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May 17, 2021
JUSTICE POLITICS

Reactions after Tudorel Toader’s report and proposal to remove from office the DNA chief prosecutor. Protests in support of DNA and Laura Codruta Kovesi planned in Bucharest and other cities

JusMin Toader says Judicial Inspection report on chief anti-graft prosecutor, not confidential

 

Justice Minister Tudorel Toader on Saturday said that the report of the Judicial Inspection (JI)  on chief prosecutor of the National Anti-Corruption Directorate (DNA) Laura Codruta Kovesi’s disciplinary investigation that recommends Kovesi be fired is complete and not confidential.

He added that he had consulted with the ministry’s specialists in classified data before making the document public.

“First of all, someone has used parts of the content and conclusions of that report at a news conference. Secondly, the report is published, it is already public in an online law journal. Thirdly, Article 48 in Law 317/2004 on the functioning of the Supreme Council of Magistrates (CSM) makes such report confidential and not secret as long as the Judicial Inspection works on it, as long as there is no recommendation issued and the report has not been submitted to CSM. The report you are talking about is complete; it has a clear recommendation and it has been submitted to the Judicial Inspection, therefore it is neither confidential nor secret. Fourthly, before publishing it, I consulted with the ministry’s classified data specialists, who told me there is no problem,” Toader told Antena 3 private broadcaster on Saturday.

The Ministry of Justice on Friday posted on its website a 36-page report on the management of DNA which includes the statement made on Thursday by Justice Minister Tudorel Toader on support of his call for the removal from office of Kovesi.

Also posted, in addition to the report, were 11 annexes containing reports of the Judicial Inspection, rulings of the Constitutional Court, an opinion and a report from the Venice Commission, reports from the Judicial Inspection, a 2006 activity report of the Public Prosecution Service and the Code of Conduct for judges and prosecutors.

Justice Minister Tudorel Toader told Antena3 on Saturday that the Judicial Inspection’s report on the disciplinary probing of Laura Codruta Kovesi, a report he published along with the report on whose proposal to have the DNA Chief Prosecutor dismissed is based, is finalised and does not have a confidential character. He stated that before making it public he consulted the Justice Minister’s classified data specialists. At the same time, he also brought as an argument the fact that “someone from the press contacted the Judicial Inspection and received absolutely the same answer, that there is no problem using it publicly since it is no longer on the dockets of the Judicial Inspection, having been sent to the Supreme Magistracy Council (CSM).” He thus answered publicly-levelled accusations according to which the JI report was confidential because the dossier has not been solved by the CSM.

The Ministry of Justice on Friday posted on its website a 36-page report on the management of DNA which includes the statement made on Thursday by Justice Minister Tudorel Toader on support of his call for the removal from office of Kovesi.

Also posted, in addition to the report, were 11 annexes containing reports of the Judicial Inspection, rulings of the Constitutional Court, an opinion and a report from the Venice Commission, reports from the Judicial Inspection, a 2006 activity report of the Public Prosecution Service and the Code of Conduct for judges and prosecutors.

The documents also include a Judicial Inspection report, dated 9 January 2018, which asked for the disciplinary probing of the DNA Chief Prosecutor and her deputy, prosecutor Marius Iacob. Accusations that the report is confidential because the case has not been solved by the CSM have been levelled publicly. On Saturday afternoon, Justice Minister Tudorel Toader stated, in a phone interview with Antena3, that the report is not confidential and one of the arguments he used was the fact that “it is already published in an online law journal.” Likewise, he stated that “someone from the press has contacted the Judicial Inspection and has received absolutely the same answer, that there is no problem using it publicly since it is no longer on the Judicial Inspection’s dockets.”

“First of all, someone has used parts of the content and conclusions of that report at a news conference. Secondly, the report is published, it is already public in an online law journal. Thirdly, Article 48 of Law 317/2004 on the functioning of the Supreme Council of Magistrates (CSM) makes such report confidential and not secret as long as the Judicial Inspection is working on it, as long as there is no recommendation issued and the report has not been submitted to CSM. The report you are talking about is complete; it has a clear recommendation and it has been submitted to the Judicial Inspection, therefore it is neither confidential nor secret. Fourthly, before publishing it, I consulted with the ministry’s classified data specialists, who told me there is no problem,” Toader told Antena 3 private broadcaster on Saturday.

The website of the Justice Ministry could not be accessed starting with Thursday evening, 19:00 hrs, the problem being partially remedied on Friday, at 15:00 hrs.

 

Justice Ministry’s report on DNA head Kovesi: Unprincipled attitude, breach of ethical standards, use of insults, threats

 

Chief Prosecutor of the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) Laura Codruta Kovesi has come under fire in the freshly released report of the Ministry of Justice, for having displayed an unprincipled attitude and “broken the minimal professional standards of ethics and deontology” when demanding the speeding up of cases built against certain “ministers”, but also by using insulting and threatening expressions against the prosecutors, calling them “cowards” and “gossipmongers.”

One of the chapters of the document unveiled this Friday, which assesses DNA’s managerial activity, is titled: “Handling media-impactful cases as a priority. Unprincipled attitudes. Breach of the magistrate’s minimal ethics and deontology standards.

The report mentions that the Judicial Inspection has recently published a release on the conduct, on January 12, 2018, of a disciplinary action against DNA Chief Prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi for “manifestations that affect the prosecutors’ professional honor or probity, or the prestige of justice” during a working session, with the circumstances revealed in the recordings aired on 18 June 2017.

