The parliamentary committee of inquiry into the presidential elections of 2009 has sent a letter to Justice Minister Tudorel Toader, accusing DNA Chief Prosecutor Codruta Kovesi of committing a disciplinary infraction by refusing to go before the committee, and asking him to order the necessary measures.
The letter, signed by PSD’s Oana Florea, Committee Chairwoman and Lower House member, presents the history of invitations sent to DNA Chief Prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi and her repeated refusals to show up before the committee, delivered via letters sent to the committee.
Against the backdrop in which the dispute was solved via a Constitutional Court of Romania (CCR) decision and Kovesi once again refused to go before the committee, Oana Florea accused Kovesi of deliberately infringing a Constitutional Court decision, which represents a disciplinary infraction for magistrates.
“We consider that, through her refusal to come before the parliamentary committee of inquiry, committee designated by the Romanian Parliament as part of its oversight function, Ms Laura Codruta Kovesi, Chief Prosecutor of the National Anticorruption Directorate, has broken the oath stipulated by the Constitution and the provisions of CCR Decision no.611/2017, committing a disciplinary infraction, according to the stipulations of law no.303/2004 on the statute of judges and prosecutors. (…) Consequently, we ask you to order the measures you deem necessary in this situation,” reads the letter sent to Tudorel Toader.
In support of these accusations, the Committee reiterates some of the reasoning of Constitutional Court Decision no.611/2017, which Florea believes “establishes the obligation for a person who holds an office of leadership within a Romanian state authority” to go before a parliamentary committee.
Tudorel Toader is asked to take measures in this case since the Statute of Magistrates stipulates that the Justice Minister exercises oversight over prosecutors and nominates a candidate for the office of Chief Prosecutor of the DNA. The oath that prosecutors take when joining the magistracy – namely to observe the country’s Constitution and laws – is also mentioned, as is the legal provision according to which a magistrate’s failure to observe CCR decisions is considered a disciplinary infraction.
On November 14, the DNA Chief Prosecutor responded to the inquiry committee’s invitation, stating she does not hold information or documents that could help clarify the situation, and suggested that her presence before the committee is groundless.
“Concerning your address no.4c-30/139 dated 13 November 2017, I reiterate my conviction that the objective of the Senate and Lower House’s special committee for the inquiry of aspects pertaining to the way the 2009 presidential elections were organised and to their result consists of ‘analysing and clarifying situations of fact, relevant social aspects or phenomena, justified by the public interest in knowing certain realities with reverberations on the social, juridical or political plane.’ In this sense, I inform you that I do not hold ‘information and/or documents necessary to clarify the circumstances and causes of the events subjected to parliamentary inquiry,’” reads the letter that Laura Codruta Kovesi sent to the committee.
The day after Kovesi presented her answer, the committee of inquiry decided, by vote, at the proposal tabled by PSD’s Liviu Plesoianu, to send a letter to the Justice Minister, a letter regarding Kovesi’s refusal.
“We’re not talking about our committee of inquiry, we are talking about a principle, about Parliament’s authority and sovereignty, and about the fact that there is an unequivocal CCR decision. The law says that the Justice Minister exercises hierarchical oversight over prosecutors. At the same time, there is law no.303, article 99, letter ş), which talks about failure to observe CCR decisions and ICCJ rulings, this is what our letter to the Justice Minister will be based on. Like the CCR also says, we cannot establish sanctions, but only present facts, the final decision belonging to the Justice Minister,” PSD’s Lower House member Oana Florea, chairwoman of the committee of inquiry into the presidential elections of 2009, stated.