*Initiators: The gendarmes had a “psychological discomfort” because of the current law
120 parliamentarians from the Social Democratic Party (PSD) and the National Liberal Party (PNL) submitted to the Senate a law that grants greater powers to the Gendarmerie, to adapt to the new needs, such as the right to identify people, to perform judicial investigations, car searches and to call or lead people to its premises. The initiators claim that the current law is unclear and it doesn’t grant these powers explicitly, but only implicitly, and for this reason gendarmes had to give explanations because of the “so-called abuses”.
The draft law provides several updates of the current law on the Gendarmerie’s functioning, also granting new powers to the security forces.
Thus, The Minister of Interior, with the positive opinion of the Attorney General of the Prosecution Office attached to the High Court of Cassation and Justice, appoints gendarmes who have the capacity of the investigation bodies belonging to the judiciary police and who will be able to perform investigations.
Besides the power to legitimate people, gendarmes will be also able, by this law, to “establish the identity of the people breaching the legal provisions or on which there are reasonable suspicions that they are preparing or they’ve already committed a crime”.
The draft law allows gendarmes to invite people whose presence is necessary for them in order to perform their duties, as well as to “lead” these people at the offices of the Romanian Gendarmerie’s units/structures, if needed. If these people resist, gendarmes can use force to bring them at their premises.
“In case of non-compliance with the gendarme’s orders, he is entitled to use force”, is written in the draft law.
A new prerogative is the power to stop and check cars; gendarmes will be able to search inside the cars, as well as to perform audio and video recordings of people, in order to submit them to the judicial bodies, especially in case of large crowds, like protests or sports competitions.
Gendarmes will also receive powers related to dangerous animals, being entitled to use weapons or tranquilizers against them, either in the fight against poaching, or in case of intervention.
The draft law also provides that Romanian Gendarmerie can select and train voluntary reservists for its needs, within the limit of the seats provided by the organizational statutes, approved according to the powers; they will be considered militaries.
Initiators wish gendarmes and the contractual staff to have the right to benefit from free psychological assistance, as well as the obligation to submit to regular check.
According to the explanatory memorandum, many of these prerogatives were necessary, because the law permitted them implicitly, but not explicitly.
“In the initial form of the current law in question, it was omitted to specifically include some rights and obligations of the Gendarmerie’s staff, mainly consisting in performing activities that are complementary to the attributions provided by the law, without which they cannot be accomplished”, according to the initiators.
They point out that gendarmes have been accused many times of “so-called abusive” actions, when accomplishing their missions, being victims of the “psychological discomfort”, and for this reason the law must be clarified.
“Not infrequently, the Gendarmerie’s staff has been subject of peoples’ complaints because of the so-called abusive exercise of the mentioned rights (…), causing a psychological discomfort to them, because of the need to come in front of the criminal prosecution bodies, with consequences on the normal performance of their duties”, is written in the explanatory memorandum.
The draft law was initiated by 120 PSD parliamentarians, but it isn’t signed by the leader Liviu Dragnea; also five PNL parliamentarians are among initiators: Leon Danaila, Iancu Carcota, Carmen Harau, Nicoleta Pauliuc and Alexandru Peres.
The initiative is registered at the Senate, and the Deputies’ Chamber will be the decisional body.