Justice Minister Tudorel Toader on Monday asserted that he suggested neither National Anti-corruption Directorate (DNA) head Laura Codruta Kovesi, nor Prosecutor General of Romania Augustin Lazar to resign, but all he did was to evoke “an institution within the Labour Code.”
“I didn’t suggest they resign. I said and asked everyone to refrain from speculating on this issue, and I evoked an institution that exists in the Labour Code. Anybody may resign, nobody is forced to do something against their will,” Tudorel Toader specified at the Justice Ministry’s headquarters.
Romania’s Prosecutor General Augustin Lazar on Monday morning said he will not step down, after the Justice Minister had announced he was going to make an evaluation of the activity of the General Prosecutor and the DNA, followed by measures.
When asked Monday, upon entering the General Prosecutor’s Hqs., whether he intends to resign, Augustin Lazar answered: “I’m telling you only this: I won’t go into public controversy.”
JusMin Toader announces assessment of the activities performed by the Public Ministry and the DNA
Minister of Justice also announced on Sunday at private TV broadcaster Antena 3, that he would meet in the upcoming days, with Romania’s Prosecutor General Augustin Lazar, and the prosecutor-chief of the National Anti-corruption Directorate (DNA), Laura Codruta Kovesi to discuss the investigation related to OUG 13, showing that he did not rule out the possibility that the two resign.
The Minister of Justice was asked what steps he would take after the Constitutional Court released its reasons for the decision which established the existence of a constitutional conflict between DNA and the Government.
“The following days, I will have discussions with the Prosecutor General by the High Court, Mr Augustin Lazar, and separately with the chief-prosecutor of the National Anti-corruption Directorate, on the aforementioned topic, how they related to the law, to the constitutional standard, to the standards of the Venice Commission. In the decision you have seen several paragraphs in which the Commission says that there should be drawn a line between political responsibility and legal-criminal responsibility, that the decision maker, the legislator must have the freedom of choice, the opportunity of the legal act, that the legislator must not have the pressure of criminal liability, that legal acts can be subject to censorship through legal and constitutional procedures. I will discuss separately with them in the upcoming days, to see their point of view,” the Justice Minister said.
Tudorel Toader specified, in response to a question, that he did not rule out that both Lazar and Kovesi resign.
Asked what he would do if the two will not resign, Tudorel Toader said: “I would not like to speculate that I know something about this. I just meant there is this possibility. (…) In parallel, perhaps starting tomorrow (Monday – ed. n.), through my colleagues at the Ministry of Justice, we will draw an assessment of the activities performed by the Public Ministry on the one hand, the DNA on the other. And then, the assessment will have two components: on the one hand, the professional one, the causes, and on the other hand, the managerial, the institutions they lead. After my discussion with them I will make this two-fold assessment, I will determine the measures I’ll take and I’ll communicate my decision to the media.”
The Minister of Justice stated that in 10 to 14 days, he would make his decision public.
Toader on Intelligence Service’s protocols with prosecution authorities: Termination not enough, declassification also needed
Minister of Justice Tudorel Toader said on Sunday evening that terminating the protocols of the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI) with the prosecution authorities is not enough, but that they should also be declassified in order to shed light on the prosecutors’ collaboration with intelligence services.
“As a principle, intelligence services are structures of the rule of law state. Their powers complement other state competencies. I mean we cannot deny the public utility of these services, but we cannot allow them to interfere with the judicial activities of criminal prosecution or the trial, either. (…) The public knowledge is that these are different protocols with different institutions, so if we take a step, let’s carry the job through, not just terminate the protocol with one institution and keep another three or four in force. On the other hand, terminating them is not enough (…) this means they are no longer in force, that they are no longer applicable. But I think it would be more interesting for us to be able to see them, to declassify them for us to know how these structures operated, how the collaboration worked,” Tudorel Toader told private TV broadcaster Antena 3.
Asked if will request the General Prosecution Office, the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) and the Directorate for Investigating Organised Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT) to reassess their protocols with SRI, Tudorel Toader said that, according to his understanding, these protocols are no longer in force.
“As far as I understood from the Prosecutor General, he has already terminated them, they are already no longer in force. I was referring to the next step, of gaining insight into what has been but is no longer in force. (…) I won’t keep such protocols, such collaborations other than within the strict limits of legal competencies,” concluded JusMin Tudorel Toader.