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March 6, 2021
JUSTICE

JusMin Toader on justice legislation: I’ve received a new set of proposals from the Supreme Court

Justice Minister Tudorel Toader on Tuesday said he received a new set of proposals from the Supreme Court of Justice that differs from that submitted by the Supreme Council of Magistrates (CSM).

“I will release a press statement today, given that my understanding was that the CSM proposals were also those of the Supreme Court magistrates. On Friday, I received a new set of proposals from the Supreme Court,” Toader said Tuesday upon entering the headquarters of the Justice Ministry.

CSM has suggested a series of amendments to a bill amending and supplementing the law on the statutes of judges and prosecutors including the impossibility on the part of Romania’s President to reject CSM’s proposals for the offices of chair and deputy chair of the Supreme Council as well as chief prosecutors of the Public Prosecution Service, the National Anti-Corruption Directorate (DNA) and the Directorate for Investigation of Organised Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT).

CSM last Friday submitted its amendments to the bills amending and supplementing Law 303/2004 concerning the statutes of judges and prosecutors, Law 304/2004 on judiciary organisation, as well as Law 317/2004 concerning the CSM.

One of the CSM amendments says Romania’s President may not reject proposals to the offices of chair and deputy chair of the Supreme Court, repealing from the current law the phrasing “only justifiably and reporting it to the Supreme Council of Magistrates.”

“Article 53 should modify to read as follows: ‘Art. 53 – (1) The Supreme Court’s chairs and deputy chairs shall be appointed by Romania’s President, upon a proposal from the Supreme Council of Magistrates from among the Supreme Court judges having worked at the court for at least two years, having not been disciplinarily sanctioned and having not violated the deontology code.’ (2) Romania’s President should not be allowed to reject the appointment to the executive offices mentioned at paragraph (1),” reads one of the CSM proposals.

In the case of the Supreme Court, DNA and DIICOT’s executive offices, the proposals should come from the CSM and approved by the Justice Ministry, instead of the other way around, as is currently the case.

“Article 54 should modify to read as follows: ‘Art. 54 – (1) The attorney general with the Prosecution Service with the Supreme Court, the first deputy and deputy thereof, the chief prosecutors of the National Anti-Corruption Directorate (DNA) and the Directorate for Investigation of Organised Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT) as well as the deputies thereof should be appointed by Romania’s President upon a proposal from the Supreme Council of Magistrates approved by the justice minister from among prosecutors whose job seniority as judges or prosecutors is greater than 18 years, have not been subjected to disciplinary sanctions and have not violated the deontology code. The appointment is for 4 years, renewable only once. (…)’. (3) Romania’s President may not reject the appointments to the executive offices mentioned at paragraph 1,” according to another CSM proposal.

CSM also aims to amend the participation in competitions for promotion to Supreme Court judgeship, requiring for that a job seniority of at least 18 years as judge or prosecutor, thus increasing by three years the seniority suggested by the Justice Ministry to the same end.

” Article 54 should modify to read as follows: ‘(3) Qualifying for participation in competitions to promote to Supreme Court judgeship should be judges and prosecutors working at the court of appeal or prosecutor’s offices with the court of appeals similar in rank having actually worked as a judge with the court of appeals or prosecutor with the prosecutor’s offices of the court of appeals or the Prosecution Service with the Supreme Court of Justice, including the National Anti-Corruption Directorate and the Directorate for Investigation of Organised Crime and Terrorism, have been assessed ‘very well’ for the last three job assessments, have not been subjected to disciplinary sanctions, have not violated the deontology code and have an actual job seniority as a judge or prosecutor of at least 18 years,” reads the CSM amendment.

CSM also suggests that appointment to the offices of first deputy attorney general, first deputy prosecutors with tribunals, first deputy prosecutors with the prosecution offices with the tribunals for minors and family matters as well as the first deputy prosecutor with the prosecutorial offices with courthouses should no longer be made through competition.

CSM has also put forth an amendment discarding military courts and reorganising military prosecutor’s offices.

“CSM is proposing discarding military courts and reorganising military prosecutor’s offices, to which end it is suggesting the inclusion among the final and transitional provisions in the amending and supplementing bill of the following provision: ‘Within 6 months of the coming into force of this law, the military courts should be discarded, while the military prosecutor’s offices should be organised into parts of the Prosecution Service with the Supreme Court and prosecutorial offices with court of appeals and tribunals.’ The legal provisions concerning the military courts and prosecutor’s offices as well as military judges and prosecutors should be amended accordingly,” reads another CSM amendment.

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