The Judicial Inspection (JI) is set to carry out verifications in what concerns DNA Chief Prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi, after ‘Lumea Justitiei’ (luju.ro) journalists lodged a notification accusing her of lying when she said, on 27 January 2017, that there was no protocol between the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) and the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI).
The Judicial Inspection is set to register the journalists’ notification, after which the verifications will start.
“The DNA Chief Prosecutor did not take part in videoconferences organised by the SRI, neither weekly nor occasionally, and does not have in her office special terminals through which she can communicate with SRI instantaneously. There is and never was a SRI-DNA protocol of collaboration, nor a secret Coldea/Kovesi protocol,” reads the DNA press release issued on 27 January 2017.
18-page SRI-DNA protocol dated 2009 was published on Friday
On Friday, the Romanian Intelligence Service published on its website the protocol of collaboration with the Prosecutor’s Office attached to the High Court of Cassation and Justice, a protocol on the carrying out of their prerogatives in the field of national security. Based on this protocol, the Romanian Intelligence Service gave assistance to prosecutors for a period of 7 years.
The document, which has 18 pages and stipulates a joint strategy as well as the setting up of joint operational teams, was concluded on 4 February 2009, being signed by Tiberiu Nitu, First Deputy Prosecutor General at the time, and Florian Coldea, First Deputy Director of the SRI at the time. The protocol was approved by the heads of the two institutions – Laura Codruta Kovesi and George Maior.
The SRI-Prosecutor General’s Office protocol also includes a chapter on collaboration with the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA). Thus, according to the document, the SRI offered technical support to the National Anticorruption Directorate’s central structure, in order for it to carry out its tasks in what concerned the enforcement of warrants issued on the grounds of Article 91 of the Criminal Procedure Code.
The technical support consisted of signal transmission, the management and maintenance of the equipment that transmitted the signal from the Service’s wiretap centres to the Directorate.
The DNA was handling the reception of the signal and the transcription of the intercepted communications.
“The LAN networks in the locations of the beneficiary will be implemented by the Service, with the Directorate covering the costs. Any software interventions on the IT system, consisting of the testing of applications, the modification of the existing software and other such interventions, are forbidden. The attempts to intrude in the system’s databases, beyond the limits admitted based on access rights, will result in decoupling from the system,” the protocol reads.
In what concerns the authorised audio/video technical operations, the document stipulates that, based on the written request of the prosecutor’s office or of its territorial branches, the SRI will carry out audio/video technical operations, based on the warrant issued by the court or prosecutor, in concrete cases, only through the liaison officers designated by the Service. The operations were carried out by the specialised unit, with the approval of the Service’s Director, and only in the cases stipulated by the protocol.
“The audio/video actions will be carried out by the Service’s specialised unit or by the county intelligence directorates, under the coordination of the case prosecutor, on the basis of a “joint action plan” drafted by the designated representatives of the two sides and approved by the chief of the Service’s specialised unit or by the chiefs of the county intelligence directorates,” the document reads.
Traian Basescu on SRI-Prosecutor General Office protocol: As formulated, it leaves room for interpretations and abuses
On Sunday evening, ex-President Traian Basescu revealed on RomaniaTV that he briefly read the protocol concluded by the SRI and the Prosecutor General’s Office, however he considers that, as formulated, it leaves room for interpretations and abuses.
“I admit I read it briefly. I can only judge it after titanic work. Why is it difficult for me to comment. It must be read carefully and you must search the laws invoked. You must pair each article of the protocol with the law and [see] what is missing. It’s clear for me that, as formulated, it leaves room for interpretations and abuses. It must be judged by the CSM and especially by judges. Which seems fair to me. According to the Constitution, these institutions have a master. The SRI’s master is the Intelligence Committee. That committee should have had the protocol before it was signed, and the Prosecutor General’s Office should have gone to the CSM. And say: this is the project, what do you think. The President has no right of oversight,” Traian Basescu emphasised on RomaniaTV.
