Deputies decided the state seek legal redress, through the Finance Ministry, against magistrates who committed errors and on Wednesday evening adopted to this end an amendment to Law 303/2004 on the judges’ and the prosecutors’ statute.
“After the damage was covered for by the state by virtue of the irrevocable resolution given with observance of par (6) provisions, the state takes compensatory legal action against the judge or prosecutor who, in bad faith or gross negligence, made the judicial error causing the damage.
Paragraph 6 invoked in the amendment states that “In order to compensate the damage, the wronged party can only take action against the state, represented by the Public Finance Ministry.”
Previously, the special parliamentary committee on the justice law package had rejected this proposal in favour of an amendment formulated by the National Union of Judges (UNJR) and the Magistrates Association , according to which the state “has the right” to take action against the judge or prosecutor who committed a judicial error out of negligence or bad faith.
The special parliamentary committee on the justice law package decided to amend this law, among the most important changes being the one stating that the head of state cannot refuse the appointment of the president and deputy president of the High Court of Cassation and Justice.
PG Lazar: Amending Justice laws to surely disrupt Romanian Justice
Romania’s Prosecutor General Augustin Lazar stated on Thursday, at the seat of the Superior Council of Magistrates (CSM), that the amendment of the justice law package “will disrupt the Romanian Justice” and “the desire to keep this domain in check is stronger than reason.”
Present at the CSM headquarters, PG Lazar was asked by journalists how he explains the way deputies voted the amendments to the law on magistrates’ statute.
“I could not characterise the activity of the Chamber of Deputies, but one thing I can tell you. The amendment to Justice laws, in the context that we all see, in these inadequate conditions and without any impact studies on the results it might produce, will most certainly disrupt the Romanian Justice. This is something anyone of good faith can notice, one doesn’t need to be a legal expert to understand these things. It appears though, that the desire to keep the justice in check is stronger than reason,” the Prosecutor General said.
“JusMin should never instruct prosecutors how to investigate”
He said also that the Justice Minister should never tell prosecutors what to do in the course of investigations.
“The administrative authority should be the only with direct higher competence and that should be all. It should see to the human resources required by the prosecution, the financial resources the Public Prosecution Office needs to work properly, whether the relations with the litigant parties are correct and that’s it,” Lazar said upon leaving the Supreme Council of Magistracy, when asked about the amendment according to which the prosecutors should act under the direct authority of the Justice Minister.
UNJR’s Girbovan: Directorate for Investigation of Criminal Offenses in Justice, shielded from any political decision
The president of Romania’s National Judges Union (UNJR) Dana Girbovan maintains that the Directorate for the Investigation of Criminal Offenses of Judges and Prosecutors, due to be set up within the Prosecutor’s Office is “completely shielded from any politician’s decision.”
In a Facebook post, Dana Girbovan refers to UNJR’s proposal sent to the parliamentary committee headed by Florin Iordache of setting up a Directorate for the Investigation of Criminal Offenses of Judges and Prosecutors.
“Despite all slogans voiced by some people in politics or the press, that Justice will be politically seized through this directorate, it can be noticed that this directorate is completely shielded from any politician’s decision. If appointments for the prosecutor general or directorates’ chief prosecutors positions are made with manifest political contribution (the proposal is made by the Justice minister and the appointment by the President), in this directorate’s case, the appointment of the prosecutor general is made by the CSM (Superior Council of Magistracy, ed. n.) plenary. Moreover, the CSM plenary also appoints the prosecutors that will work in this directorate. The appointment is made following a completely transparent procedure, including a live-broadcast interview. The selection pool is among 18-year-on-the-job prosecutors, in minimum rank of Court of Appeal. Seniority and rank will bring a plus of professionalism and experience. In their assessment, their previous activity will count, including the number of acquittals, restitutions, convictions, the way they led their investigations,” Dana Girbovan writes.
The UNJR president further shows that the appointment of these prosecutors in this directorate will cover three years with only one possibility of re-appointment.
“In order to enhance the prosecutors’ independence guarantees, this directorate will only carry out criminal investigation, following that the prosecution be conducted, depending on the situation, by prosecutors with the prosecutors’ offices of the courts of appeal or the judicial department of the Prosecutor’s Office with the ICCJ [High Court of Cassation and Justice – ed.n.]. Such structure, completely protected from any political decision will provide further guarantees of independence not just to judges but also to prosecutors,” Girbovan says.