Justice Minister Tudorel Toader stated again, on Thursday, at a press conference in Timisoara, that he does not believe that President Klaus Iohannis will disregard the Constitutional Court of Romania’s (CCR) decision on the dismissal of the DNA Chief Prosecutor. Nevertheless, he mentioned the sanctions that the non-observance of the CCR decision would entail, talking about the voters’ ballots but also about impeachment, referring to the latter without naming it.
“The Constitution says that… and the CCR jurisprudence says that we must all fulfil our obligations which stem from the fundamental law, based on the principle of cooperation and loyalty to constitutional values. I said it before and I express my firm conviction: I don’t believe the president of the republic, regardless who that is today, who that will be tomorrow or 7 years from now, I don’t believe he will give Romanians an example of non-observance of the fundamental law, because in that case why should the person that jaywalks be held accountable while someone else does not observe the Constitution?” Tudorel Toader stated.
In answering a question, he explained that, in case the CCR decision is disregarded, the legislation does not stipulate fine or prison time, but it does stipulate the obligation to observe the Constitution.
“Consequently, we don’t have fine or prison term, but we have the obligation to observe the Constitution and the sanctions – which aren’t the classical ones because in the country there is only one holder of this dignity –, are those that can stem precisely from the fundamental law. I don’t believe people will look favourably upon a potential conduct – which I said I doubt – of non-observance of a CCR decision, of non-observance of the Constitution. I don’t believe that,” the minister said.
The Justice Minister said that the voters’ ballots are “the supreme sanction.”
“After all, the supreme sanction, because even this power that we delegate, we divide the rule of law into three powers, this power stems from the people, the ones who give you power in the electoral process, and voters can censure you at that moment. You fined me for jaywalking, and we elect you for not observing the fundamental law?” Toader said.
Tudorel Toader also referred to impeachment.
“Besides this, there is yet another sanction, far more severe, but I don’t even want to pronounce the institution that you know and that was last used 6 years ago,” the minister said, referring to the impeachment procedures against Traian Basescu in 2012.
The Constitutional Court decision which notes the existence of a juridical conflict of a constitutional nature between the Justice Minister and President Klaus Iohannis, generated by the Head of State’s refusal to comply with the proposed dismissal from office of National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) Chief Prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi, was read on Thursday during the CCR’s plenary meeting.
Toader on extradition of indicted former minister Udrea: Justice Ministry fulfilled all its obligations promptly
Justice Minister Tudorel Toader said in Timisoara on Thursday that the Justice Ministry fulfilled all the obligations incumbent on it for the extradition of indicted former Tourist Minister Elena Udrea, reiterating that Udrea may be extradited from Costa Rica.
About a public rumour that Udrea could not be extradited because she was granted asylums in Costa Rica, Toader mentioned that there is no evidence to support that.
“Whoever made the statement that Udrea was granted the right of asylum did not prove in any way the political reason for such right. Consequently, there is bilateral co-operation on a reciprocity basis and we have the transfer of a former convict – which means that reciprocity works, as we have another ongoing similar procedure – which also means reciprocity works, as there are conventions to which both Romania and Costa Rica are signatories that can be implemented,” said Toader.
He pointed out that there are also other aspects of the case that cannot be made public, mentioning that the Ministry of Justice has fulfilled the very next day the obligations incumbent on it regarding the extradition procedure.
“All I can tell you is that the [Justice] Ministry has fulfilled very promptly, meaning the very next day, all the obligations incumbent on it regarding the extradition procedure,” Toader said.
Regarding the extradition procedure in the case of fugitive former lawmaker Sebastian Ghita, Toader said that in that case all the necessary steps have been taken.
“The procedure is going on. In Sebastian Ghita’s case, all the necessary procedures have been conducted and an extradition application was filed. We were asked for further details, which we asked the Ploiesti Court of Appeal to provide; they sent them to us, we translated them, and forwarded to Serbia’s Ministry of Justice, which submitted the Supreme Court itself, according to the law,” said Toader.