“This protocol surprises me because it’s lengthy and unclear. I don’t understand how it could work. The SRI informs the prosecutor, but he is obligated to inform it about the result within 60 days. We find out that very few prosecutors knew the content of the protocol. They were all working with intelligence from the SRI. Without knowing the protocol based on which they were acting. Via order from the DNA Chief,” Basescu rhetorically asked.
“Operative communication also means that Basescu says he has 1 million dollars, and they arrest me, based on mere words. They arrest you and then they notice you didn’t take the million. I believe there are exaggerations that actually resulted in other exaggerations and I won’t hide it from you that I suspect, based on this protocol, that information was received and then prosecutors wanted to put them to good use by looking for denouncers to confirm them. I know one dossier in which one gentleman gave 9 statements saying he did not take the money and in the 10th one he said he gave the money to a minister, then the minister was arrested. The Service can only provide information. It cannot give directions to the prosecutor. It can’t! The prosecutor is the master of the dossier,” the ex-President pointed out.
“If I were in Iohannis’s shoes, I wouldn’t dismiss Kovesi. I’d protect Romania’s higher interests”
Senator Traian Basescu, President of the Popular Movement Party (PMP), also stated for RomaniaTV that if he were Iohannis he would not dismiss DNA Chief Prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi, in order “to protect Romania’s higher interests,” but he would place her “under control.”
“President Iohannis will have to consider two things. First – the utility of keeping Mrs Kovesi at the helm of the DNA, and I have great doubts here. Second – the external impact, because Romania wants to join Schengen. If the moment of dismissing Mrs Kovesi is not well prepared, Iohannis will be placed in the category of defenders of corruption, and it will be a disaster for Romania. So, Iohannis’s decision is not simple. It’s very complicated. (…) I, if I were in Iohannis’s shoes, I wouldn’t dismiss her, in order to protect Romania’s higher interests, but I would place her under control. Let the Prosecutor General’s Office handle this,” Basescu told RomaniaTV on Sunday, when asked whether the declassification of the protocol that the Public Ministry and the SRI signed changes Kovesi’s situation in any way, and whether the decision concerning the DNA Chief Prosecutor should be taken at the Cotroceni Presidential Palace.
At the same time, Traian Basescu said that the protocol must be judged by the Supreme Magistracy Council (CSM) and by Parliament’s Intelligence Committee.
“It’s clear for me that, as it is formulated in some parts, it can leave room to abuses and interpretations. (…) This protocol must be judged primarily by the CSM, and not by any section of the CSM but by the section for judges. And, secondly, it must be judged by Parliament’s Intelligence Committee. What seems to me unfair about this protocol? (…) According to the Constitution, these institutions – both the SRI and the Prosecutor General’s Office – have a master. The SRI’s master is the Intelligence Committee. (…) [The committee] should have had it when it was signed or before it was signed, because that committee is the only institution that oversees the SRI’s activity. And the Prosecutor General’s Office should have taken the protocol before the CSM,” Basescu pointed out.
He also pointed out that during his term in office he was not interested in seeing such a protocol.
“I understand there are 64 protocols and I’m telling you I never saw any one of them, and I was never interested in seeing such a protocol because it isn’t part of the Romanian President’s prerogatives,” Basescu added.
Tutuianu: Protocol shows Parliament was substituted as sole legislating authority
Senator Adrian Tutuianu, PSD Vice President, stated on Monday that the protocol signed by the SRI and the Prosecutor General’s Office shows, first of all, that Parliament was substituted as sole legislating authority.
“It shows, first of all, the substitution of Parliament’s role as sole legislating authority. The protocol confers upon SRI agents prerogatives in the criminal probe, something not stipulated by the Criminal Code, nor by the law on the organising and functioning of the SRI. The protocol adds provisions to the existing laws, which means it substituted itself to the country’s legislating authority, namely to Parliament. Likewise, we also have the Supreme Defence Council (CSAT) substituting Parliament, coming up with decisions, classified for the time being, and supplementing the law, establishing, for instance, areas that present interest for national security,” Tutuianu pointed out.
He added that the protocol also reveals the divulging of information from criminal probes, to persons other than those stipulated by law.