Specifically, the report of the Justice Ministry notes that Kovesi’s statements were “in the sense of deflecting the negative effects on the institution’s image and credibility caused by Decision No. 68/2017 of the Constitutional Court (which found there was a constitutional conflict between the Government and the DNA arising from the prosecutors’ investigating the legality and timeliness of the adoption of GEO No. 13), by expediting cases involving ministers, with high media impact, and voiced her disagreement at the legal, final and generally binding character of Constitutional Court’s decision No. 68/2017, using inappropriate expressions regarding the Constitutional Court and a CCR judge, leading the public opinion into believing that the media impact and the official capacity of the investigated persons are criteria in prioritizing the settlement of the cases.”

The report also states that Laura Codruta Kovesi used “a superior and aggressive tone with the DNA prosecutors, which according to the magistrate’s minimal standards of ethics and deontology is inadmissible and was likely to trigger indignation in the public and legitimate doubts about the observance of the principles of the supremacy of the Constitution and the laws, and the prosecutors’ impartiality.”

The report also mentions that in an e-mail the DNA head used denigratory, insulting and threatening lingo against the prosecutors, such as “cowards,” “gossipmongers,” “offenders,” as she let them know that in a particular criminal case “a circle of suspects had already been established.”

 

Justice Ministry reproaches head of DNA affects Romania’s image through criticising interviews in press

 

Justice minister Tudorel Toader maintains that Chief Prosecutor of the National Anti-corruption Directorate (DNA) Laura Codruta Kovesi contested Parliament’s authority and affected Romania’s image through interviews granted to the press in the country and abroad, in which she criticised the amendments brought to the justice laws and “furiously” attacked politicians.

The report published on Friday by the Justice Ministry (JM) regarding the DNA’s managerial activity shows that Laura Codruta Kovesi contested Parliament’s authority and acts, bringing as arguments the interviews filled with criticism that the latter gave in the press in relation to the legislative amendments in Justice.

Thus, claims the report, at the beginning of 2017, Kovesi stated in an interview for the BBC that “she fears the dismantling of DNA”, warning about “a huge risk towards the judicial system”, evoking that she is afraid of legislative amendments that can affect the fight against corruption.

“Throughout the year, her internal and external discourse has evolved into a furious attack against institutions, politicians, business people. In an interview given to Euronews, DNA’s Chief Prosecutor launched herself in harsh criticism towards some draft laws under parliamentary debates, accusing politicians and business people alike of striking back against the effort to cleanse one of the most corrupt countries in the European Union. These are serious allegations, not backed by any concrete example from the draft laws, affirmations liable to affect not just justice’s image in Romania but also the country’s. The article also quotes another very serious statement of DNA’s Chief prosecutor, according to which the vote of the justice laws will have a serious impact on justice’s independence and will result in the political control of the prosecutors’ activity and the obstruction of the fight against corruption. In the same article, it was implied that a mobilisation of the system made up of politicians and business people has taken place, who would supposedly feel threatened and for this reason would have the interest to maintain control over public resources,” the Justice Ministry’s report shows.

The JM’s document specifies that in a recent interview for “Libertatea” paper, Kovesi maintained “the legislative amendments discussed in Parliament are actually ‘a pretext to eliminate the criminal prosecution body to discover and prove offenses’ and ‘the anti-corruption fight will be done with’, revealing an obsessive fear, essentially, of losing DNA’s leadership.

 

Reactions after Tudorel Toader’s report and proposal for the removal from office of the DNA chief prosecutor

 

President Iohannis: No good reasons to propose Kovesi’s removal, I didn’t like JusMin’s performance

 

President Klaus Iohannis said on Friday he did not see Justice Minister Tudorel Toader’s report based on which the latter asked for the removal from office of the chief prosecutor of the National Anti-Corruption Directorate (DNA) Laura-Codruta Kovesi, but from his point of view there were “no good reasons” for the move.

“This is a lasting procedure. I expressed myself institutionally last night (…) I have not seen the report. Nobody has seen the report on which the minister was counting, but I honestly did not like his performance last night,” Iohannis said in Brussels asked about the minister of justice’s decision to request the removal of Kovesi.

He added that “there were no good reasons for proposing the removal from office.”

“I don’t know to what extent the things exhibited do reflect the report or not. What Mr. minister presented us totally lacked clarity and at a first diagonal read it also lacked thoroughness. No sound reasons were there to table the removal. I say this because the law quite comprehensively provides for what it is being pursued when drafting such a report. I won’t say more today and I wouldn’t have what to say,” the president told the journalists in Brussels.

The president specified that “the much promised report” has not surfaced on the Justice Ministry’s website and never has it reached the Presidential Administration either.

“When we will have this report, we’ll probably try to decipher it and then we’ll discuss more.”

President Iohannis was asked whether he could halt the DNA Chief Prosecutor’s removal from office.

“Last night I’ve heard, among several things that did not convince me, one thing that seems interesting exactly in this circumstance. If the law provides for a possibility or, in translation, for an opportunity, then it cannot be censored. So, if the law says that the president revokes, then it is a matter of political opportunity whether he revokes or not, and only the president can decide upon it,” Klaus Iohannis said.

He added that at the level of the Presidential Administration, there are speciality departments that will analyse the report exhibited by the Justice minister.

“As long as I haven’t even seen a report, even if promised, I find it hard to make any assessment. It will take a while,” Iohannis specified.

According to the president, some European leaders will be “perplexed”, whilst others will ask themselves some other questions on the situation in Romania in this case.

“Categorically, this step will not lead to improving Romania’s image,” Iohannis concluded.

 

“I support DNA’s activity and that of its leadership”

 

President Klaus Iohannis stated on Friday that he further backs the National Anti-corruption Directorate’s activity and that of its head, Laura-Codruta Kovesi.

“I stated this last evening as well. Yes, I support her. I support Mrs. Kovesi and I support the DNA’s activity. I have repeatedly voiced my conviction that the DNA is doing a good job and DNA’s leadership is doing a good job and what I heard last night by no means changes my opinion,” the head of state said before the meeting of the European Council in Brussels.

