Justice Minister Tudorel Toader stated on Thursday at the Palace of Parliament that for the time being he does not know when the archive of the Independent Service for Protection and Anticorruption (SIPA) may be declassified, considering that he is currently in the research stage and the moment he has all elements concerning the contents of the archive he will set up a ministerial commission to see what should be the next steps.
Asked when may the SIPA archive be declassified, the Justice Minister said he cannot give an exact date for the time being since he does not know what the archive contains.
“I can’t give you an exact date now, because I’m in my own turn researching the history of the setting up and management of the archive. When I have all elements then I’ll set up a commission and we’ll see,” Tudorel Toader said.
Likewise, asked whether there will be a full or partial declassification, the minister reiterated that he does not know what the archive contains.
“I can’t say now whether it will be full or partial, because I don’t know what’s in the archive. If there are state secrets, I can’t declassify them. I told you, if they pertain to the minister’s competence, the minister will declassify them; if they pertain to the Government’s competence, the Government will; if there are state secrets, that’s a different regimen,” Tudorel Toader added.
Previously, Toader had announced on Wednesday morning that he will declassify the SIPA archive “in the shortest of times and in observance of the legal deadlines and procedures.”
‘Evenimentul Zilei’ wrote on Monday 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.
The Independent Service for Protection and Anticorruption (SIPA) was established in 1991, as a structure subordinated to the General Directorate of Penitentiaries, and was tasked with monitoring events within penitentiaries. In 1997, Justice Minister Valeriu Stoica made SIPA subordinate to the Justice Ministry in order for it to deal with protecting magistrates too.
Grindeanu: I support the declassification of SIPA archive and I’m saying it as bluntly as possible
Premier Sorin Grindeanu stated on Thursday that he supports the declassification of the SIPA archive, which should be done in line with the law, pointing out that it is very good for the public to know who had access to the archive and for an end to be put to “the so-called frights and chimeras that various people have.”
“I support the declassification, and I’m saying it as bluntly as possible. In line with the law. There are probably various classification levels for those archive documents. I’ve asked the minister to gather data. He too supports this. Moreover, I believe it’s very good to know – and this is a thing that the minister must and will do – who had access to this archive during this period. I support this overture because we must put an end to the so-called frights, chimeras that various people have, and the best way to do it is by doing this, in line with legal procedures, and I have the conviction the procedures will be observed. In conclusion, I’m in favour,” Premier Sorin Grindeanu stated.
Cazanciuc: I never received information about SIPA archive; I had principled talk with Traian Basescu on this topic
Former Justice Minister Robert Cazanciuc stated on Thursday, at the Palace of Parliament, that he never received information about SIPA archive or about someone copying documents, adding he only had one “principled” talk with ex-President Traian Basescu on this topic, a talk that had no concrete results.
“I never directly received information about the SIPA archive, that someone allegedly copied documents, allegedly used SIPA documents in any way,” the Chairman of the Senate’s Judiciary Committee stated.
The ex-Justice Minister added he had only one talk with then-President Traian Basescu about the SIPA archive.
“I had only one talk with President Basescu, on discussing within the CSAT [Supreme Defence Council] what to do with the archive – do we keep it at the ANP, do we take it to the National Archives? Over the years there were talks – that is also why SIPA was dismantled – that they didn’t do the job legally stipulated, that certain information was used,” the PSD Senator emphasised.
Asked why there were no concrete results following the talk he had with Traian Basescu, Robert Cazanciuc said that they only had a “principled” talk. “It was a principled talk, we no longer managed to put this topic on the CSAT’s order of the day,” the ex-Justice Minister concluded.
“CSAT discussion on future of SIPA archive needed; commission made up of magistrates also necessary”
PSD’s Robert Cazanciuc, Chairman of the Senate’s Judiciary Committee, stated on Thursday in Parliament that there is the need for a CSAT discussion on the future of the SIPA archive, in order to clarify the public’s suspicions, and there is also need for a commission made up of people who have access to classified information, most likely magistrates.
“It’s clear there is the need to clarify certain things. Suspicions have appeared in the public space, they must be clarified one way or another. The declassification of classified information is a complex process, it’s stipulated by law. At the level of the ministry, I don’t think they can access more than work-related classified information. To declassify any secret, a Government decision must be issued. But it’s not necessarily about this, about how we access certain information from the archive, it’s about whether this institution was used for legal purposes or not,” the ex-Justice Minister said.
Robert Cazanciuc claimed there’s the need for a CSAT debate in what concerns the SIPA archive.
“It’s clear a debate within the CSAT is needed, in my view, in order to discuss this issue and see the procedure to follow. A procedure is needed, even a legislative act may be needed, tabled by the Justice Ministry. A commission must be seen [sic], with people with access to classified information, probably magistrates so that there is no suspicion. A CSAT procedure and debate is needed to see the future of this archive and clarify the public suspicions,” Robert Cazanciuc added.
