President Klaus Iohannis on Friday sent back to Parliament for review a law on the statutes and responsibilities of the Ombudsman, arguing that the amendments and additions to this regulatory act are likely to cause enforcement issues.
“The Law amending and supplementing Law No. 35/1997 on the organization and operation of the institution of the Ombudsman, as well as on amending Article 16 Para. (3) of Law No. 8/2016 on the establishment of the mechanisms provided for by the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities envisages legislative interventions regarding the Ombudsman’s statutes and responsibilities, the responsibilities and the structure of the National Mechanism for the Prevention of Torture, the statutes of the staff of the Ombudsman institution, as well their relations to other authorities and institutions. Through their regulatory content some of these amendments and/or additions are likely to cause enforcement issues, which is why they need to be reviewed by Parliament,” reads the President’s re-examination request sent to Chamber of Deputies Speaker Liviu Dragnea.
President signs into law bill on mandatory showing before parliamentary inquiry committees
President Klaus Iohannis on Friday signed into law a bill that makes it mandatory for administration officials to show up before parliamentary inquiry committees when asked to.
The bill regards supplementing Article 9 in Law 96/2006 on the statutes of the Romanian lawmakers.
On May 9, the Chamber of Deputies passed an amendment to its own internal regulations to include making it mandatory for administration officials to show up before parliamentary inquiry committees when asked to.
Under the new rules, the inquiry committees may summon before them anyone working with the Government or the public administration who may have knowledge of an action or circumstance that can help with finding out the truth in relation with the investigations of the committees. The summoned people shall show up before the inquiring committee doing the summoning.
In case of unjustified refusal to respond to the summons, the committee will be allowed to propose notifying the leader of the authority or institution where the summoned people work to be subjected to the internal regulations of the authority or institution in question, as it may also suggest notifying the criminal prosecution bodies over the commission of violation under Article 267 of Law 286/2009 concerning the Criminal Code, as subsequently amended and supplemented.
The summoned official may provide a written answer to the injury committee in deliverance of the information requested, or he or she may send by mail any documents or evidence that could be useful to the inquiry committee. Refusal to provide requested information or making available owned documents or evidence that could be useful to the inquiry committee may be taken as obstruction or hindrance to finding the truth, which is enough ground for criminal prosecution.
The opposition National Liberal Party (PNL) and Save Romania Union (USR) have challenged the bill with the Constitutional Court, which overruled the constitutionality objection raised by the two parties by arguing that it is natural for a summoned official to show up and become available to the inquiry committees.