Asked whether he has had a discussion with the Justice minister on the topic of Laura-Codruta Kovesi’s removal from office before making this proposal, the head of state replied that he has not had such a discussion.

He mentioned however that he has had another discussion with the Justice minister.

“We did have a discussion, but it didn’t seem fair to ask, nor did he consider it necessary to inform me. We had a rather principled talk, without discussing this aspect beforehand,” the head of state said.

President Iohannis indicated that not even after the minister made the respective proposal did he have a talk with the latter.

The head of state underscored that he would use all the constitutional prerogatives to defend the Justice’s independence. Asked how close he is of the idea of a referendum on the topic of Justice, the head of state replied: “This is a discussion that can be carried out, but not today in Brussels.”

 

PG Lazar to present point of view after Justice Ministry report publication

 

Prosecutor General Augustin Lazar will present point of view about the proposal of Justice Minister Tudorel Toader to dismiss from office National Anti-corruption Directorate (DNA) prosecutor-in-chief Laura Codruta Kovesi, after the Justice Ministry publishes the report.

“Taking into account the media requests to present a point of view on the proposal of the Minister of Justice to dismiss the chief prosecutor of the National Anticorruption Directorate, as well as on the report submitted in this respect, the Office for Information and Public Relations makes the following clarification: the General Prosecutor of the Prosecutor’s Office attached to the High Court of Cassation and Justice is to give a point of view on the two issues after the report of the Minister of Justice has been published and analysed,” reads a statement of the General Prosecutor’s Office issued on Friday.

 

 DNA’s Kovesi says she is to follow legal procedure and respond to all statements presented by JusMin

 

Prosecutor-in-chief of the National Anti-corruption Directorate (DNA) Laura Codruta Kovesi mentions that she will follow the legal procedure and will respond point by point to all the statements that have been presented by Justice Minister Tudorel Toader, who proposed her removal from office.

“I will follow the legal procedure and I will present myself, anytime needed, to respond, point by point, to all the statements presented by the Justice Minister,” Kovesi stated on Friday.

The clarification was made following the mass media requests regarding a standpoint in respect to the announcement of the Justice Minister regarding “the initiation of the procedure for removing from office Chief Prosecutor of the National Anticorruption Directorate Laura Codruta Kovesi,” a release of the DNA mentions.

 

JusMin Toader says he won’t talk to Chief Prosecutor Kovesi about DNA report

 

Justice Minister Tudorel Toader told AGERPRES on Friday that he won’t carry out any discussion with Laura Codruta Kovesi regarding the report on the management of the National Anti-Corruption Directorate (DNA).

When asked if he intends to summon prosecutor-in-chief of the DNA Laura Codruta Kovesi in order to discuss the report, Toader responded no.

 

PM Dancila : If true, it is worrisome and decision must be made

 

Premier Viorica Dancila on Friday expressed her concern as to the report presented by Justice minister Tudorel Toader on Thursday evening regarding the National Anti-corruption Directorate’s head, Laura-Coduta Kovesi and affirmed that a decision must be made if the allegations are true.

Asked by the press whether she supports the Justice minister’s point of view regarding the proposal to remove from offices the DNA head, the premier replied:

“It does not matter whether I support or not a certain point of view, all that matters is, in case what the minister wrote in that report is true, that all these things are worrisome and a decision must be made. Do not ask me how this decision will be made because it does not depend on me.”

The Prime Minister specified that she has not discussed with the Justice minister about the report and she does not intend to do it.

“We have not discussed about it and I do not intend to do it. (…) I have said it times and again that Justice must be free and nobody should interfere in the Justice act. I listened to the report on television the same time you did, I heard what the report contains, I listened to every point, everything must run its course and I do not believe I or anyone else should give a verdict. (…) I believe we have a Constitution in this country, we have laws, and everyone must act in such a way,” Dancila specified.

She mentioned that she will not request a meeting with President Klaus Iohannis on the topic regarding the DNA leadership.

“I will not request [a meeting – ed.n.]. If Mr. President asks to talk to me, I will certainly accept because, as I said in my first days as prime minister, I want balance, I want good cooperation between the Gov’t-Parliament and the presidential institution,” PM Dancila further stated.

 

135 DNA  prosecutors request CSM to have professional reputation and independence defended

 

As many as 135 prosecutors with the National Anti-corruption Directorate (DNA) have decided to initiate and convey to the Supreme Council of Magistracy (CSM) a petition requesting the defence of the prosecutors’ professional reputation and independence, following the affirmations made in the public sphere by people holding public or political positions which sustain the idea that anti-corruption prosecutors manage evidence by breaching the law.

At the same time they voice their disagreement with regard to the Justice minister’s demarche to propose the removal from office of DNA’s Laura Codruta Kovesi.

The request was signed by 135 prosecutors out of a total of 183, the initiators of the move explaining that some of the investigators are in courts or on health leaves and have not been able to express their opinion so far.

“We, DNA’s prosecutors, have decided to initiate a petition requesting the defence of the professional reputation and independence of prosecutors within DNA, under the provisions of article 30, paragraph 2 from law no. 317/2004, that we address the Superior Council of Magistracy, given the last days’ events when, in the public space (televisions, newspapers, the internet, etc.) people holding public or political positions, starting from unsubstantiated claims made by a defendant prosecuted and convicted in first instance for corruption offenses, made generalising statements that fuel the idea that prosecutors within DNA manage evidence by breaching the law,” reads a press release of the DNA sent to AGERPRES on Friday.

Investigators specify they have found “with surprise” that people who hold public dignity positions have launched unfounded allegations aiming at the entire professional body of the prosecutors within the DNA, as part of “a systematic attempt to tarnish” the entire activity carried out in the last years.

