The plenary sitting of the Deputies’ Chamber adopted on Wednesday the draft amending the Criminal Code.
The bill gathered 167 votes “in favor,” 97 “against” and 19 abstentions.
Earlier in the day, Chamber of Deputies’ plenary voted on articles the amendments to the Criminal Code.
The report was adopted on Tuesday afternoon by the MPs of the Special Parliamentary Committee for amending the laws of Justice, after the draft law on the amendments of the Criminal Code was greenlighted by the Senate.
The form adopted by the Senate was kept in the committee, the amendments being of a technical nature. The Committee accepted an amendment of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE) according to which, in order to establish the embezzlement offence, the prior criminal complaint against the civil servant is necessary.
Criminal Code debates in the Lower House. A new day of scandal in Parliament. Opposition says amendments were tailor-made for Dragnea, UDMR disagrees with some of them. PSD says the bill “puts stop to abuses”
Opposition: Mourning for democracy. Iordache: You will challenge at the CCR, but that doesn’t make you right
The bill amending the Criminal Code was debated, article by article, on Wednesday, before the final vote in the Lower House, the last Chamber before promulgation. After the Senate adopted on Tuesday the bill amending the Criminal Code, with 74 votes in favour, 28 against and 9 abstentions, the special parliamentary committee on judicial laws adopted later that day, with 12 votes in favour, 7 against and 9 abstentions, a report greenlighting the amendments to the Criminal Code.
At the request of PSD’s House whip Daniel Suciu, the House plenum decided that the final vote on the amendments to the Criminal Code would take place also on Wednesday. Initially, the debates had been scheduled on Wednesday and the final vote on Thursday.
Abuse of office passes in form adopted by cttee
Abuse of office passed through the House in the form adopted by the committee, PNL, USR and UDMR’s rejection proposals receiving a negative vote.
“For 9 months we have debated the judicial laws, the Criminal Code, the Criminal Procedure Code within the special committee and, until yesterday, even though PSD was about to amend this article, they did not put any text at our disposal. And the day before yesterday they passed in a fast-forward manner a text just like they wanted it to be, partially decriminalised. Only they – and we all – know why they are preoccupied with abuse of office. Our amendment was formulated as early as last autumn, it fully observes the CCR [Constitutional Court] decision and all conditions imposed by international treaties, by the New York Convention. We introduced that the infringement be the result of an OUG [Government Emergency Ordinance] or OG [Government Ordinance],” House lawmaker Ioan Cupsa (PNL) stated.
“The amendment has the exact number 63. You will see that, in our case too, our amendment refers to the infringement of a law, OG or OUG that causes material damage, leaving it up to the judge to analyse the gravity of the guilty act. At the same time, it maintains the punishment at 2 to 7 years and the suspension of some rights,” House lawmaker Marton Arpad (UDMR) stated.
“The CCR [Constitutional Court] talked about a threshold, not a wall. It did not say Parliament should build a wall for abuse of office and accountability should no longer exist in 99 percent of the cases,” House lawmaker Ion Stelian said.
UDMR, PNL and USR demanded the rejection of the amendments to abuse of office, but the Opposition parties’ initiative was rejected by vote.
The article was adopted in the committee’s form in a 118-90 vote.
According to the amendments, Article 297, Section (1), is modified and will read as follows: “The guilty act committed by the civil servant, while exercising his/her duties expressly regulated by laws, government ordinances or emergency ordinances, by refusing to carry out an action or by carrying it out by infringing upon the prerogatives thus regulated, upon the clear stipulations of a law, government ordinance or emergency ordinance, for the purpose of obtaining an undue material benefit for self, his/her spouse, a relative or an in-law up to and including an in-law of the second degree, and by doing so causes certain and effective damage that exceeds one minimum salary or the harming of the legitimate rights and interests of a natural or legal person, is punishable by 2 to 5 years in prison or by fine.”
PNL asked that the meeting be suspended, the voting continued
Shortly after the vote on abuse of office, House lawmaker Raluca Turcan (PNL) asked that the meeting be suspended, arguing that the decision on the setting up of the special committee is being infringed upon, however her proposal was not put up for vote and the articles passed without further debates.
“We propose a five-minute break for consultations, because the regulations are being infringed upon given the way the debates are proceeding. By continuing the procedure up to the final vote, you are infringing upon the decision on the setting up of the special committee. We demand that the debates be suspended,” Raluca Turcan said.
