Romania’s Prosecutor General Augustin Lazar stated on Wednesday that there is no emergency for amending the Justice laws and maintained that the initiators of the new draft are “exclusively” interested in amendments that would provide the Executive with control tools over Justice.
“There is no emergency in amending the Justice laws in an emergency procedure, in a special committee of Romania’s Parliament. Given the current state of the lawful order in Romania and the way the Romanian Justice is organised, it doesn’t require any urgent amendment, without a clear, transparent debate of these laws in front of the public opinion. (…) The initiators of the new draft have evinced an exclusive interest in amendments that would provide the Executive with control instruments over Justice, which is presented as allegedly abusive. The standpoint as to the Justice’s results is different. On the one hand, those who hold an objective outlook see a European Justice, reformed in terms of standards and principles, with a high European level of efficacy in fighting corruption and on the other hand, those who are the object of the Romania Justice’s activity do not view it so optimistically and they deem it is the right moment to amend the Justice laws in a few major aspects that would ensure them control over Justice,” Augustin Lazar stated in an intervention at private radio broadcaster RFI.
In this context, PG Lazar showed that it is imperative the draft be returned to the Justice Ministry so that a transparent debate take place and impact studies be carried out.
At the same time the Prosecutor General underscored the importance of a point of view of the Venice Commission.
“It is quite clear. Given the public dispute on these issues, the Venice Commission, with its highest level of expertise on the matter, must give an opinion and we hear this neutral point of view,” Lazar said.
He also enumerated some of the most dangerous amendment proposals for the Justice laws.
“The Judicial Inspection control to be taken away from the Justice independence guarantor which is CSM [the Superior Council of Magistrates -ed.n.] and placed in a distinct status. Then, a specialised directorate to investigate magistrates, something that has never existed and would suggest the idea that in the Romanian judiciary there exists such criminality that specialised structures for investigating magistrates is required. It is completely wrong and statistics show there are very few magistrates who commit offenses unlike, unfortunately, politicians, about whom we cannot say the same. Then, tightening the conditions for the magistrates’ material liability. It is obvious that magistrates’ bridling is being targeted, lest they make decisions, and so they think twice when they make a decision and they no longer have the respective efficacy when fighting corruption. We have recently noticed that the prosecutor’s status as independent magistrate is especially aimed at and it is known why – if there is no independent prosecutor, there will certainly not be an independent Justice,” the Prosecutor General further affirmed.