“We, DNA’s prosecutors have been confronted in the last years, either directly or indirectly, with attacks smeared through the media of people we have investigated, prosecuted or who were convicted in cases we instrumented. We have endured, even if these attacks have had a direct impact on our lives through the negative emotional impact they had on our families, friends and social circle of acquaintances. We have all chosen to pursue the fight on corruption and follow our principles, being aware that the result of our work can represent a positive element in structuring the Romanian society, having as foundation the idea of normality, correctness, the desire for evolution and progress,” reads the release.

In this context, DNA’s prosecutors specify that on Friday they requested the Superior Council of Magistracy to take note that all these statements, “some, extremely serious,” are unfounded, being made only to discredit them professionally, to induce in the public opinion the idea that they are “abusive, unprofessional, unethical.”

“We do not intend, through this demarche, to grant support for any illegal act of a colleague of ours and we trust the justice system has developed the anti-bodies necessary to prove and sanction any deviation from the letter of the law of a magistrate prosecutor. What we desire is to request the only institution which has the authority to defend our independence and professional reputation, to do what it has among its obligations provided for by Law no. 317/2004 – to take note that all these defamatory allegations towards us and our work are not true and aim at intimidating those engaged in the fight against corruption and the impairment of the justice system,” the anti-corruption prosecutors say.

At the same time, DNA’s prosecutors express their disagreement with the Justice minister’s demarche to propose the removal from office of Laura Codruta Kovesi and set off the alarm bells on the gloomy outlook of Justice’s independence and the future of the anti-corruption fight.

“Indeed, as the Justice minister said, the anti-corruption fight does not reside in a single person, however we cannot accept, as free citizens of Romania and law professionals, to witness a removal from office request based on untruths, suppositions, and press information, unsubstantiated in any way, instead of on a legal, fundamental analysis. The only purpose is to remove Laura Codruta Kovesi for her only fault of having succeeded in managing this institution we are part of with a lot of courage, diplomacy and results appreciated by many Romanian citizens, but also by the European and international community,” the release further mentions.

The initiators of the demarche specify they have felt for years “the constant, incorrect attack of defendants or people convicted for corruption on DNA.”

“Nonetheless, all this time, the main target has been Laura Codruta Kovesi, in the minds of defendants or those prosecuted for corruption, and her removal was identified as the main way to destabilise and undercut the anti-corruption fight. And I don’t believe we are far from the truth. Let us all imagine that this demarche of the Justice minister achieves its objective and, starting with next week or in two weeks’ time, Laura Codruta Kovesi is removed from office. How could we continue doing what we are doing, how could we catch people involved in corruption deeds when we know that, based on the Justice minister’s logic, we could stand accused at any time unfairly, incorrectly for the on-going investigations, for the difference of opinion or for the only reason that Romania’s image in the international space is affected by the corruption phenomenon,” the quoted source mentions.

 

PSD’s Senate whip Serban Nicolae: Unprecedented situation with facts liable to undermine the very authority of the Romanian state

 

The conclusions of the report that Justice Minister Tudorel Toader presented on Thursday depict an unprecedented situation, with facts liable to undermine the very authority of the Romanian state, and the responsible factors should have already acted, PSD’s Senate whip Serban Nicolae stated on Thursday for AGERPRES.

“Certainly, it is an unprecedented situation. Even if it was included as a hypothesis in the law, such a situation in which the Justice Minister asks for the dismissal of a person holding such a position is unprecedented. But the facts too, as presented by the Justice Minister, are unprecedented. The synthesis presented is one that should give food for thought. The conclusions of such a report should be food for thought for all, not just for those who hold public offices, but even for regular citizens, because they show vulnerabilities of the Romanian state authorities, show dysfunctionalities in the enforcement of the law and in the undertaking of some public responsibilities, which could endanger fundamental rights and freedoms, could affect constitutional institutions of the Romanian state, the observance of democracy, rule of law, fundamental rights and freedoms, the separation of powers. From this standpoint, the expectation was for the directly responsible factors to have acted early on, for this point not to be reached – to notice a certain systematic and repeated behaviour of conflict between public institutions, of public discrediting of some authorities, through the public challenging of CCR decisions, of undermining the authority of Parliament and of intimidating the Government,” Serban Nicolae pointed out.

According to him, in essence, such actions “are liable to undermine the very state authority in Romania and basically invite citizens to disorder.”

“Since a leader of public authority can take the liberty to challenge or discredit an authority with the stature of the Constitutional Court or the nature of the Romanian Parliament, then it means any citizen can afford to do the same thing, and that in fact the observance of the law is optional in Romania, public responsibility is a matter of option and the important thing is to have power: who has power lives by the law of the jungle, those who do not have power bear the consequences,” the Social Democratic senator added.

Serban Nicolae considers that both the CSM and the Romanian President must fulfil their prerogatives with utmost efficiency, with utmost urgency and with utmost responsibility. “The Romanian President will have a political decision [to take]. Despite what persons with public influence keep repeating as a slogan, the Romanian President is a public person, a politician, and he takes political decisions. And that is why I believe the President’s decision will be purely political. However, it remains to be seen how the citizens will weigh each one’s responsibility,” PSD’s Senate whip said.

 

PSD supports decision regarding Kovesi’s dismissal: clear and solid arguments

 

Justice Minister Tudorel Toader’s report, whose conclusion consisted of the demand to have the DNA Chief Prosecutor dismissed, had clear and solid arguments, and the Social Democrats support Toader’s decision, PSD Spokesperson Adrian Dobre pointed out on Thursday.

“The report that Minister Tudorel Toader presented before the press today was an extremely professional one, based on the law, having very clear, solid and undisputable arguments. The conclusion that Mr Tudorel Toader has drawn is natural, as a result of this report. In fact, it was also natural as a result of the developments we have all seen during this period. We obviously support the minister’s decision, it remains for us to see how things will unfold on a constitutional and legal path from now on,” Dobre stated for MEDIAFAX.