Meeting Chairman Gabriel Vlase responded: “We cannot put it up for vote. All of your proposals have been put up for vote.”
Extended confiscation passes during article-by-article debate on amendments to Criminal Code. Opposition asked that the amendments be eliminated
Extended confiscation was passed during the House plenary meeting that debated and voted on the amendments to the Criminal Code, Florin Iordache claiming that, if attacked at the Court, the article could not be declared unconstitutional.
“In the case of extended confiscation, there is the European directive and the amendment of the Justice Ministry and of the CSM. When we say that the court rules based on the evidence, so the court cannot form its conviction except when there is the suspicion that a crime was committed based on the evidence administered. From the start we say stop to abuses. On their basis. Is it difficult? It’s not difficult! There’s nothing to fail at the [Constitutional] Court,” Florin Iordache said.
Nevertheless, PNL and USR proposed that the modifications be eliminated.
“PNL proposes the elimination of the text adopted by the Senate. You formulated that it results that the goods are the proceeds of criminal activity based on the administered evidence. Then it becomes special confiscation, not extended confiscation. It’s a mix-up between two juridical issues,” House lawmaker Ioan Cupsa (PNL) said.
Eventually, the proposals were rejected and the article was adopted with 135 votes in favour, 68 against and one abstention.
USR: If the Cernavoda NPP blows, in the future it won’t be a crime
“If a babysitter you hired and left at home does not take care of your child, in the future it won’t be a crime. The fact that it leaves the child to die of hunger or cold. If the Cernavoda nuclear power plant exploded, in the future it won’t be a crime,” Ion Stelian said, trying to argue in favour of the adoption of an amendment filed by the USR.
Nevertheless, USR’s proposal was rejected in a 119-64 vote.
“As group leader I too have said, the President of UDMR has also said, that all CCR decisions on the presumption of innocence should be introduced in Romanian legislation, because otherwise the fundamental human rights are harmed in Romania. Yesterday we filed amendments that must be adopted, we believe. We hope that these amendments, even though rejected by the committee, would be adopted by the plenum, because otherwise we have no way to support the final bill,” UDMR’s House whip Korodi Attila said.
Iordache: You will challenge at the CCR but that doesn’t make you right / Stelian: You are modifying the Code for Dragnea
Florin Iordache, chairman of the special committee on judicial laws, stated on Wednesday that a simple challenge against the amendments to the Criminal Code at the CCR does not mean that the Opposition is right. USR representatives claimed that the amendments are tailor-made for Liviu Dragnea.
“I have to point out something because there have been very many manipulations and disinformation. We are at the end of the road, a road we undertook, and the judicial laws, the last of them, [law no.] 304/2004, will be rejected today by the CCR I believe, and here we are close to having them promulgated by the President. Show me a single article that affects the independence. You haven’t managed to do that. The judicial laws will be promulgated for good in the next two weeks. Now, in what concerns the Criminal Code, you will attack this Code too, but that doesn’t mean that if you attack it you are right. We considered that the amending of the Criminal Code is necessary, same for the Criminal Procedure Code. We are talking about 70 articles, not hundreds, for your correct information, and they are in line with EU directives. There was a great manipulation, but those who broke the law will be held accountable. If someone is guilty they should go to court for real dossiers, not for dossiers created for the settling of accounts. We want to return to normality in Romania,” Florin Iordache, the chairman of the committee that dealt with the amending of the judicial laws, stated.
On the other hand, the Opposition, which has already announced it will challenge the amendments at the Constitutional Court, says that the amendments are meant to rid Liviu Dragnea of his legal problems.
“Today’s debates are not so much about the Criminal Code as they are about some models in society. There is the model of meritocracy, of the one who learns and observes the rules and is being awarded, and there is also the model in which the dunce of the class, the bully, the hoodlum of the school is awarded and brought to the rank of ruler of this nation. This too is a model after all. We had 50 years in which the leader of the country was a shoemaker who graduated four grades. You are modifying the Criminal Code to get Liviu Dragnea off the hook. If three or more persons plan to form a crime ring to assassinate someone, occasionally, it won’t be a crime ring but a literary group, a poetry circle,” House lawmaker Ion Stelian (USR) said.
