Chief Prosecutor of the National Anti-corruption Directorate (DNA) Laura Codruta Kovesi claims “the anti-corruption will be done with” if the current proposals of amendment and completion of the Criminal Codes enter into force, and we stand the risk of going back in time at the period before 2004 “when the decisions regarding cases were made at a party’s headquarters.”
“The anti-corruption fight will be done with, because if we look back in time by 12-15 years at what was going on in Romania in the fight against corruption, we will see that not much was going on. There were no investigations. I believe the latest DNA investigations and the conviction decisions issued by judges in the past years are the reason why the amendment of these laws is wanted. (…) We will go back to the times before 2004, when decisions in criminal cases were made at a party’s headquarters. When a prosecutor is politically subordinated, he/she will not have the liberty to open an investigation, he/she will not be able to conduct a serious investigation and if justice is not independent can never guarantee citizens they will benefit from fair, equitable trials,” Laura Codruta Kovesi told an interview for Libertatea.ro, asked about the way ahead for the anti-corruption fight if the current amendment proposals for the Criminal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code get adopted.
With regard to the talks in the public sphere about the fact that many indicted people have spent a great deal in provisional detention or were put in chains contrary to the law, Kovesi said that the police officer who did not observe the law must be sanctioned but it does not mean that people who commit corruption offenses should not be arrested any more.
“Let us assume that a police officer handcuffed a person without observing the legal provisions. What does that mean? That all people who commit corruption deeds, tax evasion, money laundering should never go into custody? That as a minister you can receive millions of euro as bribe but you cannot be held in provisional custody because a police officer once made a mistake when he handcuffed someone? Let’s sanction the police officer for not observing the law when he put on the cuffs. We are talking about tax evasion and money laundering, we are talking about damages of thousands of euro, hundred of thousands of euro, millions of lei and in these situations you cannot take any preventive measure, but a citizen who commits a theft offense, perhaps a petty one and it occurs in the night or he steals several times, that person can be provisionally detained whereas people who hold important positions and cause damages worth hundreds of thousands of euro cannot even be provisionally detained.This is what we are talking about when referring to such amendments, about the discrepancies that exist,” the DNA Chief prosecutor specified.
When referring to the percentage of acquittals in the cases prosecuted by DNA, Laura Codruta Kovesi showed that it ranges somewhere around 10 percent, but the reasons why such solutions were received must be followed, only this year, as many as 39 people being acquitted upon a decision of the Constitutional Court of Romania (CCR) regarding the abuse of office.
As for the so-called “handcuffs’ show”, the Chief prosecutor explained that there is no “DNA TV” and the institution cannot be held responsible that a person is being filmed when entering DNA’s seat.
CSM’s prosecutors: Amendments to criminal codes to paralyze Public Service Ministry’s ability to defend rule of law
The prosecutors’ section with the Superior Council of Magistracy (CSM) says that the proposals to amending the criminal codes (Criminal Code and Criminal procedure code, ed. n.) will paralyze the ability of the Public Service Ministry (MP) to defend the rule of law, as well as the citizens’ rights and freedoms, and demands the Parliament to delay the unfolding of the legislative procedure in this case.
“The prosecutors’ section with the Superior Council of Magistracy joins and backs the viewpoints recently expressed by the most important prosecutors’ offices structures with the judiciary – the Prosecutor’s Office with the High Court of Justice and Cassation (ICCJ), the National Anti-corruption Directorate (DNA) and the The Directorate for the Investigation of Organized Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT), as well as by the Prosecutors’ Association of Romania regarding the proposals to amending the Criminal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code, lodged within the parliamentary legislative move to implementing the EU Directive 2016/343 of the European Parliament and the EU Council of 9 March 2016,” a release by the Prosecutors’ Section issued on Friday informs.
The representatives of the Prosecutors’ Section express their worry both as regards the way chosen to unfold this legislative process, in emergency procedure, with no transparence and with no previous consultation of the magistrates, and as regards the contents of some of the proposals that will paralyze the ability of the Public Service Ministry to unfold its activity with a view to accomplish its constitutional mission as it is written in Art. 131 paragraph 1 of Romania’s Constitution – that of defending the rule of law, as well as the citizens’ rights and freedoms, in particular against the most aggressive form of legal illicit – the criminal illicit.
According to the source, the lack of transparence and the emergency of this legislative action cannot be justified as long as the implementation term of the European Directive in each member state’s legislation is 1 April 2018, and a large amount of the amendments exceeds this Directive’s exigencies and regulation limits.
“Considering the loyal; collaboration principle among the powers of the state, the Prosecutors’ Section with the Superior Council of Magistracy addresses Romania’s Parliament the bid to postpone the unfolding of the legislative process with a view to consult the general assemblies of the magistrates with the courts of law and prosecutors’ offices and professional associations,” the release adds.
In the prosecutors’ opinion, these advisory moves will ensure both the legislative process’s transparency and the possibility to identify by the legislative the most appropriate legislative solutions to determine and guarantee a necessary balance in any democratic society, between the society’s general interest to be protected from the consequences of the criminal deeds and the legitimate interest of the criminally prosecuted persons to have the right to a fair trial and be presumed innocent until a final sentencing decision
Amending of the Criminal Codes stirs vehement reactions of prosecution services. Kovesi: DNA will shut up shop if amendments to Criminal Codes are approved, they endanger all Romanians. DNA: Devastating impact on criminal probes