“The minister did nothing but reiterate the conclusions of the Constitutional Court and include them in the pages of this report. The minister’s statements are not taken out of the blue or from some other place, he cited the conclusions of the CCR, meaning that the fact that he presented them as being successive digressions from Romania’s constitutional line does nothing but show the reality we have been fighting or facing for one year,” Dobre added.

 

PSD Vaslui leader: Toader’s report is rigorous, but I don’t expect Iohannis to dismiss Kovesi

 

PSD Vaslui President Dumitru Buzatu considers that the Justice Minister’s report on the DNA was rigorous and has presented grave breaches of the Constitution, but does not believe President Iohannis will dismiss Kovesi, which would in fact be “abusive behaviour” on the part of the President.

Dumitru Buzatu told MEDIAFAX on Thursday that the Head of State has the tendency to protect persons that committed grave breaches of citizens’ rights and freedoms.

“The report presented by Justice Minister Tudorel Toader was very rigorous and brings back into attention a sum of factors that have occurred lately. The facts are correctly presented, as are the grave constitutional infringements that have led to the drafting of this report. President Iohannis has the tendency to protect persons who committed grave infringements of citizens’ rights and freedoms and I wonder why he undertakes such a task instead of rallying to those asking him to investigate these facts and to correct them. I’m not a fan of President Iohannis and I don’t expect him – knowing his behaviour so far – to have a correct conduct in relation to the things noted by the report on the DNA’s activity. It’s abusive behaviour on the part of the Head of State, considering that the report features numerous mentions of the breach of citizens’ rights and freedoms,” Buzatu said.

 

Codrin Stefanescu on request to dismiss Kovesi: Finally, someone broke the ice

 

PSD Deputy Secretary General Codrin Stefanescu pointed out on Thursday, referring to Justice Minister Tudorel Toader’s request to have DNA Chief Prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi dismissed, that finally someone “broke the ice” and from now on he foresees that the future will be better.

“I didn’t expect [this], I had no hope, I thought he’d do exactly what the guys from the PNL said: ‘Tudorele, leave it be!’ So, I was surprised, and I listened to the report with maximum attention. What is written in that report is shocking, what he read about holding Parliament in contempt, holding the law, the Constitution in contempt. It’s a kind of organised mafia, I mean it’s something… I couldn’t believe hearing Tudorel Toader saying all those things that he probably documented very well,” Stefanescu stated for Antena3.

He pointed out that, with this request to have the DNA Chief Prosecutor dismissed, he is starting to foresee that the future will be better.

“Only now, from this evening on, I’m telling you honestly, I’m starting to foresee that the future will be better. Finally, someone broke the ice. Only now all the abuses, all the filth, this whole toxicity is probably starting to be investigated too,” Stefanescu added. On Thursday, following the presentation of the report on the management of the DNA, Tudorel Toader asked for the start of the procedure to dismiss DNA Chief Prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi, the request being forwarded to the CSM and the Romanian President.

 

PNL: Justice Minister has sided with criminals. Dismissal of Kovesi is not advisable

 

PNL Spokesperson Ionel Danca stated on Thursday that Justice Minister Tudorel Toader has chosen to side with the criminals, pointing out that none of the arguments that the Justice Minister invoked is sufficient to dismiss DNA Chief Prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi.

“It’s a sad day for Romanian justice. (…) The Justice Minister has chosen to be on the criminals’ side this evening. He has taken over the arguments used in the campaign lately waged by persons who are in various stages of prosecution and in various stages of trial, has taken over the arguments of these criminal groups and their rhetoric,” PNL Spokesperson Ionel Danca stated.

Ionel Danca stated that Laura Codruta Kovesi’s dismissal is not advisable.

“The arguments invoked by Justice Minister Tudorel Toader do not hold water. The dismissal of the DNA Chief Prosecutor is not advisable at this moment. None of the arguments invoked by the Justice Minister is sufficient to dismiss the DNA Chief Prosecutor,” Danca said.

PNL claimed that the resignation of Justice Minister Tudorel Toader is called for, Danca pointed out.

“The resignation of the Justice Minister, who has dishonoured both the office of minister and the office of professional of the law, is called for,” the PNL Spokesperson pointed out.

Ionel Danca stated that OUG 13, the committee of inquiry into the 2009 elections and the Belina dossier were instruments of pressure that Liviu Dragnea used to force the DNA Chief Prosecutor to heed his orders.

“For the Justice Minister, the Chief Prosecutor’s refusal to obey Dragnea’s orders is a serious reason to ask for her dismissal,” the PNL Spokesperson said, pointing out that it is not obligatory for a constitutional conflict to lead to the dismissal or the sacking of a head of institution.

Danca stated that the request to have the DNA Chief Prosecutor dismissed was made at the pressure of PSD-ALDE.

“Mr Tudorel Toader, the pressure exercised by the PSD and the members of ALDE – who were shouting: ‘Tudorele, it’s no longer bearable, do something!’ – was visible,” Danca said, telling the minister that “he should have let it be.”

 

Orban: Tudorel Toader, the lawbreakers’ lawyer. Not all is lost, we have the CSM, the President

 

PNL President Ludovic Orban stated on Thursday that Justice Minister Tudorel Toader proved himself to be “the lawbreakers’ lawyer, the tool of an ephemeral, unscrupulous political power,” stating that “not all is lost.”

“Last week, with acting worthy of an Academy Award, Tudorel fooled us all. He made us believe he can actually be a Justice Minister, a rational man who will not give in to the pressures coming from the cohort of Social Democrats who are waiting with bated breath for the collapse of the most efficient bastion of the fight against corruption. This evening, we have all seen who Tudorel is in fact. The lawbreakers’ lawyer, the tool of an ephemeral, unscrupulous political power willing to sacrifice the present and the future of Romania,” PNL President Ludovic Orban wrote on Facebook.