House debates on Criminal Code last one hour, at Iordache’s proposal
The debates on the Criminal Code have lasted one hour within the House, as proposed by Florin Iordache, the chairman of the special parliamentary committee. PNL has already announced it will challenge at the Constitutional Court the amendments brought to the Code.
“Following the debates, we propose to you the report that includes the admitted amendments, under Annex 1, and those rejected, under Annex 2, and we propose a debate time of one hour,” Florin Iordache stated during the House plenary meeting. The proposal was adopted in a 100-15 vote.
“PNL will not vote the bill amending the Criminal Code. PSD-ALDE are disregarding the regulations of the House, the Constitution, and the New York Convention ratified in 2004. But, most importantly, you are disregarding the interests of the citizens. There is a red thread that goes through the process of amending the Criminal Procedure Code, and the one amending the Criminal Code, and that is that you seek to protect exclusively the interests of criminals, and that crimes would be very difficult or impossible to punish, and to free them as quickly as possible from penitentiaries. This is your red thread,” House lawmaker Ioan Cupsa (PNL), member of the special committee, said.
He also announced that the PNL will challenge the amendments at the Constitutional Court.
“You have the nerve to propose, against the Constitution, that a CCR decision should generate retroactive effects and you are doing it to protect the interests of criminals. We, like others, have wondered who benefits from this overture. Could it somehow benefit Mr Dragnea, Mr Tariceanu, other PSD-ALDE leaders, all of whom are involved in criminal trials in which they are accused of committing some crimes you have decriminalised. I’m telling you who doesn’t benefit. The regular citizen. We will challenge at the CCR this amending law and I guarantee that the CCR will prove us right because the text has a poor, execrable quality, it contains unclear, contradictory texts and even legislative parallelisms,” Cupsa added.
Korodi: We hope UDMR’s amendments are adopted in the plenum or we won’t support the final adoption of the Criminal Code
House lawmaker Attila Korodi (UDMR) claimed that his party will not vote in favour of the amendments to the Criminal Code unless the Union’s amendments – rejected by the Iordache Committee on Tuesday – are adopted.
“For over a year we have been debating the laws that concern the structure of the judicial system, the criminal procedure. Both Union President [Kelemen Hunor] and I, as group leader, and my colleagues, have said that all CCR and ECHR decisions or the directive on the presumption of innocence should be introduced in Romanian legislation, because otherwise fundamental human rights are harmed in Romania. That is what happened and it’s very good that it happened. The laws voted by UDMR had, in our view, all these elements. Yesterday we tabled within the special committee a set of amendments that we believe must be adopted, for the Criminal Code to be in line with CCR decisions. We hope that these amendments would be adopted within the plenum, because otherwise we would have no way of supporting the final adoption of the Criminal Code,” the UDMR lawmaker explained.
Opposition wanted debates on Criminal Code postponed. PNL: If you vote today, it’s mourning for democracy
PNL’s Raluca Turcan and USR’s Ion Stelian demanded the postponement of the House debates on the Criminal Law, but the proposals were rejected by the plenum. At the same time, the plenum rejected the proposal to postpone the vote for Thursday.
“PNL is asking you to remove from today’s order of the day the bill concerning the Criminal Code, since the stipulations on making the report available for parliamentarians 24 hours before are being infringed upon. The debates within the special committee on the amending of the judicial laws concluded yesterday evening, at a late hour, they didn’t have time to see the entire report drafted by the special committee, and if this bill is not debated consistently, thoroughly, we risk throwing the country into chaos and placing it at the disposal of criminals and the corrupt. I would like you to have an easy conscience that you followed each article and you took note before giving this miserable vote on the Criminal Code,” House lawmaker Raluca Turcan (PNL) stated.
Her proposal was nevertheless rejected, Turcan adding: “It’s mourning for Romanian democracy if you cast the final vote today.”
At the same time, House lawmakers also rejected USR lawmaker Ion Stelian’s proposal.
“I have the same request, but I want to invoke a different article from the joint regulations. This report must be filed at least three days prior to it being put up for vote within the plenum. (…) Errors are being inserted regarding the amendments proposed by the USR. This must be corrected by a special committee,” Stelian demanded.
Iordache: We have planned, ever since the 2016 elections campaign, to stop abuses within the judiciary
House lawmaker Florin Iordache (PSD), chairman of the special committee on the amending of the judicial laws, says that the three judicial laws repeatedly challenged by the Opposition at the CCR will be promulgated by the President within two weeks.
