PSD’s Lower House lawmaker Florin Iordache, Chairman of the parliamentary committee on the judiciary laws, stated on Wednesday that the Judicial Inspection must be an autonomous institution and its statute should be regulated by a separate law.
“This bill should establish the Judicial Inspection’s statute as an autonomous institution that would be controlled neither by the Justice Ministry nor by the Superior Council of Magistracy (CSM), and we should find a formula that works. It should not be under parliamentary oversight because then we would once again talk about the political factor. But we can establish, as in the CSM’s case, that the Judicial Inspection should present before Parliament a report on the year that passed. We can discuss before whom it presents this report. Based on a similar principle from the CSM: the CSM comes and present an annual report before Parliament’s joint plenum, the Judicial Inspection could do the same,” Florin Iordache stated at the end of the meeting in which Justice Minister Tudorel Toader presented the package of amendments to the judiciary laws.
In his own turn, Justice Minister Tudorel Toader (photo) stated at the Palace of Parliament on Wednesday that a group formed at the Justice Ministry is working on a bill on the Judicial Inspection, so that the Judicial Inspection would be an autonomous institution, a bill that, when finalised, will be remitted to the special parliamentary committee or will be assumed as the Government’s legislative initiative.
Tudorel Toader told journalists that six months after taking office he had said that, regardless of the solutions, the Judicial Inspection must have enhanced, consolidated autonomy and that there are three options to achieve this: for it to remain at the CSM, for it to be transferred to the Justice Ministry, or for it to become an absolutely autonomous institution based on a special law.
“Why did we stake on the third option today? What has happened since? What has happened is that what I had said has been confirmed, that there’s an incompatibility in this relationship between the auditors and the auditee – the CSM which is drafting the JI’s regulations, the JI that verifies prosecutors, judges, and the CSM that approves the JI’s report. Consequently, all that has happened lately in the rapports between the JI and the CSM, the JI and the entities it audited – it carried out that background audit –, has only served to validate from a practical standpoint what I had expressed in principle on August 23. Therefore, in the final form of the bill I proposed that, within a period of six months, via a special law, the JI should be regulated as an autonomous, independent institution and should carry out the constitutional mission it has,” the Justice Minister pointed out.
Toader did not want to offer details about this law, such as the manner in which members of the Judicial Inspection are appointed.
“We have a team of colleagues from the JM [Justice Ministry] to whom we’ve entrusted this mission to work on, to research the statute of the Inspection’s functioning and organisation on different models that exist in states with consolidated democracy. Consequently, work is being done now at the ministry, we’ll discover, we’ll see the possible options and, the moment a certain option takes shape, we’ll surely present it to you,” he said.
The minister pointed out that the bill that he presented to the special parliamentary committee stipulates that the law on the Judicial Inspection is to be presented within a period of six months. He emphasised that a working group set up at the level of the Justice Ministry is working on this project and, the moment it is ready, the project will either be sent to the special committee or will be assumed as the Government’s legislative initiative.
Iordache-Toader contradictory opinions on the topic of appointment of prosecutors
PSD’s Lower House lawmaker Florin Iordache, Chairman of the parliamentary committee on the judiciary, stated on Wednesday that the existing mechanism used to appoint chief prosecutors could be maintained, claiming that in his opinion this is a functional formula. The statement comes to contradict Justice Minister Tudorel Toader, who presented to the committee clear arguments in favour of amending the procedure for appointing chief prosecutors, explaining that this is demanded as part of the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM).
“We want a very clear separation of the magistrates’ prerogatives and career, starting from the regular prosecutor and the regular court judge and going up to the High Court and the Prosecutor General’s Office. We’re talking about the appointment of chief prosecutors because it’s a sensitive topic. I believe following the debates we can find a formula so that it would no longer be said that we’re coming up with changes for the sake of doing so. If we’ll consider that the current formula should not be changed, so that the Justice Minister should be the one who selects, sends [the nominations] to the CSM and the Romanian President – that’s a formula that works, I believe,” Florin Iordache stated at the end of the meeting in which Justice Minister Tudorel Toader presented the package of amendments to the judiciary laws.
Iordache pointed out that, if the mechanism is maintained, requesting a point of view from the Venice Commission would no longer be justified.
“We’ll write to the Venice Commission if, following the consultations within the committee, the proposed formula proposes a modification of the current regulation. If it doesn’t, it isn’t necessary to write to the Venice Commission,” he explained.
Florin Iordache’s statement comes to contradict the opinion of Justice Minister Tudorel Toader, who presented to the committee arguments in favour of amending the current procedure for the appointment of chief prosecutors, explaining that this is demanded within the MCV.
“The problem that sparked the amplest reactions concerns the appointment of the high-ranking prosecutors. We have a regulation in force and we have the first regulation of the 12 regulations of the [European] Commission, with the CVM. Since the top recommendation asks us to find a transparent, robust procedure for the appointment of high-ranking prosecutors, it’s clear the current regulation must be improved. Had the CVM considered the current regulation to be perfect, we surely wouldn’t have had the top recommendation from the CVM Consequently, we’re obligated to perfect the current appointment procedure, that’s why we made the draft opinion procedure request. The Venice Commission will tell us, against the backdrop of our judiciary, of our level of regulations, of rule of law structuring, which is the most appropriate appointment procedure,” Tudorel Toader told the MPs on Wednesday.