, I will present Gov’t a bill setting criminal legislation in line with CCR decisions”

 

On Friday, Tudorel Toader announced that in one month and a half at most, he will present the Government with a bill that would then be sent to Parliament, for debate, in order for the criminal legislation to be set in line with Constitutional Court (CCR) decisions.

“In terms of time horizon, just yesterday I was talking with my Justice Ministry colleagues, we intend to present the Government – in one month, a month and a half – with a draft, a bill that would be endorsed by the Government and would be sent to Parliament for debate. In other words, there is an obligation on one hand, and parliamentary debate on the other, ruling out the idea of emergency ordinance,” the Justice Minister stated on Friday for Radio Iasi, news.ro informs.

He said that amending the criminal legislation is “the work of the lawmaker” and that setting the legislation in line “appears as an objective necessity, meaning it’s no longer an issue of opinion.”

Asked whether there will still be a threshold in what concerns abuse of office, such as the RON 200,000 threshold included in OUG 13, Minister Tudorel Toader answered: “The Constitutional Court decision has a body and several considerations. What does the body of the decision say? That a civil servant will be held accountable for malfeasance in office when he will be reproached with failure to carry out a duty, but a legal duty, namely one stipulated in an ordinary organic law, emergency ordinance or simple ordinance, or when he will be accused of failure to carry out that duty. (…) The lawmaker must set a minimum threshold below which the responsibility is disciplinary, and over which the responsibility can be of a criminal nature.”

In what concerns the need to amend the Codes based on the prison overcrowding argument, the Justice Minister said that “criminal policy has a preventive character” and “if we look in the history of Romanian criminal law there were relatively many acts of clemency.”

“If we look in the legislations of other modern states, there are moments in which the national criminal lawmaker comes up with a law granting pardon or amnesty. We’ve all also seen that the European court, the European Court of Human Rights, says that the Romanian state can resort to the act of clemency – pardon/amnesty – by giving as examples other states, namely Italy, which resorted to the remittal of the crime or the remittal of holding someone criminally accountable, I repeat, pardon or amnesty. Hence, since we have these criminal law institutions in the Criminal Code, obviously pardon and amnesty, they aren’t there just for the sake of being described and are there as institutions, I repeat, in order for the lawmaker in his criminal law policy to be able to use them at one point,” the Justice Minister added.

He also added that “if the lawmaker deems that an act of clemency is advisable for criminal law policy, for society, obviously he can use it, on one condition: to observe constitutional exigencies.”

Asked whether the adoption of a law on the magistrates’ accountability is called for, Tudorel Toader said that “unavoidably, adjustments, modifications, improvements, the lifting of the standard of accountability, of responsibility, are necessary.”

“I believe modifications concerning the accountability of magistrates are also necessary in this dynamic,” Tudorel Toader said.

The Justice Minister added that the Constitutional Court has pointed out that “there is a juridical conflict of a constitutional nature between the DNA and the Romanian Government, a conflict generated by the prosecutors’ investigation into the advisability, legality and the circumstances of the adoption of Emergency Ordinance no.13.”

“The decision (the CCR decision – editor’s note) is beautiful, principled, drawing a line concerning the prerogatives of state authorities, circumscribing something concerning the branches of government, the prerogatives of the branches of government; the prosecutor should stick to probing guilty acts – crimes, and the Government has the freedom to legislate in line with Article 115, Paragraph 2 of the Constitution,” Justice Minister Tudorel Toader said, news.ro informs.

 

 

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