Chief Prosecutor of the National Anti-corruption Directorate (DNA) Laura Codruta Kovesi, on Tuesday claimed that the Protocol signed between the Public Ministry and the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI) conferred no extra rights to the two institutions, with their collaboration being based on the Constitution, the Criminal Procedure Code, 16 normative acts and nine Supreme Council of National Defence (CSAT) decisions.
She also added that there are other institutions too in the judiciary system which concluded protocols with the SRI.
“This Protocol stipulates the legal obligations that already exist, for both the Prosecutor’s Offices and the Romanian Intelligence Service, in the laws enumerated in the protocol’s preamble. If we notice this preamble, we can see that the protocol is based on the Romanian Constitution, the Criminal Procedure Code, a number of 16 normative acts and nine CSAT decisions. This protocol conferred no extra rights to the two institutions, but everything that is written in there are legal obligations, already provided by law. What the Protocol actually did is to create a unitary procedure for everybody to work the same way. For the law was enforced differently and that’s why we felt the need of harmonizing procedures. This is the reason for which not just the Public Ministry concluded a protocol with the Romanian Intelligence Service, but also other institutions in the judiciary system did it too,” Laura Codruta Kovesi told AGERPRES, referring to the declassified co-operation protocol published by the Romanian Intelligence Service on its site on March 30, which was concluded back in 2009 with the Public Prosecution Service for the conduct of their national security duties.
Requests under protocol, signed by Morar; DNA, SRI co-operated before 2013
She added that DNA had co-operated with the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI) before 2013 as well, as requests under the protocol between the two bodies were signed by her predecessor Daniel Morar himself.
“DNA co-operated institutionally and in writing with SRI under their protocol signed in 2009. The DNA archives have showed that the protocol had been implemented by the National Anti-Corruption Directorate in its activity even before 2013. Requests under the protocol are signed by the Chief Prosecutor Daniel Morar. The protocol was sent to all the DNA departments; prosecutors applied it, the only observation made in 2009 was that direct communication between DNA and SRI was being sought, instead of thorough the attorney general. Virtually, a direct protocol between DNA and SRI was being sought, and not a protocol for all the prosecution offices,” said Kovesi.
She added that her predecessor could have terminated the protocol, especially since he was delegated to the position of attorney general in October 2012.
“Let’s not forget that Mr Morar was delegated, and he started carrying out the duties of an attorney general in October 2012. Had there been provisions running contrary to the law, he could have certainly denounced this protocol, especially because he had all the powers of the attorney general. But prosecutors with the Public Prosecution Service kept on following this protocol after October 2012 as well. It is important to say that when this protocol was signed, a working group was set up which drafted the protocol, the draft protocol was forwarded to the prosecutor’s offices to gather their points of view to have their observations included therein. The protocol was applied by thousands of prosecutors for years. Nobody has sent any notification that this protocol would include provisions that are not in accordance with the law, because this protocol is drafted strictly in accordance with the law and does not provide for additional rights, additional obligations for any of the bodies involved,” added Kovesi.
Protocol strictly gave access to information in cases concerning security
Kovesi on Tuesday also told AGERPRES that the Protocol signed between the Public Ministry and the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI) did not give access to all the information existing in the criminal cases, but strictly to those provided by law, which were strictly information related to national security.
“According to the article 24 of the Law No. 51/1991, the law on national security (…), all state bodies, including the prosecutor’s offices, have the obligation to allow such bodies in charge with national security access to the data they hold, if such data concerns national security. Therefore, this Protocol didn’t add anything to the law, but it just established a modality to achieve this obligation stipulated by law. Therefore, the provisions of this Protocol did not confer SRI access to all the information of the criminal cases or other information, besides the information to which access was already provided by law, namely information concerning national security,” said Kovesi.
The DNA head explained that, for instance, if, while conducting a case, a prosecutor finds out that a person is preparing a terrorist attack or a SRI employ sells secrets to a foreign state, then he/she is obliged by law to submit this information to the Service.
“Therefore, this protocol brings no extra obligation, but strictly refers to a legal obligation. However, there were no data communicated during the investigations, there were no data communicated from the criminal cases, but strictly information that had to do with national security,” Kovesi pointed out.
Moreover, the DNA chief showed that the SRI officers did not administer evidence, but only carried out certain technical activities.
“In ruling these files, the judges verified the manner in which evidence was administered. There is no such evidence administered by the SRI officers. The pieces of evidence were administered by the prosecutors or policemen, according to the Criminal Procedure Code. Only certain technical activities, for instance, when they were doing surveillance … The prosecutors do not have by law such responsibilities to do surveillance and they are not prepared for this. Such surveillance activities are specific to the SRI officers. At that point, this surveillance activity was carried out by the SRI and, when the prosecutor though it was necessary that a person be under operative surveillance for ten hours or a day, the SRI resources were used,” stated Laura Codruta Kovesi.
Moreover, she specified that the Public Ministry is not the only institution in the judiciary system having concluded protocols with the SRI and that this protocol was distributed to all prosecution structures and it was enforced along the years by thousands of prosecutors, while being kept a secret from third parties, from outside the institution.
“This is a protocol for institutional cooperation. All protocols of institutional cooperation are signed by the heads of the respective institutions. All the necessary internal approvals existed for the signing of this protocol,” said Kovesi.