Justice Minister Tudorel Toader stated on Monday that the assessment of the Public Ministry and the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) was completed within the 14-day period established initially, a deadline reached on Sunday evening, but he will prorogue by two days the announcement of the results, with the decision and all details related to it set to be announced at a press conference on Wednesday.
“I carried out the evaluations, the 14 days expired last evening, I’ll prorogue the deadline by two days, given the fact that I was in Brussels, today I’ll meet the U.S. ambassador, [then] I’ll leave for Brussels again. On Wednesday, at noon, I’ll hold a press conference, I’ll invite you and I’ll give you all the details,” Tudorel Toader said when arriving at the Justice Ministry headquarters.
Asked whether he met DNA Chief Prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi as part of this evaluation, after the talks he had with Romanian Prosecutor General Augustin Lazar, the Justice Minister avoided giving an answer, pointing out solely that this information will be offered at the press conference on Wednesday.
“Same question, same answer: on Wednesday, at noon. (…) Why are you insisting on the same formula. (…) It’s not secret, but it’s part of the procedure I announced, in the end I’ll answer all questions, I’ll give all the possible answers,” Tudorel Toader added.
Asked for his comment on the President’s statement that he is pleased with the activity of the DNA Chief Prosecutor and of the Prosecutor General, and asked what would he do if he proposes their dismissal and will be refused by the Head of State, the Justice Minister said: “The President has expressed his opinion on repeated occasions. I’ll express my opinion in writing and through the answers I’ll give you on Wednesday, at the press conference.”
Justice Minister Tudorel Toader announced, on March 12, that he will hold 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 (OUG 13), considering that the probe broke the law, as established by the Constitutional Court ruling, and pointed out he will take a final decision in two weeks’ time, including in what concerns the dismissal of the two chief prosecutors, but suggested the two might resign until then.
On March 13, the Justice Minister stated 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.
Tudorel Toader explained the evaluations through the fact that, according to the Constitution, “the Public Ministry carries out its activity under the authority of the Justice Minister,” and the Justice Minister has the right and obligation to verify the managerial efficiency and the way the Prosecutor General and the DNA Chief Prosecutor carried out their prerogatives, in line with the law on the organisation of the judiciary.
The Justice Minister pointed out that the verifications into the activity of the Prosecutor General and of the DNA Chief Prosecutor were carried out based on law no.304/2004, but avoided an answer concerning the prosecutor he should have designated for these assessments.
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.
On March 15, Justice Minister Tudorel Toader met Prosecutor General Augustin Lazar, announcing that “aspects concerning the institutional activity of the High Court of Cassation and Justice’s Prosecutor’s Office” were discussed.
The Prosecutor General stated at the time that the Justice Minister did not ask him to resign, and the talks were “very clarifying and positive, which is good.”
President Klaus Iohannis stated he does not believe the dismissal of the Prosecutor General and of the DNA Chief Prosecutor will be demanded by the person who can legally demand it. The President said he is “very pleased” with the Prosecutor General and the Chief Prosecutors of the DNA and the DIICOT.
Meanwhile, present in Brussels last Tuesday, Toader pointed out that the verifications carried out at the Public Ministry and the DNA are nearing their end and the conclusions and the arguments that led to them will be revealed on deadline. Referring to President Klaus Iohannis’s statement that he is optimistic about these verifications, Tudorel Toader added that he too is “optimistic in the rule of law.”
Asked what are the reasons for the evaluations carried out by the Justice Ministry, Tudorel Toader stated that, according to the Constitution, “the Public Ministry carries out its activity under the authority of the Justice Minister.”
Referring to the evaluation carried out by the Justice Minister, Premier Sorin Grindeanu stated on Friday that he has “great confidence” in Justice Minister Tudorel Toader.
“I have great confidence in Minister Toader and I’m waiting not just for this evaluation but also for the package of laws that we should promote in the following period, whether we are talking about that part we talked about all the time, but which does not include solely the pardon law, but it’s a package of measures we must adopt so that the possible ECHR pilot decision that would put us in the situation of paying approximately 80 million euros per year – the figure was calculated by the previous Government – would be avoided,” the Premier stated.
Dragnea: I support Toader regardless of the decision he’ll take about Kovesi and Lazar; the approach must be correct
PSD President Liviu Dragnea stated for Antena3 on Sunday evening that he will support Justice Minister Tudorel Toader regardless of his decision about Codruta Kovesi’s activity at the helm of the DNA and the activity of Prosecutor General Augustin Lazar, but the approach must be “honest, well-argued and fair.”
“I’ll support him regardless of what he says, but on one condition: for his approach to be honest and well-argued, regardless of the proposal or evaluation he will present to the public, because he said in your show that he will carry out an evaluation,” the PSD leader said when asked what are his expectations from the Justice Minister, considering that the deadline the latter had established for the presentation of his assessment was set to expire on Monday.
The Lower Chamber Speaker emphasised that the Justice Minister will benefit from his full support “if the approach is fair, honest, substantiated, argued.”
“He will have my and PSD’s backing. I’m waiting to see his assessment. I didn’t want to give him ideas either, lest someone says I’m giving him suggestions,” Liviu Dragnea concluded.
Grindeanu on Justice Ministry’s evaluation: I expect to have it without interfering with it in any way, it’s not my role either
Premier Sorin Grindeanu stated on Monday that, in his capacity as Prime Minister, he expects to receive the evaluation of the activity of the Public Ministry and the DNA, which will be made public by the Justice Minister, without interfering with it in any way.
“I expect to have this evaluation, which is normal, without interfering in any way, it’s not my role and I maintain this line. Still, as Head of Government, I expect to take note of it before it is made public, without interfering with the said evaluation,” Premier Sorin Grindeanu stated on Monday in Parliament.
The Head of Government did not give any details about the meeting he is about to have with Justice Minister Tudorel Toader.
“I’ll schedule it,” Grindeanu said.