Justice Minister Tudorel Toader announced on Wednesday at the press conference in which he presented the conclusions of his evaluation of the activity of the Prosecutor General Augustin Lazar and the DNA Chief Prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi, that the triggering of the institutional mechanism of dismissing them is inopportune.
“Assessing all constitutionality, legality and advisability factors, I’ve considered that the triggering of the institutional mechanism of dismissing the Prosecutor General and the DNA Chief Prosecutor is not advisable at this moment,” Tudorel Toader said.
The press conference in which the Justice Minister presented his assessment report lasted 45 minutes.
Tudorel Toader: I conducted the evaluation without any pressure, any interference, any suggestion from anyone foreign to the Justice Ministry
Justice Minister Tudorel Toader stated at thepress conference that the evaluation of the activity of Prosecutor General Augustin Lazar and DNA Chief Prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi was carried out by him, without any kind of pressure and interference, and that it did not verify solutions reached in case files. He pointed out that the assessment report has 19 pages.
“This evaluation of the Prosecutor General and the DNA Chief Prosecutor occurred against the backdrop in which the Government adopted the emergency ordinance OUG 13/2007, and the DNA proceeded to investigate the circumstances in which the said ordinance was adopted,” the minister said.
He pointed out he asked the Prosecutor General’s Office and the DNA for information, which he received, in full and on time, and, likewise, he had meetings with the heads of the two institutions.
“I’ve seen that there were speculations about the moment in which the two chief prosecutors arrived; I assure you I conducted this evaluation in full agreement with the law and each one of them arrived less than 10-15 minutes after I extended the invitation,” the Justice Minister stated, claiming that the overlap with the U.S. ambassador’s visit was a “pure coincidence.”
Tudorel Toader added that he carried out the evaluation without any kind of pressure and interference and that the evaluation did not focus on solutions reached in case files.
“I conducted the evaluation without any pressure, any interference, any suggestion from absolutely anyone foreign to the Justice Ministry. I did not verify solutions reached in case files, it wouldn’t have been possible anyway. The prosecutor has the authority to decide in relation to an investigation’s fate, he administratively obeys the hierarchically superior chief prosecutor, but they all carry out their activity under the authority of the Justice Minister, authority that hasn’t been discussed lately, unfortunately. One thing must be very clear – in Romania, justice is served by the judge, the independence [of the judiciary] is guaranteed by the Supreme Magistracy Council (CSM), and the authority is exercised by the Justice Minister,” the Justice Minister added.
Premier Grindeanu meets Justice Minister Tudorel Toader before result of his evaluation of Chief Prosecutors’ activity is announced
Justice Minister Tudorel Toader announced on Wednesday the conclusions of his evaluation of the Chief Prosecutors’ activity, after he previously had talks with Prosecutor General Augustin Lazar and DNA Chief Prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi. Earlier on Wednesday, prior to the announcement, Toader informed Premier Sorin Grindeanu about the assessment he carried out.
Senate Speaker Calin Popescu Tariceanu arrived at the seat of Government while the two were having their meeting. In early March, Tariceanu had asked for the resignation of DNA Chief Prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi.
“I’ll meet the minister before the [press] conference and the assessment he will publicly present,” Premier Sorin Grindeanu stated.
Justice Minister Tudorel Toader announced on Monday morning that he will present on Wednesday the result of his evaluation of the activity of the chiefs of the main prosecutor’s offices – the DNA and the Prosecutor General’s Office. “I’ve completed the evaluations. The 14 days expired last evening. I’ll prorogue the deadline by two days, considering I was in Brussels. On Wednesday, at noon, I will hold a press conference and will give you all details,” Tudorel Toader stated.
Asked what would he do if the Romanian President does not agree with possible dismissals, Toader said: “The President has expressed his opinion on repeated occasions, I’ll express my opinion in writing.”
On Monday afternoon, DNA Chief Prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi arrived at the Justice Ministry headquarters, shortly after U.S. Ambassador Hans Klemm met the Justice Minister. Prior to that, the Justice Minister also had talks with the Prosecutor General.
Two weeks ago, the Justice Minister announced he would carry out an assessment of the activity of the Public Ministry and of the DNA, suggesting, at the same time, that the heads of the two prosecutor’s offices may resign as a result of their probe into government emergency ordinance no.13 (OUG 13) and of the Constitutional Court’s ruling on it. Subsequently, Tudorel Toader nuanced his statements, pointing out he did not suggest Prosecutor General Augustin Lazar and DNA Chief Prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi should resign, arguing he simply “evoked a Labour Code option.”
President Iohannis, on JusMin monitoring prosecutors: A very good thing
The monitoring done by the Minister of Justice of the activity of prosecutors with the Prosecutor Office attached to the High Court of Cassation and Justice, the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) and the Directorate for Investigation of Organised Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT) is a very good thing, said, on Wednesday, President Klaus Iohannis.
“I believe it to be a very good thing. If we read carefully the Constitution and the laws, the Public Ministry conducts its activity under the oversight of the Justice Minister. Which is a very good thing and I actually expect the Minister of Justice to support the Public Ministry, the Attorney General, the head prosecutor of the DNA, the head prosecutor of the DIICOT,” said Iohannis in a press statement at the Cotroceni Presidential Palace.
He added that such an initiative, announced on Wednesday by the Minister of Justice, Tudorel Toader, is actually in his job description.
“If they work together, in what we call loyal cooperation, the Justice Ministry and the Public Ministry, things can only go better, different from the year’s start, when they had diverging opinions regarding GEO no. 13,” the head of state added.
Iohannis emphasized that if Minister Toader wishes to monitor the activity of prosecutors, he has full rights to do so.
“I am very pleased with the activity of the attorney general and the DNA prosecutor. The Public Ministry and the DNA are doing their job just fine”, he mentioned.