INTELLIGENCE JUSTICE Social SOCIAL & HEALTH

SIPA Archives and control over magistrates stir controversy once again

The sensitive topic concerning the archives of the Independent Service for Protection and Anticorruption (SIPA) is making headlines once again, following journalist Dan Andronic’s revelations and the reactions to his article on the way information regarding the private lives of magistrates was obtained from the said archives and used to control them, article published on evz.ro.

Andronic claims the archives were copied while they were being inventoried by the commission appointed by Monica Macovei and composed of judge Cristi Danilet and National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) prosecutor Paul Dumitriu.

“Why was Catalin Predoiu silent? Because, up to a certain point in history, all of them used this endless oasis of documents. What are we talking about? About proof that documents from the SIPA archives were copied while they were being inventoried by the commission appointed by Monica Macovei. About proof that the dossiers of certain magistrates were stolen and destroyed, magistrates that subsequently advanced up to the highest hierarchical level,” Andronic wrote on evz.ro.

Dan Andronic claims he saw several documents and discussed with several insiders, the first inventory commission being set up during Monica Macovei’s term in office, in March 2006, and functioning until the end of that year. The commission’s role was allegedly to set the archives in order based on archive ordering criteria.

“It’s just that those criteria meant the destruction of the filing index used for archives such as SIPA’s and the use of inventorying criteria that made any search impossible. Subsequently, it was noted that the commission did not fully perform its duties because after it set the archives in order it ignored the second obligation stipulated by Government Decision no.127/26.01.2006, which clearly specified that, after the inventorying, these documents were to be handed over to the National Archives, the national security institutions etc.,” Andronic writes.

Consequently, a second commission was set up in 2007, whose membership included judge Cristi Danilet and prosecutor Paul Dumitriu. Andronic claims that he can “confidently” say, based on the documents seen and the statements made by insiders, that Cristi Danilet was involved in the copying and destruction of documents. The journalist claims that the two magistrates did not draft official reports or reports concerning the SIPA archives, trying to avoid leaving any traces.

Subsequently, the journalist claims, another commission was set up, chaired by Dumitriu and tasked with handling classified information. Andronic points to a report authored by ex-Justice Minister Catalin Predoiu, according to which the members of the commission took out documents they handed over to Macovei, adding that there are no clues pointing to them being returned.

“A former member of the commission told us that, as far as he recalls, the archives had a highly-performant copying machine that was used to copy many documents, that the intelligence reports had erasures and even handwritten annotation, belonging most likely to judge Cristi Danilet,” Andronic wrote.

Andronic cites sources saying that 12-14 dossiers were taken out of the archives, belonging to magistrates that subsequently reached the highest hierarchical levels. During the year in which the documents were allegedly stolen, the Romanian Intelligence Service’s surveillance cameras, located within the building, were not operational for a period of three months, Andronic added.

 

Justice Minister Tudorel Toader on SIPA: If information turns out to be true, those who made copies will have to be held accountable

 

Justice Minister Tudorel Toader stated on Monday, after the debate on the Penal Codes, that if journalist Dan Andronic’s statements turn out to be true then those who copied the SIPA archives must be held accountable.

“The archives are under conservation. It’s currently secured by the National Penitentiary Administration (ANP). Those who made copies will have to be held accountable, if the information turns out to be true. I have no knowledge of copies being made. After these days, I’ll physically see these archives,” the Justice Ministry stated.

 

Judge Cristi Danilet: I didn’t modify, copy or divulge information from SIPA archives

 

“I didn’t modify, copy or divulge any information from SIPA Archives documents. Monica Macovei is the one who dissolved SIPA and she had no information on magistrates. Immediately after taking over her mandate, in December 2004, Minister Macovei appointed a prosecutor at the helm of the former DGPA (currently SIPA) and ordered an end to the activity of collecting information about magistrates. The activity was limited solely to collecting information concerning the penitentiary system. DGPA’s new director presented to Parliament’s special committees a report on the activity of this service,” judge Cristi Danilet wrote on his blog.

The magistrate points out that at the end of 2005 the minister asked the Government to approve the dissolving of the DGPA, which happened early the following year.

“It is, in my knowledge, the only case in which an intelligence service was completely dissolved. A commission for the dissolving of this service was established, commission whose member I was in my capacity as magistrate and adviser of the Justice Minister, to oversee the transfer of documents. Except for the DGPA director, no other member had physical contact with the archives. The entire staff (around 200 persons), made up mostly of intelligence officers taken from other state services, including the former Securitate, was disbanded. All the dossiers, including intelligence reports from the 10 territorial branches, were stored at the central headquarters, located within the National Penitentiary Administration’s building, and the room was sealed,” the judge added.

Danilet points out that he was part of the commission for the inventorying of the archives, pointing out that access was granted in 2007, but no devices or bags were allowed in the room.

“I am not aware of the existence of any copying machine or of documents being stored other than in print. Official unsealing and resealing reports were drafted during the three times we entered the room. The inventorying took place only partially, solely regarding the type of information collected by SIPA, and the report was no longer drafted because Monica Macovei’s mandate was revoked three months after Romania joined the EU. New [Justice] Minister Chiuariu changed Macovei’s order and it seems other persons apparently continued this activity. I am not aware of any report about documents missing from the archives; in fact, this couldn’t even be established since the documents were not yet inventoried and were stored just as they were sent by territorial branches,” Danilet said.