“Secondly, we notice a divulging of information from criminal probes, to persons other than those stipulated by law. For instance, the protocol mentions that, within 60 days, the Prosecutor General’s Office will notify the SRI about the way it put to good use the intelligence it received from the Service, which is absolutely illegal. Likewise, the Prosecutor’ office must put at the disposal of the Intelligence Service the criminal dossiers that show operational interest – it’s Article 7, paragraph 1, of the protocol,” Adrian Tutuianu added.
The Social Democrat Senator also noted the involvement of SRI agents in criminal probes, but also the magistrates’ collaboration with intelligence services.
“Thirdly, the SRI employees’ involvement in the criminal probe and even the hijacking of the probe. Already public there are cases such as Paltin Sturdza’s, when it is undeniable that SRI officers transcribed the wiretap recordings, something that the law forbids, and they altered the content of the recordings. A fourth thing that must be said: the magistrates’ collaboration with the intelligence services is illegal. Article 3(g) of the protocol confirms the existence of mixed teams made up of prosecutors and officers. In fact, the existence of these teams was also confirmed through public statements made by the officials of the two institutions. We notice that the criminal probe took place beyond the norms of the Criminal Procedure Code, in the sense that not only the prosecutor and the judicial police officer, but also intelligence officers got involved in the criminal probe,” Tutuianu added.
In this context, the PSD Senator stated that the first solution would be the finalising of the process of adopting the Judicial Laws.
“I believe the first solution is to finalise the process of adopting the Judicial Laws. (…) I believe this process must be finalised so that, via legal regulation, we would better outline the prerogatives, the obligations, the responsibilities of magistrates in the proper unfolding of a judicial proceeding. Likewise, through the way we have regulated things, the CSM must really become what the Constitution stipulates: the guarantor of the independence of the judiciary,” Tutuianu stated.
Among the solutions, he also pointed out putting up for debate in Parliament the package of bills on national security.
“And a second thing that must be done: drafting and putting up for debate in Parliament the package of national security bills. It’s almost unanimously accepted that there is the need for a new package of national security bills, which means at least 15-16 legislative acts. I’m here referring to the National Security Law, the Law on the SRI, SIE, SPP, the Law on combating terrorism, the Law on cybersecurity, so on and so forth,” Adrian Tutuianu added.
PSD’s Plesoianu demands declassification of all DNA-SRI protocols mentioned in CSAT’s 2005 report
On Monday, PSD House lawmaker Liviu Plesoianu demanded that all protocols that the Prosecutor General’s Office and the DNA concluded with the SRI, SIE, BNR and other institutions, protocols mentioned in the Supreme Defence Council’s (CSAT) 2005 report, be declassified.
“The horrible SRI – Prosecutor General’s Office Protocol recently declassified (concluded in 2009) is not even by far the only Protocol of this kind. The CSAT’s 2005 report (!) mentions the PROTOCOLS that the Prosecutor General’s Office and the DNA concluded with the SRI, SIE, BNR and many other institutions. Here is the text: ‘The Public Ministry and the National Anticorruption Department have concluded cooperation protocols with all structures that have intelligence prerogatives, in order to efficiently manage and put to good use the information on corruption crimes (Romanian Intelligence Service, Foreign Intelligence Service, Defence Ministry’s General Intelligence Directorate, Interior Ministry’s Directorate for Intelligence and Internal Protection, General Inspectorate of the Romanian Police), as well as with other institutions that have prerogatives in this field (National Bank of Romania, National Office for the Prevention and Combating of Money Laundering, National Audit Authority, Financial Guard, National Commission for Personal Assets).’ I hereby demand the urgent DECLASSIFICATION of all these Protocols! The SRI, SIE, Prosecutor General’s Office, DNA, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Romanian Police, Ministry of Finances, and all the other institutions that, according to the CSAT’s 2005 Report, concluded Protocols with the DNA and the Prosecutor General’s Office HAVE THE DUTY to declassify all these Protocols and to make them PUBLIC, in the shortest of times,” Plesoianu points out in a posting on Facebook.