On Monday, Senate Speaker Calin Popescu Tariceanu notified the Constitutional Court of Romania (CCR) about an alleged juridical conflict between the judicial and the executive branches of government, generated by the DNA’s decision to open the Belina case.
In Tariceanu’s opinion, the juridical conflict was generated by the National Anticorruption Directorate’s (DNA) criminal probe into the legality of Government Decision no.858/2013 and Government Decision no.943/2013.
“The document forwarded to the Constitutional Court of Romania points out: the concrete actions presented in the notification prove the existence of a juridical conflict of a constitutional nature between the Government and the DNA – a component of the Public Ministry –, which consists of the start of a criminal prosecution procedure concerning the adoption of some Government decisions. According to the rulings of the Constitutional Court, the adoption of Government decisions is the expression of the original prerogative of the Government,” reads a communique released by the Senate Speaker.
Calin Popescu Tariceanu is asking the CCR to note the existence of a juridical conflict of a constitutional nature between the Public Ministry’s National Anticorruption Directorate on one hand and the Romanian Government on the other; to note the cause of the conflict: the Public Ministry’s National Anticorruption Directorate assuming the prerogative of investigating the circumstances, context, advisability and legality of the drafting of the two Government decisions; to rule that, in the future, prosecutors cannot investigate the circumstances, context, advisability and legality of Government decisions.
The Senate Speaker announced last week that Monday he will lodge the notification with the CCR.
Justice Minister Tudorel Toader stated at the end of September – after the DNA announced it started a probe into the way the Pavel Distributary and the Belina Island was transferred from the ownership of the state to the ownership of the Teleorman County Council, via a Government Decision – that the decision to notify the CCR about the prosecutors’ decision to probe GDs is the Executive’s prerogative, however the Justice Ministry will handle the drafting of the document. Back then, he pointed out that CCR judges will have to point out whether, against the backdrop of a CCR ruling according to which prosecutors cannot probe Government ordinances, prosecutors can probe Government Decisions.
As a result of Toader’s statements, the DNA notified the CSM, deeming that the minister’s statements were liable to affect the independence of the judiciary and that the minister induced the idea that the prosecutors are not carrying out their activity within the legal framework.
A day later, Liviu Dragnea stated that when the Justice Minister comes up with the draft notification the Government will lodge it with the CCR, the PSD leader adding: “if the minister actually comes up with it.”
Nevertheless, Tudorel Toader no longer presented the draft notification within the Government, and, on October 9, following a meeting with ALDE President Calin Popescu Tariceanu, Liviu Dragnea announced that Tariceanu will notify the Constitutional Court instead.
Several hours later, on the same day, Tariceanu contradicted the PSD leader, stating he has taken no decision on whether to notify the Constitutional Court about the Belina case, and pointing out he has only asked the Senate’s services, the specialists in constitutional law, to carry out an analysis in order to ascertain whether there are solid grounds to lodge with the CCR a notification about a potential conflict between the Government and the DNA.
On September 22, the DNA announced that Deputy Premier Sevil Shhaideh is suspected of committing abuse of office at the time she was secretary of state within the Regional Development Ministry, in a dossier according to which, in 2013, through the concerted actions of persons holding public offices, parts of the Belina Island and the Pavel Distributary were illegally transferred from state ownership to the ownership of the Teleorman County and the management of the Teleorman County Council, only for them to be illegally leased to a private firm only a few days later.