Ludovic Orban stated not all is lost.

“Not all is lost, we have the CSM, we have the President, we have the PNL, we have people in the street. The fight for a normal Romania continues,” Orban concluded.

 

USR asks Tudorel Toader to resign after Justice Minister demanded the dismissal of DNA Chief Prosecutor

 

USR President Dan Barna stated on Thursday, for MEDIAFAX, that the Union is asking Justice Minister Tudorel Toader to resign, after he demanded the dismissal of DNA Chief Prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi.

“USR is asking for the resignation of Minister Toader, because this evening he left a professional area and entered an area of the political client of Liviu Dragnea. In this situation, he can no longer be the Romanian Justice Minister, this is what we consider, and we are asking for his resignation,” Barna stated for MEDIAFAX.

Barna added that the USR has great confidence that President Klaus Iohannis will not accept the request to dismiss Kovesi.

“USR continues to support Mrs Codruta Kovesi at the helm of the DNA, because it is one of the few institutions in Romania that are, at this moment, an example of performance and professionalism at European level,” Dan Barna said.

He pointed out that, with this decision, Toader has become PSD President Liviu Dragnea’s “henchman.”

“It’s the best message: Liviu Dragnea decided to push this battle forward, to continue to keep society in the street, and Minister Toader has become, from the little professionalism he had, a member of the group of Liviu Dragnea’s humble servants and henchmen, serving his direct interests and personal demands,” Barna claimed.

 

UDMR Chairman Kelemen Hunor: After the report on DNA, it was impossible to reach a different conclusion

 

UDMR Chairman Kelemen Hunor says that after Tudorel Toader’s analysis, a different conclusion than starting the dismissal proceedings against the DNA head Laura Codruta Kovesi was almost impossible.

Kelemen Hunor stated on Thursday to the MEDIAFAX correspondent that Tudorel Toader is appreciated for presenting the report on the DNA’s activity, being the first Justice Minister who makes such an analysis.

“It was a very detailed analysis of the Justice Minister, with known elements and with all the issues raised over the time, and from this point of view, I believe that Tudorel Toader did a very important thing by this presentation. It should have done this before the Parliament, but in the end he did it before people, and I believe he did a very good thing, being the first Justice Minister who, according to the law, came in front of the people and presented such a report. Such a report should have been presented annually, and it’s the first time when such an analysis on DNA’s activity is presented. He must be appreciated, because other ministers didn’t do it. After this analysis, reaching a different conclusion than starting the dismissal proceedings against the DNA Chief-Prosecutor was almost impossible. I am sure that President Iohannis, as he recently expressed, saying that he has no reasons to dismiss Mrs. Kovesi, I guess he will be consistent and he will not take this step. Now the ball is in the President’s field and he will decide what to do, but as far as we know him, I think he will remain consistent and he will not dismiss the DNA Chief-Prosecutor” Kelemen stated.

According to him, if the head of state will not dismiss Laura Codruta Kovesi, she will hold this position until the end of its term.

“Probably we will continue to see everything we saw all these months and years. She is sure she didn’t do any mistake, and she will continue to work as she did before, and things will not change in any way” the UDMR leader stated.

Asked if this will be beneficial or not for Justice and for the Romanian society, Kelemen Hunor answered that any institution is more important than the individuals “who populate it” in a state of law.

“This thing is valid from the highest position of public dignity, to the last city hall. The institution must be credible, strong, it must have rules of operation” Kelemen Hunor concluded.

 

Former JusMin Catalin Predoiu: “Congratulations, Mister Toader, you could have done it otherwise, but you don’t know how”

 

Former Justice Minister Catalin Predoiu draws attention, in a message posted on his Facebook account, that the report presented by Tudorel Toader is “easily demountable in many places”, and the decision to dismiss the DNA Chief-Prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi was a “hasty” one.

He points out that the dismissal request is a step backward on the way to prosperity, and “while the world of geopolitical and economic interests moves around us with a dizzying speed”, Romanian politicians continue “to put the chestnuts in the fire”.

“The Toader report is easily demountable in many places (I will come back with technical explanations in detail), and his decision is hasty. CSM also prepares a Report on the same issues. The President will decide after he will see both of them.

The world of the geopolitical and economic interests moves around us with a dizzying speed, and we continue to “put the chestnuts in the fire”. One more step forward in the “Romanian-Romanian” war, one more step backward from our way to prosperity.

“Congratulations”, Mr. Toader, you could have done it otherwise, but you don’t know how. We continue to pay an expensive price until we will learn two things:

1) the collision course brings damages, while the adjustment-cooperation course is more effective, and 2) the path of Romania’s Westernization will go forward, it will not be replaced with the one of isolationism, anti-Occidentalism and obtuse nationalism” Predoiu wrote on Facebook.

 

Dacian Ciolos: Decapitating an institution that reaches politicians in office is intimidation

 

Former PM Dacian Ciolos stated on Thursday, after the Justice Minister requested the dismissal of the DNA Chief, that when you decapitate an institution that reaches politicians dangerously close, “this is the intimidation of those who see that their chief is staggering because he or she doesn’t want to make any agreement with those who are threatened”.

“Justice Minister requested the dismissal of the DNA Chief-Prosecutor, after a speech of a teacher from the old times, a real example of anti-communication for a dignitary who serves the citizens. After the call ‘Tudorele, do something’, the Minister prepared his field by a ‘declaration of independence’ to get momentum and convince a whole country that some people can be wrongfully jailed because of the DNA Chief-Prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi. He says that DNA and the fight against corruption doesn’t mean only Mrs. Kovesi, but when you decapitate an institution that reaches politicians in office dangerously close, this is intimidation of those who see that their chief is staggering because he or she doesn’t want to make any agreement with those who are threatened” former PM Dacian Ciolos wrote on Facebook.