The magistrate claims no information from the archives reached Macovei or was used by any member of the commission, such actions being illegal. Danilet said he saw only approximately 300 intelligence reports, with all of them totalling in the thousands and dating from the 2001 to 2005 period alone, the rest having been destroyed under orders from previous Justice Ministers.

“Prior to Macovei’s mandate, SIPA/DGPA also collected information regarding the private lives of magistrates and of other categories of persons who were in contact with the judiciary. Being outraged that nobody was ever held accountable for the illegal activity carried out by this service toward my magistrate colleagues, I decided to draft an official report on SIPA’s activity. Thus, I made the public aware of these aspects through constant press reports (Revista22, pesurse.ro, EvZ) and on my personal blog (here) starting in May 2007, at a special conference organised in 2008 by an association of magistrates, attended by the representatives of some embassies too, and in a book on corruption within the judiciary, published in 2009,” the judge wrote.

 

Macovei: I received no dossier from SIPA archives

 

MEP Monica Macovei, former Justice Minister, claims she never received dossiers from the secret archives of the Justice Ministry’s former intelligence service (SIPA). Her statements came in reaction to an article written by Dan Andronic, who claims information from the said archives ended up in Macovei’s possession.

“I received no dossier from the SIPA archives. I did not photocopy any dossier from the SIPA archives. I did not steal and destroy any SIPA dossier. I did not have any information on judges or prosecutors from SIPA dossiers. I decided to dissolve this secret service since information was circulating in the public space that it was committing abuses. The judiciary did not need a secret service. I decided to dissolve SIPA, and the archives to be inventoried and handed over to the Penitentiary Administration. I was the only minister who decided to dissolve a secret service,” Monica Macovei points out in a press release.

 

Predoiu: Nobody entered the SIPA archives during my term. The archives remained sealed throughout my term

 

Catalin Predoiu, Justice Minister from 2008 to 2012, claims that during his term in office nobody entered the SIPA archives, which remained sealed during the entire period.

“Nobody entered the SIPA archives during my mandate. The archives remained sealed throughout the mandate. Regarding what happened before 2008, I asked the Chiuariu Commission for a report that I sent to the Supreme Defence Council (CSAT),” Predoiu wrote on Facebook.

He points out that he subsequently drafted an inter-institutional written consultation, organised public consultations and drafted a bill which stipulated that the State Archives were to take over the SIPA Archives, a bill that he sent to the General Secretariat of the Government.

“I notice that all the ministers that succeeded me – Corlatean, Pivniceru, Ponta, Cazanciuc, Pruna, Iordache and, so far, Toader – have consented to this procedure, since they didn’t change it,” Catalin Predoiu concluded.

Evenimentul Zilei (EvZ) wrote that a part of the SIPA archives – which allegedly ranges from 10,000 to 21,000 documents, including 3,000 dossiers on magistrates – was copied, while some documents were stolen and even destroyed.

 

Calin Popescu Tariceanu asks Justice Ministry to set up commission to verify contents of the SIPA Archives

 

Senate Speaker Calin Popescu Tariceanu states that the Justice Ministry should set up a commission to verify what the SIPA dossiers contain and to establish whether there are magistrates vulnerable to blackmail.

“I believe access to these archives is regulated. Those who request documents do not do it verbally and one can see whether these archives were accessed in certain moments or not. The most appropriate thing would be for the Justice Minister to decide to set up a commission of inquiry on this topic and for us to see what these archives contain, because they might contain compromising data on certain magistrates, which could be used to blackmail them. If we’re talking about the authentic independence of magistrates, we cannot be convinced this is being practically done as long as there is a risk the likes of the one I’ve mentioned – for them to be blackmailed with information that were possibly stolen from these archives,” Calin Popescu Tariceanu stated on Monday.

The Senate Speaker, who was Prime Minister at the time, was asked about the report on the SIPA Archives. Tariceanu pointed out he does not recall whether such a report existed.

“I can’t tell you I recall exactly the contents of that report, but we can check. Any report sent to CSAT appears in the minutes of CSAT meetings and can be accessed. (…) Ask the relevant person. The Prime Minister is not responsible with this. Since the SIPA Archives were at the Justice Ministry, logically the person who was leading the Justice Ministry at the time must give an answer to this. (…) The Prime Minister doesn’t oversee inventorying activities. I’m very open to talk about this topic, but we must have an organised, procedural, institutional approach. So, we can check what happened to the report, the so-called report presented by Mr Predoiu. I can’t confirm it one hundred percent, because I don’t recall the order of the day and whether such a report existed. If it did, we can check at the Justice Ministry what happened,” Calin Popescu Tariceanu added.

The Senate Speaker says that the issue can also be discussed within the ruling coalition.

“I believe it’s an issue that has to do more with the Government and of course we can hold consultations on these issues at political level, but, first of all, I believe from the area the archives are, the Government’s area.”

 

 

 

 

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