Romania’s Prosecutor General Augustin Lazar stated on Tuesday he has no reason to resign, after the assessment carried out by the Justice Minister into the activity of the High Court of Justice’s Prosecutor’s Office, pointing out he is optimistic and is doing his duty in line with the job description.
Arriving at the Supreme Magistracy Council (CSM) headquarters, Augustin Lazar said he has not talked with Justice Minister Tudorel Toader since he last met him on March 15.
Asked whether he intends to resign, before the conclusions of the verifications carried out by the Justice Minister are announced, Augustin Lazar said: “Why should I resign? Prosecutors carry out their mission exactly as stipulated by law, prosecutors are relaxed, they don’t watch talk-shows and carry out their mission, their job… I’m optimistic and I’m doing my duty in line with the job description.”
Justice Minister Tudorel Toader stated on Tuesday that the verifications carried out at the High Court of Justice’s Prosecutor’s Office and at the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) are nearing the end and the conclusions and arguments that led to the conclusions will be published on deadline. Referring to President Klaus Iohannis’s statements per which he is optimistic in what concerns these verifications, Tudorel Toader said that he too is “optimistic in the rule of law.”
“I said that in the end I will reveal the conclusions of the evaluation. The end is nearing, there are several days to go. I’m leaving for Brussels tomorrow and on the 14-day deadline established I will let you know the conclusions and the arguments that led me to those conclusions. I will give details only at the end of the evaluation,” the Justice Minister said before the CSM’s plenary meeting.
Asked what are the reasons behind the verifications carried out by the Justice Ministry, Tudorel Toader said that, according to the Constitution, “the Public Ministry carries out its activity under the authority of the Justice Ministry.”
Justice Minister Tudorel Toader announced, on March 12, that he will have separate talks with Prosecutor General Augustin Lazar and DNA Chief Prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi about the probe that was being carried out into government emergency ordinance no.13, considering that the probe broke the law, as established by the Constitutional Court ruling, and suggested that he does not rule the possibility that the two might resign until then.
Tudorel Toader added that over a period of two weeks he will assess the Public Ministry’s activity, and will then take a final decision, including in what concerns the dismissal of the two chief prosecutors.
Subsequently, on March 13, the Justice Minister claimed he did not suggest that the Prosecutor General and the DNA Chief Prosecutor should resign but simply evoked an option stipulated by the Labour Code, pointing out that anybody can resign and nobody is forced to work against his/her will.
The Justice Ministry pointed out it has the right and obligation to verify the managerial efficiency and the way Prosecutor General Augustin Lazar and DNA Chief Prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi carried out their prerogatives, in line with the law on the organisation of the judiciary.
Thus, according to Article 69, Paragraph 1 of the law on the organisation of the judiciary, the Justice Minister can exercise oversight over prosecutors – whenever he considers it necessary, at his own initiative or at the request of the Supreme Magistracy Council – through prosecutors designated by the Prosecutor General of the High Court of Justice’s Prosecutor’s Office or by the Chief Prosecutor of the National Anticorruption Directorate, by the Chief Prosecutor of the Directorate for the Investigation of Organised Crime and Terrorism or by the Justice Minister, the Justice Ministry pointed out. According to Paragraph 2, the oversight consists of verifying managerial efficiency, the way prosecutors carry out their prerogatives and the way in which working rapports are taking place with those indicted and with other persons involved in the activity pertaining to the prerogatives of the prosecutor’s offices. The oversight cannot concern measures ordered by the prosecutor during the criminal probe and the solutions adopted, the ministry representatives added.
Premier Sorin Grindeanu pointed out that Justice Minister Tudorel Toader is “an extremely balanced” man who has a “free hand” in making things work properly in this field and in setting right what he deems is “not working properly.”
President Klaus Iohannis stated he does not believe the Justice Minister will demand the dismissal of the Prosecutor General and of the DNA Chief Prosecutor. The President said he is “very pleased” with the Prosecutor General and the Chief Prosecutors of the DNA and the DIICOT.
Asked what is the basis of his statements, the President said: “information.” “There is no overture in the sense of dismissal. (…) Let’s wait for the evaluation,” Iohannis repeated.
On March 15, Justice Minister Tudorel Toader met Prosecutor General Augustin Lazar, announcing that “aspects concerning the institutional activity of the High Court of Justice’s Prosecutor’s Office” were discussed.
The Prosecutor General stated that during their meeting the Justice Minister did not ask him to resign and the discussion was “very clarifying and positive, which is good.”
JusMin Toader says chief corruption prosecutor, head of Public Prosecution to be assessed as part of ministry’s prerogatives
Justice Minister Tudorel Toader said Tuesday that the assessment of the head of the National Anti-Corruption Directorate (DNA) and the Public Prosecution Service will be done as part of the prerogatives of the Justice Ministry.
“You obviously know the answer to the question, but I will give you a generic answer. Under the Constitution, the Public Prosecution Service operates under the authority of the Justice Ministry,” Toader said at the main offices of the Supreme Council of Magistrates (CSM) in response to a question from journalists about the reason behind the start of the job assessment of the heads of the DNA and the Prosecution Service.
He added that he will meet the 14-day deadline announced for the presentation of the assessment conclusions.
“I will make known the conclusions of the assessment at the end. The end is nearing in; I am leaving for Brussels tomorrow, but I will introduce to you the conclusions and arguments behind them having led me to such conclusions,” the minister added.