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August 4, 2021

Judiciary overhaul bill released on Justice Ministry’s website in form referred to CSM for approval

The Justice Ministry released Wednesday evening the bill amending the Justice package, in the form sent by JusMin Tudorel Toader to the Superior Council of Magistrates (CSM) for approval.

“The bill is aimed at amending mainly the provisions regarding the professional assessment, the promotion to execution positions in courts and prosecutor’s offices, the appointment to management positions of the courts and prosecutor’s offices, at regulating the situations where the magistrates are unable to perform their duties, as well as streamlining the management of the courts and prosecutor’s offices,” states the substantiation note of the bill posted on the Justice Ministry’s website.

The bill contains a set of amendments previously announced by JusMin Tudorel Toader, including the Prosecutor General and the chief prosecutors of the anti-corruption agency DNA and the organized crime agency – DIICOT being appointed by CSM at the proposal of the Minister of Justice, the switch of the Judicial Inspection under the authority of the Ministry of Justice and the establishment of a specialized department for prosecuting offences committed by magistrates.

Regarding the appointment of the Prosecutor General and the DNA and DIICOT chief prosecutors, the bill stipulates that they shall be selected from among the prosecutors with a minimum 10-year seniority.

“The change of the formula of appointment to these positions renders efficient both the role of the CSM of protecting the independence of the judiciary and the right and duty of the Minister of Justice to see that the prosecutor’s offices are properly managed. Thus, the special bill tasks the Justice Minister with a role in the appointment of the above-mentioned prosecutors in managerial positions, conferring substance to the provisions of Article 132 Para (1) of the Constitution, which stipulates that prosecutors shall carry out their activity according to the principles of legality, impartiality and hierarchical control under the authority of the Minister of Justice,” states the substantiation note.

According to the same source, the Minister of Justice shall be responsible for selecting the candidates for the managerial positions, having the obligation to submit at the end of the procedure at least two nomination proposals, whereas CSM shall decide on the appointment in a transparent procedure.

Regarding the Judicial Inspection, the bill stipulates that this body shall switch from under the authority of CSM to that of the Ministry of Justice in a move meant “to ensure the enforcement of the principle of the balance of powers in the state and their exercising mutual control.”

“The substantive aspects regarding the disciplinary procedure before the Judicial Inspection and the section of the Superior Council of Magistrates remain in force, but those concerning the organization and operation of the Judicial Inspection are taken over, only with the modifications brought about by the Inspection’s reorganization, in Law No. 304/2004 on judicial organization. Certain changes have been introduced regarding the statutes of the inspectors within the Judicial Inspection, providing explicitly that the judicial inspectors are appointed by position-filling competition for a four-year term, and are selected from those with at least 10 years of seniority in magistracy,” mentions the substantiation note.

The bill also provides that within six months after the law’s coming into force, the organization and functioning of a special department of the Prosecution Office attached to the High Court of Cassation and Justice shall be set forth under the law, in order to prosecute the offences committed by judges and prosecutors.

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