“We are somehow at the end of the road, an end of road we somehow undertook, that of devising the judicial laws; I believe the CCR will today reject for good [the notification concerning] the last of them, [law no.] 304/2004, and, in these conditions, it will be promulgated by the President. (…) I told you, show me a single article that creates problems or attacks the independence. You haven’t managed to do that. You’ve permanently attacked at the Court, you’ve always sought all kinds of subterfuges. I repeat, the judicial laws will be promulgated for good in the next two weeks, adopted for good. You’ve already attacked the Civil Procedure Code. You are good when it comes to attacking at the court, but it’s not really working out for you because you don’t have arguments,” Iordache said.
He added that the PSD has planned, ever since the elections campaign of 2016, to put a stop to abuses by modifying the Criminal Codes.
“We have proposed, ever since the elections campaign, putting a stop to abuses, we have said that those who really broke the law should be held accountable, but not based on suppositions, on simple witness’s statements or on some documents that are then withdrawn in court so that people are investigated and then acquitted. Lately, the dozens and hundreds of people that have been acquitted have created a big problem for us and that is why we considered that the modifications to the Criminal Code should be [in line with] the decisions of the Court and Criminal Procedure Code,” Florin Iordache added.
Reactions to amendments brought to the Criminal Code
President Iohannis: I’m going to use all the constitutional tools to challenge the criminal codes
President Klaus Iohannis said on Wednesday that he will challenge with the Constitutional Court (CCR) the Criminal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure.
“On the amended Criminal Code, I will have a longer presentation when I challenge this piece of legislation with CCR. It is also well known that the Code of Criminal Procedure, which I referred to a few days ago, is being currently looked into to be challenged. The amendments that have been made are either futile or even toxic and harmful, and I intend to use all the constitutional instruments to challenge these two pieces of legislation – the Criminal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure,” Iohannis said at the Cotroceni Presidential Palace.
He added that the adoption of the Criminal Code as amended is outrageous, underlining that what is happening is the dictatorship of the majority.
“It is simply unacceptable how PSD [the Social Democratic Party, major at rule] has transformed parliamentary procedures and how it is acting today in Parliament. What is happening these days is called the dictatorship of the majority and is profoundly damaging to democracy. There is a multitude of politicians in Romania claiming that we need to pay more attention to Parliament, but for that to happen, first, Parliament has to pay attention to itself. PSD passed the Criminal Code in Parliament in record time, with a simulacrum of a debate in the Chamber of Deputies, and that is profoundly damaging. PSD managed in a short time to destroy the dignity of lawmaking, to transform the debates in Parliament into a debate lacking transparency and leading to a predictable result. The arguments of the opposition are being trampled under,” said Iohannis.
Serban Nicolae: Iohannis flings fairly embarrassing accusations for someone who doesn’t observe CCR decisions
Senator Serban Nicolae (PSD) stated on Wednesday that the criticism that President Klaus Iohannis has levelled against the amendments to the Criminal Code – adopted by the House, as the Chamber with the last say on the matter – are unacceptable and embarrassing, adding that the Head of State is hypocritical and dishonest because he does not observe the decision of the CCR.
“He flings some fairly embarrassing accusations for someone who does not observe CCR decisions and who basically instigates the disrespecting of the law, it’s very unlikely for him to be taken seriously. Since he was not bothered by the modifications brought to the Criminal Procedure Code via OUG [Government Emergency Ordinance], just like he was not bothered by the ignoring of the 2016 decision on abuse of office. He will probably delay the coming into force of these laws. The hypocrisy, duplicity of Mr Iohannis is as obvious as possible. He has aberrantly attacked absolutely all legislative measures included in the governance programme. That is why such criticism is absolutely unacceptable and the public opinion can no longer take this man seriously. Among us he has generated a fit of laughter and the best solution is to ignore,” Senator Serban Nicolae (PSD) stated for Antena3.
Asked about the consequences of the President’s refusal to observe the Constitutional Court’s decision and to sign the decree dismissing Laura Codruta Kovesi from the helm of the DNA, Nicolae said: “I believe Mr Iohannis will wake up and will implement the CCR decision. Any infringement upon the Constitution is a grave act and I believe this is the denouement. (…) I believe he wants to play the victim.”
