The chief-prosecutor of the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) Laura-Codruta Kovesi told AGERPRES in an interview on Wednesday that she has no intention to resign from the helm of the anti-corruption agency.
“I won’t (resign). No way. We’ll go on with our work. Together with my team, we will go on just as we did until now,” said the DNA head.
Quizzed on whether she sees herself doing anything else than DNA, if she plans to stay with the system or wishes to evolve to another field, from her career’s viewpoint, Kovesi answered she could become a mother.
As for the toughest moment at DNA’s helm, she promised she will unveil it at the end of her tenure.
“Requests sent to IJ and CSM can influence or not IJ report validity”
Kovesi also said on Wednesday in an interview for AGERPRES that she has sent certain requests on procedural issues both to the Judicial Inspection and to the members of the Prosecution Section of the Superior Council of Magistrates (CSM), issues that, from the point of view of the DNA prosecutors, may or may not influence the validity of the IJ inspectors’ report.
“We have not yet received a response to these requests. Of course, there are some requests in which we have raised certain procedural issues and we are waiting for an answer to see how they will be addressed. (…) I do not wish to talk about this report until it is publicly disclosed. I do not wish to express anything beforehand. I can give you an example that I do not think influences the conclusions of the report in any way. According to the inspection performance procedure, at the end of the checks, the team must present some preliminary conclusions As chief prosecutor for 6 years, I have read all the reports made by the IJ and, believe me, there have been dozens of reports that I have read. Each time, this procedure was observed, the conclusions were presented in the presence of the prosecutors under control. During the control that took place at the DNA, the procedure was a little different, of course, that does not mean that it is not correct, but that it was different. Part of the team of inspectors orally presented the conclusions, part of the team of inspectors sent a written point of view,” Kovesi affirmed.
According to her, the issues raised do not concern the inspector’s findings.
She argued that all the data, information and documents that had been requested from them were made available to the IJ.
“I can only confirm for you that the inspectors had access to the criminal cases. When they requested certain criminal cases, these were made available. In some cases, all criminal cases belonging to one prosecutor were requested, which dated back a long while, in other cases, the investigators randomly requested other cases. (…). The way the criminal provisions regarding the technical surveillance, namely the interceptions, were observed was also checked. Thus, the inspectors had access to everything they requested, including the criminal cases, regardless of whether the prosecution was started or not,” Kovesi showed.
Regarding the fact that the Judicial Inspection is investigating the prosecutors who inspected the OUG 13 case, the DNA chief prosecutor said that she has not received any official notification so far.
“If one can legislate at 23, why not enforce laws below age 30”
Referring to the proposals to amend the access to magistracy, Head of the National Anticorruption Directorate told Agerpres that if at age 23 one could be a member of the Chamber of Deputies and contribute to the law-making process, then she doesn’t see why a law professional should have to wait until 30 to enforce the laws.
“We don’t know the criteria which this 30-year age limit was chosen upon. There must be an explanation we miss and it’s very hard for me to comment without seeing the arguments in favour of this modification. But I recall that the Constitution says that at 23 years old one can be a member of the Chamber of Deputies in Romania’s Parliament and contribute to the law-making process. So, at 23 one is prepared to make laws. I don’t know if one should wait until 30 to enforce the laws,” Kovesi stated.
As for the anticorruption prosecutors’ fears regarding the modification project of the Justice laws, the DNA head says that there are worries when the magistrate’s status of independence is at risk.
“The moment the magistrate’s independence status is questioned, is at risk by tailoring a bill, certainly all professionals of the judiciary are worried. The fact that the Judicial Inspection gets under a minister’s wand, who might be a technocrat or a political person, we have several situations and examples when the Justice Minister was a politician, in such cases potentially the Judicial Inspection could be politically subordinated, which might interfere, intrude with our activity,” she explained.
As regards a possible “fight” between justices and prosecutors, Kovesi said that this is what some want us to believe.
“I sense no conflict or fight between prosecutors and justices. (…) Anybody could have a point of view regarding a bill put up for public debate. Naturally there could be different opinions, different arguments, but this is not a conflict. Even inside the DNA or even inside the prosecutor’s structures certain pros and cons on certain amendments or proposals existed. That fact that regarding a potential amendment, there are arguments in a certain way or in the opposite way, that doesn’t mean that there is a conflict. So, I don’t sense a conflict between prosecutors and justices so far, but certainly this idea is there, they try to create an artificial conflict in the public space, which does not exist from our point of view,” the DNA head added.
“Prosecutors can debate, with arguments, on bill, like everybody else”
Laura Codruta Kovesi also said on Wednesday in an interview for AGERPRES that she did not believe that prosecutors could be deprived of the right to express their opinion.
“It is obvious that prosecutors do not make laws, they enforce the law. (…) I do not think that, as prosecutor, we are being denied the right to opinion. (…) If there is a bill under public debate, I believe we too can comment just as everyone else – both specialists and the civil society and the citizens who can send their point of view. The fact that we express a point of view when a law we are working with is changing and we can assert, with reasoning, with statistics, what positive influence it could have, what negative influence it could bring, I do not think we can be deprived of this right,” she explained. Concerning the bill amending the Justice laws, Kovesi argued that all prosecutors in the DNA General Assembly considered it a form of pressure on their activity and not only on that.
With regard to the appointment of the leaders of DNA, of the Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT) and the appointment of the Attorney General, Laura Codruta Kovesi says she is unaware of the existence of a grounded study that shows whatever was not good with this procedure.
“In the last 12 to 13 years, all appointments to leadership positions in the Public Ministry have been made in accordance with this procedure. However, what I think should be clarified is the transparent procedure and the selection criteria, as the European Commission actually requests,” the Chief Prosecutor said.
Regarding the idea put forth by the Minister of Justice on the appointment of the Attorney General by the Senate, based on the U.S. model, the DNA leader said that two institutions are involved in the United States procedure – the U.S. President and the Senate.