Dacian Ciolos said that we are in a stage in which the fight against corruption is not a “refreshing process”, but it has become a danger for those belonging to a past in which “it worked like that, too”.

“I don’t know how this dangerous masquerade will end, but I know that we will not live in a better world unless we will make it better” the former PM concluded.

 

PSD MP Catalin Radulescu, after the request on Kovesi’s dismissal: The measures should continue with the dismissal of the Prosecutor General Augustin Lazar

 

PSD MP Catalin Radulescu stated on Thursday, after the Justice Minister Tudorel Toader’s request on the dismissal of the DNA Chief-Prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi, that he hopes that the measures will continue with the request for the dismissal of the General Prosecutor Augustin Lazar.

“Mrs. Kovesi’s dismissal was requested, it mustn’t stop here. I hope that the dismissal of the Prosecutor General, will be requested too, since he is culpable to the same extent as Mrs. Kovesi, because he covered her permanently all these years, although he had signals regarding everything that happened in all the DNA prosecution offices in the country, with all these deeds publicly revealed by Media and by people in general, yet he did nothing and he permanently covered her” Radulescu stated at Digi 24.

He expressed his hope that President Iohannis will accept the dismissal request.

“I expect that these measures will not stop with Mrs. Kovesi’s dismissal.  I hope that the Romanian President, in this last minute, will understand that the human rights and freedoms are above everything, and he will accept her dismissal” Radulescu stated.

“We mustn’t stop here, and together with the Justice Minister we must continue what was started, to show to this nation the serious mistakes, the judicial mistakes, the injustices and the abuses that happened in all the DNA prosecution offices across the country, because you will see than other revelations will appear, because people have been urged and they want to reveal the abuses made by these DNA prosecutors, who formed this Mafia police state for years, which nobody wanted to dismantle until now, except the Justice Minister” Radulescu concluded.

 

Judge Dumbrava: The events are getting serious accents of violating the legal common sense rules

 

Former CSM President, Judge Horatius Dumbrava, stated that the evolution of the events related to the request regarding Laura Codruta Kovesi’s dismissal “are getting serious accents of an obvious violation of the legal common sense rules”, referring to the fact that Tudorel Toader publicly revealed the disciplinary action made by the Judicial Inspection against the DNA Chief-Prosecutor, a document that shouldn’t have been publicly revealed.

“The evolution of the events related to the request regarding the dismissal of the DNA Chief-Prosecutor are getting serious accents, of an obvious violation of elementary rules of legal common sense. The Media underlined that the Justice Minister revealed a document issued by the Judicial Inspection, which shouldn’t have been revealed, in order to support one of the arguments for the dismissal: the disciplinary action made by the Judicial Inspection, whose subjects are Mrs. Kovesi and Mr. Marius Iacob, on the one hand, and the Judicial Inspection, on the other hand, as the party who ordered the disciplinary action” Dumbrava stated in a post on his Facebook page.

He says that CSM and Judicial Inspection cannot remain “passive” to the violation of the judiciary’s independence by revealing documents that shouldn’t be revealed.

“What happened is much too serious for not having at least a reaction of these institutions meant to sanction slippages from violating the independence of the judiciary and its members” he pointed out.

The judge also said that revealing a disciplinary action by someone who is not a party in the trial breaches the right to defense of the parties in question.

“Because any magistrate knows an elementary thing (I wonder if the prosecutors who brought their contribution to this report know it): a trial (including a disciplinary one) is public only in two situations that are expressly and strictly provided by the law: the hearings and the sentence delivery; the trial has a public character only in these procedural stages. But the procedural actions of a trial are definitely not public. Therefore, revealing a disciplinary action by someone who is not a party in a trial, such as the Justice Minister, although he knows about this action, violates the principle of legality and the right to defense of the parties in question” the former CSM President explained.

The magistrate also wonders if by such “unjustified pressures” like revealing a document about which the Minister was informed by official means, and which shouldn’t be revealed to the public, “the university professor, PhD., the Justice Minister, makes pressure on the judiciary’s independence or not”.

Horatius Dumbrava also wished to underline “the irony of the situation”, namely the negative image that DNA created to itself, when the press revealed large parts of details of criminal trials that weren’t finalized, giving the example of a decision of the CSM plenum since 2014, when it was established that the Chief-Prosecutor of the Directorate didn’t assured the confidentiality of certain data, thus making pressures on the ICCJ judges.

“However, I have to underline another irony of the situation: one of the DNA’s problems, and correlatively, the negative image that DNA created to itself in certain situations related to the concrete criminal cases, is that the press revealed details from criminal trials that weren’t finalized. It is questionable if it was DNA’s fault or not in many cases. However, the CSM Plenum indicated in December 2014, that the DNA Chief-Prosecutor, Mrs. Kovesi, has violated the judiciary’s independence, by the fact that she, as a head of the institution, didn’t assured the confidentiality of certain data, thus making unjustified pressures on the ICCJ judges who had to solve certain cases (therefore, these cases weren’t finalized)” Dumbrava concluded.

 

Former CCR President: It is ridiculous that the President expresses himself before reading the Report

 

Former CCR President Ioan Vida stated in an exclusive statement for luju.ro that President Iohannis has the obligation to dismiss Kovesi.

“When this Constitution, from which I wrote a large part, was made, the related competences have been established. These related competences mean that a minister makes a proposal, and the President must confirm it, he empowers that decision. It wasn’t understood in Romania that our Constitution provides related competences.

The President hasn’t other option in these matters. In our country, it was understood that the President is like Ceausescu, but it isn’t. The President must observe what the Government says, because the Government is the emanation of the people.

The President only confirms the appointment or the dismissal proposed by the Parliament, by the Government or by the minister. The Constitution says that the President has a delegated competence, which is related to what he is told.

