As many as 66 NGOs, including the Romania 100 Platform, on Tuesday sent Prime Minister Mihai Tudose and Justice Minister Tudorel Toader a letter asking them to scrap a bill amending justice legislation and resume debate on it.
“About the bill posted on the website of the Ministry of Justice, the signatory organisations cannot agree on provisions allowing the control of magistrates by bodies subordinated to politics, strengthening the position of the minister on political decisions regarding the career of prosecutorial magistrates at the top of the Public Prosecution Service, the National Anti-Corruption Directorate (DNA) and the Directorate for Investigating Organised Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT), which will lead to the creation of distinct bodies for the prosecution of magistrates only or which will eliminate the chances of young people under the age of 30 being promoted in the judiciary. Romania needs institutional stability in its legal system. We believe that the proposed amendments actually express the intentions of the Ministry of Justice to recreate levers of judicial control over justice, and that, in fact, make the whole project vulnerable,” reads the open letter posted on Romania 100 Platform.
The signatories are warning that the Supreme Council of Magistrates (CSM) issued a negative opinion on the bill, and that almost 4,000 magistrates have nominally demanded its withdrawal. Given the circumstances, the signatories argue that “it is imperative that the opinion of the specialists be heard” and that “genuine debates are held on the issues to be advanced.”
The 66 organisations also say that the Romanian justice was reformed in 2004-2005 as a precondition for Romania’s accession to the European Union. Back then, the independence of the judiciary was strengthened legislatively and the administrative as well as functional separation of the Ministry of Justice from the Supreme Council of Magistrates was achieved.
The letter also shows that the confidence of the Romanian citizens in justice has steadily increased over the past ten years and that there is no need to reform, but to “improve” the organisation of justice.