Dragnea on Iohannis’s announcement that he will attack Criminal Codes at CCR: It doesn’t surprise me, he abusively used all the instruments and prerogatives he has in the Constitution to block other laws too
PSD leader Liviu Dragnea says he is not surprised that President Klaus Iohannis will challenge at the Constitutional Court (CCR) the amending of the Criminal Codes, considering that he “abusively” used all instruments and prerogatives conferred by the Constitution to block other laws too. Dragnea told the President that he must stand in line to challenge the Criminal Codes at the Court, since the Opposition has also announced it will do so.
“It doesn’t surprise me, because President Iohannis has abusively used all the instruments and prerogatives he has in the Constitution to block other laws too. Laws that concern the governance, the economic programme, the Sovereign Fund for Development and Investments, the support for Romanian farmers, and many other laws, the salary law, only to delay so that maybe this desire of theirs, which has nothing to do with democracy, namely to find means to topple this Government – not through constitutional or parliamentarian means –, would come true. Announcing that he will challenge (at the CCR – editor’s note) is not a surprise. He must stand in line, I’ve understood the Opposition is also challenging,” the leader of the Social Democrats explained.
PSD leader on accusations that Penal Code was modified for his sake: I’m sick and tired of these smoke bombs. The decision taken a year and a half ago by Iohannis and a small group of people that have influence and occult power in the Romanian state was for me to be annihilated
On Wednesday, when asked once again for his comments on the accusations according to which the amendments to the Criminal Code were made specifically for him, PSD President Liviu Dragnea said that the decision to “annihilate” him was taken a year and a half ago by “Iohannis and a small group of people that have influence and occult powers.”
“It’s a Criminal Code tailor-made for Romanian defendants, and I want to say with all due respect that I’m sick and tired of these smoke bombs that have been thrown by some for the past year and a half. What does it mean tailor-made for Liviu Dragnea? In what concerns me, the decision taken a year and a half ago by Iohannis and a small group of people that have influence and occult powers in the Romanian state was that I should be annihilated no matter what. That we are now talking about abuse of office… tomorrow they can make a thousand dossiers, 2,000 dossiers. They have set a target, they have no hesitation, because destiny is playing the loss of unimaginable power they had, and they still have in the Romanian state. We are talking about an illegitimate occult power, but to leave thousands of innocent Romanians shaking until they get to court, until they find out the sentence and, even if they are innocent, for them no to know whether they will remain free. This can’t be accepted,” Liviu Dragnea said.
Prosecutor General’s Office says changes to abuse of office in Criminal Code exceed issues analysed by constitutional judges
The proposed form for amending the abuse of office exceeds the aspects analysed by the Constitutional Court of Romania, which did not question the limitation of the scope of the crime, according to an analysis carried out at the level of the Prosecutor General’s Office into the impact of the recent amendments brought to the Criminal Code by Romania’s lawmakers.
The Prosecutor General’s Office argues that the amendment to the offence could result in criminal liability being dropped for more than 2,000 persons brought to court in 2014-2017 who have incurred losses in excess of 4 billion lei.
According to a statement from the Prosecutor General’s Office, an analysis into the impact of the legislative amendments to the Criminal Code regarding to abuse of office and neglect of duty finds that the state’s obligation to ensure, through its criminal policy, an effective protection of the citizens against acts of unlawful nature that affect his / her rights or legitimate interests has been violated.
“With regard to the alleged criminality of abuse of office, the analysis highlighted that the final text restricts the scope of the offence and violates the provisions of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption adopted in New York on October 31, 2003. At the same time, the form proposed to amend Article 297 of the Criminal Code (abuse of office) exceeds the aspects analysed by the Constitutional Court, which did not question the limitation of the scope of the offence. As a consequence of the restriction of the definition of the active office abuser, a category a large number of civil servants will be exempted from criminal liability in circumstances where they would violate their explicitly regulated powers by law, with the immediate consequence being the closure of ongoing court cases either at the stage of criminal prosecution or being considered for acquittal in cases where referral to the court has been ordered, ” reads the statement.
The court also mentions that curtailing the sentences will work on reducing the statutes of limitation for criminal liability, which will lead to the termination of criminal proceedings in many cases.
