Justice Minister Tudorel Toader announced on Wednesday that the bill amending the Criminal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code, in order to set them in line with Constitutional Court (CCR) rulings, has been drawn up and will be sent to Parliament. He reiterated that the bill does not set a threshold for abuse of office but “if the lawmaker will later consider he should impose a threshold, he has the liberty to do so.”
“We have drawn up the bill amending the Criminal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code, in order to set them in line with the Constitutional Court’s rulings. The changes strictly concern setting the Codes in line with Constitutional Court rulings, nothing more, nothing less,” the Justice Minister said, according to news.ro.
Tudorel Toader said that the bill does not include a threshold for abuse of office, but “if the lawmaker will later consider he should impose a threshold, he has the liberty to do so.”
“I’ll release the bill without a threshold (for abuse of office – editor’s note), because the Constitutional Court ruling does not talk about a threshold but about the nature of regulating the obligation. I’ll issue the bill with the Government’s approval and I’ll send it to parliamentary debate. It will go through the Judiciary Committees, then through the plenums of the two Chambers. (…) I’m asking you to accept the idea that I know better the content and the reasons of the Constitutional Court ruling on abuse of office, because I was CCR judge and I know the reasons of the ruling, because I took part in its drafting,” Toader added.
The minister added that amendments are being brought to the Criminal Codes in order to set the legislation in line with the Constitutional Court’s rulings to admit challenges and also with its interpretative rulings, through which the Court eliminates the unconstitutional meaning of the text of law.
“We’ll continue to draft other bills, in order to put the whole legislation in line with Constitutional Court rulings to admit or reject [challenges],” Toader pointed out.
When told that ex-Justice Minister Florin Iordache said he does not expect the ministry’s incumbent leadership to improve the criminal legislation currently in force, considering that the Justice Minister interprets the CCR’s rulings “arbitrarily” and says that there should be no threshold for abuse of office, Tudorel Toader responded: “He has the outlook of looking into the future, I have the chance of looking into his past. (…) When the bill ends up in Parliament, where it will meet Minister Iordache, he can intervene on the text of law, considering he also has experience as lawmaker, because we’re the initiators and they are the decision-makers.”
The Justice Minister also said that, just like he pointed out at the European Parliament, the problem was not government emergency ordinance (OUG) no.13 in itself, but it stipulated a threshold of 200,000 lei.
“I said I’ll not include any threshold, because in the ruling there are considerations that state that the threshold makes the difference between a felony and an infraction. The prosecutor, the judge in the court of first instance and the appeals courts, evaluates the damage. The same guilty act may have different social risk. (…) The judge can concretely establish and look at the lower and upper limit when classifying it, depending on particularities,” Toader pointed out.
The minister reaffirmed that he did not say he does not assume a threshold, but that the objectives of the law is to transpose the Constitutional Court’s rulings.
“Repeating my answer, I didn’t say there shouldn’t be a threshold, but that I won’t stipulate any threshold. I said that if the lawmaker wants to set a threshold, he can do so, because we propose and he decides. (…) I said that we are keeping the bill strictly within the limits of Constitutional Court rulings that haven’t been transposed into criminal law yet,” Tudorel Toader added.
Asked what changes are being brought to the Criminal Codes, Tudorel Toader said that they were all ascertained after a tally was made of CCR rulings issued but not transposed.
The Justice Minister said that the changes include changes to Article 5 of the Criminal Code, which concerns the enforcement of the more favourable criminal law, to Article 159, Paragraph 3 on the reconciliation of the parties, but also to the Criminal Procedure Code, in the sense of clarifying the situation in which a person who was arrested before can be placed under pre-trial arrest again.