People must understand that the Romanian President is now obliged to dismiss Laura Kovesi, as the Justice Minister proposed.

It is ridiculous that the Romanian President expresses himself before reading the Report. After 20 correct points of views… I haven’t seen the Report, but I saw what the Justice Minister said, and what he said is perfect, Ioan Vida stated for luju.ro.

 

Ex-CCR President Augustin Zegrean’s view on procedure to dismiss DNA Chief Prosecutor: Head of State not obligated to dismiss a prosecutor

 

Former Constitutional Court of Romania (CCR) President Augustin Zegrean stated for MEDIAFAX that the President cannot be obligated to dismiss a prosecutor, against the backdrop of talks regarding the fact that the law on the statute of magistrates is open to interpretations.

“No, the President is not obligated to dismiss a prosecutor. Then what would be the point in asking the President? You’d only have to tell him to sign. How come?! Why does this entire dismissal procedure take place? You don’t sack a prosecutor every day. There is a procedure, because they enjoy certain job stability and you don’t sack them as you please! The President cannot be obligated to do anything, only what the Constitution obligates him. What the Constitution doesn’t obligate him, he cannot be obligated to do! Dismissal from office is not written in the Constitution, only appointment in office is: the President appoints prosecutors. What should law no.303 have said? That the dismissal is not done? They should learn how to read the laws! And they should read them in good faith. The laws must be read and interpreted in good faith,” former CCR President Augustin Zegrean stated for MEDIAFAX.

The former CCR President says that Tudorel Toader’s request is only the first step.

“The process is long, because since we’re talking about the dismissal of a chief prosecutor, it’s not quite easy… This is not quite a joke, it does not happen every day. (…) The CSM’s report is non-binding, after which the dossier reaches the President and the President, within a period he considers reasonable, must issue a solution. And with this it ends. If the President issues a dismissal decree, the moment the decree is published in the Official Journal the said chief prosecutor is no longer in office. If he rejects the dismissal request, [the chief prosecutor] remains in office until the expiration of his/her term,” Augustin Zegrean explained.

 

CSM member on dismissal: Procedure similar to appointment in office is applied. President can refuse dismissal

 

Prosecutor Cristian Ban, member of the Supreme Magistracy Council (CSM), explained for MEDIAFAX that the procedure to dismiss the DNA Chief Prosecutor is similar to the appointment in office procedure, with the nuance that the President can refuse the Justice Minister’s dismissal request.

“According to the principle of symmetry, the procedure is applied similarly to [that of] appointment in office. The appointment in office is made by the President of Romania, at the proposal of the Justice Minister, with the non-binding endorsement of the Section for Prosecutors. He can also refuse the nomination. Consequently, the dismissal follows the same procedure. To reason otherwise wold mean that the minister is the only one who dismisses, with no other filter. Moreover, according to the law, the minister proposes the dismissal, he does not order it,” prosecutor Cristian Ban, member of the Supreme Magistracy Council (CSM), stated for MEDIAFAX.

The statement comes against the backdrop of talks regarding the fact that the law does not stipulate the President’s possibility to refuse the dismissal and that a conflict of a constitutional nature would be generated if he were to take such a decision.

Law no.303/2004 on the statute of judges and prosecutors stipulates under Article 54(4):

“The dismissal from the leadership offices mentioned under paragraph (1) is done by the President of Romania, at the proposal of the Justice Minister, who can take note ex officio, at the request of the general assembly or, depending on the case, of the Prosecutor General of the Prosecutor’s Office attached to the High Court of Cassation and Justice, or of the Chief Prosecutor of the National Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office, with the endorsement of the Supreme Magistracy Council, for the reasons listed under Article 51(2), properly applied.”

At the same time, Article 51(2) stipulates that the dismissal of judges is ordered by the Supreme Magistracy Council, ex officio or at the proposal of the general assembly or of the president of the court, for the following reasons:

  1. In case they no longer meet one of the conditions required for the appointment in the leadership office
  2. In case of the improper exercise of managerial prerogatives regarding efficient organisation, behaviour and communication, the undertaking of managerial responsibilities and aptitudes
  3. In case one of the disciplinary sanctions was enforced

 

Read also:

Protests in Capital and main cities, despite frost, in support of DNA head

 

 

 

 

Protests in support of DNA and Laura Codruta Kovesi planned in Bucharest and other cities

 

Protests in support of the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) and Laura Codruta Kovesi have been announced on Facebook, being scheduled to take place on Sunday in Bucharest’s Victory Square as well as in other cities, such as Cluj, Sibiu, Arad, Ploiesti, Baia Mare, Craiova and Galati. Romanians living abroad have also announced they will express their solidarity with those back home, in Dublin, Milan, Vienna and Toronto.

“Yes, we know, the DNA is very bothersome for those who burn Romanians’ money and want to live peacefully doing this. By the way, in 2016, the DNA sought to recover a total of 667 million euro in the big corruption cases alone. Namely money that the corrupt had stolen from Romanians. (…) WE ARE NOT GIVING UP, we do not accept an abuse committed by a gang of criminals,” the organisers wrote on the Bucharest protest’s Facebook page.

More than one thousand people had protested in Victory Square on Thursday evening too, right after the Justice Minister announced the start of the procedures to dismiss Laura Codruta Kovesi, the protesters shouting: “DNA should come take you away,” “You won’t get away,” “Thieves,” “Tudorel, resign.” Protests also took place in Cluj-Napoca, Sibiu, Constanta, Brasov and Iasi.

 

Read also: 

Report on DNA’s managerial activity, released on Justice Ministry’s website. President Iohannis reiterates support for DNA’s activity and that of its leadership: No good reasons to propose Kovesi’s removal, I didn’t like JusMin’s performance. More reactions after Toader’s report. 135 DNA  prosecutors request CSM to have professional reputation and independence defended

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