The head of the National Anti-corruption Directorate (DNA) Laura Codruta Kovesi said on Friday that should the amendments to the Justice laws be enforced, the anti-corruption fight and the fight against crime in general would be seriously damaged.
“If these provisions came into force, we would categorically be very seriously affected. We, as an institution, have expressed an official viewpoint, sent it to the CSM (Superior Council of Magistracy, ed. n.), the prosecutors and justices have had general assemblies, most of the prosecutors and justices have voiced a viewpoint in what regards this draft law that has certain modifications which would negatively influence the anti-corruption fight at the least, if not the fight against crime in general, because the premises for an efficient fight against criminality are an independent justice system and a legislation capable to provide tools to fight crime,” Kovesi told an interview carried within the Once Upon a Time in Romania project that is being accomplished by the Initiativa Romania, in partnership with Vice Romania magazine, the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom and the Embassy of Canada to Romania, Bulgaria and the Republic of Moldova.
The DNA head also said that this bill is seriously harming the prosecutors’ independence and, with regard to certain matters, the justices’ independence too.
“Yesterday they said in the public space that the Judicial Inspection will be independent, and yet nobody knows who is going to appoint their leadership, which will be the hiring procedure. Under the draft law we expressed our opinion for, the switch of the Judicial Inspection under the Justice Minister would mean exactly this,” Kovesi added.
“My actions as a magistrate were never in breach of law or Code of Conduct”
DNA’s Kovesi also said on Friday that none of her actions as a magistrate have ever been in violation of the Code of Conduct or the law, pointing out that she won’t appear before the parliamentary committee inquiring into the 2009 presidential election because she respects the law and the status of magistrate that provides for the independence of prosecutors in Romania.
“I won’t appear before the committee because I respect the law and respect the status of magistrate that states that prosecutors in Romania are independent. If anyone considers that I have violated the law, that I have violated the Code of Conduct, he may notify the Supreme Council of Magistrates (CSM) or file a complaint as it already has happened before. (…) My actions as a magistrate have never been in violation of the law or of the Code of Conduct. (…) If anyone doubts my having complied with the Code of Conduct, he is free to notify the CSM anytime and have me checked on those specific issues,” Kovesi said in an interview conducted under the Once Upon a Time in Romania project of the ‘Romania Initiative’ in partnership with Vice Romania magazine, the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom and the Embassy of Canada to Romania, Bulgaria and the Republic of Moldova.
The DNA chief reiterated that she has no information on the respective committee’s scope of activity.
“These parliamentary inquiry committees do not investigate criminal deeds, they cannot hand down solutions, issue an indictment or hand down judicial decisions. They can look into certain aspects they come upon in their activity and it is not my job to manage or censure what they have done. As far as that committee is concerned, I received an invitation to appear before it, I looked at the scope of the inquiry committee and replied that I hold no information and know nothing about the object of their investigation. (…) With regard to the announced object of the investigation, I had no information that could have been useful. (…) We are still talking about different powers in the state, none of which can interfere with the work of the others. Prosecutors are independent in Romania, they cannot be investigated or verified by people outside the judiciary,” Kovesi said.