President Iohannis: I’m waiting for MJ’s conclusions, as was publicly promised. It’s interesting how such reheated soups pop up in public space
President Klaus Iohannis stated on Thursday that he does not know what the SIPA archive contains but he is waiting for the conclusions of the Justice Ministry (MJ), as was publicly promised, pointing out that this topic should not remain in the public space for long and that Minister Tudorel Toader should “transparently and trenchantly” clarify the issue. The President noted that such “reheated soups” appear in certain political moments and some become amnesic, others become silent, and others become talkative. He did not rule out the option of having the SIPA archive destroyed.
“I believe here we are dealing with an issue that at the time was not treated with sufficient attention and certainly not with sufficient transparency. This SIPA archive ended up being, through the lack of public information, a kind of great national secret, which I don’t believe it is and I believe the Justice Minister should do everything in his power, but transparently and trenchantly, to clarify this issue. Whether it can be classified [sic] or not is the first issue that must be clarified,” Klaus Iohannis stated.
The President pointed out that the Justice Ministry must clarify what this archive contains and whether there really were leaks.
“It’s interesting to see how such reheated leftovers appear in the public space in certain political moments and how suddenly some become amnesic, others become silent, others become talkative. I don’t believe this is a topic that should remain in the public space for long and I’m expecting the Justice Minister to transparently and trenchantly clarify this issue,” the Head of State emphasised.
Asked whether he agrees with the rapid declassification of the SIPA archive, President Iohannis answered: “I’m waiting for the ministry’s conclusions, just as they were promised, and then we’ll see what has to be done. I’ve also asked the technician colleagues from the CSAT for a point of view, to see whether the CSAT has a say in this issue or not; at any rate, the issue must be clarified.”
Klaus Iohannis said he does not know whether a report was sent to the CSAT back when Catalin Predoiu was Justice Minister.
“In our country, the CSAT is used as a universal remedy, which it is not. The CSAT has the field it deals with, which is national security. I can’t tell you just like that whether a report was sent or not, but this issue can be verified. At any rate, there was and continues to be a service that has these prerogatives at the Justice Ministry, and that’s why I said that’s where the clarifications should come from. Nobody should expect to see us all meeting within the CSAT and debating page by page. The Justice Ministry must come up with a clarification, and if the Justice Minister considers that he must receive an approval or an opinion from the CSAT, he will address the CSAT. There is no point discussing what happened 7 or 10 years ago when SIPA was dissolved and was re-established that summer, under a different name,” the Head of State said.
The President pointed out he did not talk with the Justice Minister about this topic and expects him to keep his public promise.
Asked for his opinion on the proposal to have the SIPA archive destroyed, President Iohannis replied: “This proposal should come from the Justice Minister too. I don’t know what’s in this archive, but I expect to find out. If there is data that no longer has any value then, in order to put an end to the public discussion, yes, this too is an option, for the documents to be melted.”
ALDE MEP Norica Nicolai: Light must be shed by declassifying the Justice Ministry’s report
ALDE’s MEP Norica Nicolai stated on Thursday, at the Palace of Parliament, that light must be shed in the SIPA archive scandal by declassifying the report that the Justice Ministry drafted in 2008, not by declassifying the dossiers, since the report clearly establishes who is guilty for the leaking of information.
“It’s a situation that has been dragging on for a very long time, this information did not appear now; public persons made press statements as early as 2005-2006, I’m talking about Corneliu Turianu, who also filed a criminal complaint because he noticed his dossier was missing,” Norica Nicolai stated.
She claimed light must be shed in this case by declassifying the 2008 investigation report on the SIPA archive.
“I believe light must be shed, I don’t know if necessarily in order for someone to be held accountable, but because we have the obligation to know the truth and the shedding of light begins by declassifying the 2008 investigation report, not the dossiers, because that report clearly establishes who is at fault for the information leak, for the stealing of dossiers, and from then on we can set out on a road that may lead to [uncovering] the blackmailing of some magistrates, considering the information contained by the dossiers,” the MEP added.
Norica Nicolai also said that “declassifying this archive should give all magistrates whose dossiers are in those archives the right to get to know what happened.”
Asked whether the decision to destroy all SIPA archive files would be beneficial, considering that Calin Popescu Tariceanu expressed such an opinion, she said the judges and prosecutors who are the subject of this archive must take a decision in this sense.
“Yes, in my view, because it’s pointless and useful to no one to find out what habits Mr X or Ms Y had. These are elements that were frequently used in blackmail of the communist type. For me, it’s sad that they are frequently used in blackmail of the democratic and capitalist type too. Certainly, the judges and prosecutors who are the subject of this archive must have a say and it’s for them to decide what to do with the contents of those dossiers,” Norica Nicolai concluded.