The Attorney General’s Office also notes that restricting the definition of beneficiaries of ill-gotten gains to spouse, siblings, and immediate in-laws legalises all other abuse of office infractions committed by the civil servant in order to obtain undue gains for immediate relatives or other people.
“In order to highlight the impact of the modifications to the text, we mention that, between 2014 and 2017, at the level of the Public Prosecution Service, 2,099 people were brought to court, with the damage caused by the acts committed by them standing at 4,017,356,809 lei.”
Regarding the repealing the criminal offence of neglect of duty, the Public Prosecution Service says that the analysis revealed that it is not justified by the provisions of the Constitutional Court’s ruling, as that would leave outside the scope of criminalisation of unlawful deeds impinging on the right or legitimate interests of an individual or legal person.
“In 2014-2017, 233 people were brought to justice by the Public Prosecution Service for the neglect of duty for a damage incurred by their criminal activity amounting to 5,381,726 lei.”
They also say that an analysis of the criminal codes in several other EU member states reveals that many of these contain criminalistaion of abuse of office and neglect of duty.
“The states that do not have such generic criminalisation in their criminal laws have instead a plurality of other crimes that in the Romanian criminal law would qualify as abuse of office,” the concludes the Supreme Court’s Prosecution Office.
PG Lazar:2,099 defendants charged with abuse of office in 4 years didn’t committ offenses for self or relatives
Over the past four years 2,099 defendants – public servants, persons elected at local or county level – have been sent to court for committing some abuse of office offenses, but none of them have committed the offenses for themselves or for their relatives, Prosecutor General Augustin Lazar stated on Wednesday in the context of the amendments brought to the Criminal Code.
“It’s an important day in which we should think very well about what we are doing in order not to regret it. Over the past two days, the Public Prosecution Service conducted an impact study in order to see what would happen if this law entered into force. The results are surprising. Firstly, over the past four years a number of 2,099 defendants, public servants, persons elected at local or county level, at central level, have been sent to court, for committing some abuse of office offenses. Interestingly, we’ve searched among these defendants to see if one of them committed the offenses for self or for relatives and we haven’t found any case, which means that the professionalisation of this kind of criminal activity has reached a level, a more sophisticated way of operating. It implies the use of third parties, of some persons who are used as dummies, ‘straw men,’ who receive the respective benefits and disappear after that smoke screen,” PG Lazar stated upon entering the Superior Council of Magistracy (CSM) headquarters.
According to Lazar, a first conclusion would be that the abuse of office offense is cleared of charges.
“The problem which results from it, a first conclusion would be that, according to this draft article the abuse of office offense is cleared of charges. What remains in the Criminal Code is just a text form that would indicate the fact that the abuse of office offense hasn’t entirely been abolished, but in practice, if over the last four years we haven’t encountered any case that pertains to the typology that is retained in this text this means that the text is purely formal,” Lazar said.
He mentioned that, if the amendments of the abuse of office offense entered into force, all 2,099 defendants would be acquitted.
“It results that all 2,099 defendants would remain acquitted, would be acquitted and the damage worth over 4 billion lei would not be recovered anymore. The precautionary measures would be lifted giving that there is no motive and it would be even an abuse of authorities to go after someone who behaved according to the current legal framework. Therefore, this type of conduct – abusing in favour of some third parties – wouldn’t represent an offense,” the PG explained.
FJR: Passage of Criminal Code amendments at speed of light turns Romania away from rule of law standards
The adoption of the amendments to the Criminal Code at the speed of light, in blatant breach of international conventions and by ignoring the opinions of the Venice Commission, turns the Romanian state farther away from the minimal standards of the rule of law, the Romanian Judges Forum (FJR) said.
Despite countless calls by Romanian magistrates and European and international organizations in all possible forms, which have been running lately in the hundreds, the Parliament of Romania heedlessly continues its final effort, leaving partner states and actually the entire civilized world appalled, the signatories of the message state.
“Amendments required by laws of capital importance such as the Criminal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code are not to be adopted at the speed of light, in fast-track procedures invented overnight in sizzling summer times, during recess, in contempt of the civilized world, but by dialogue, based on serious impact studies and with the involvement of all relevant technical experts, mainly of international ones,” the Judges Forum underscores.
The magistrates argue that the amendments that cleared Parliament shoot past the desideratum claimed by the representatives of the legislative power, of just bringing the legal provisions in line with the resolutions of the Constitutional Court, and that they actually shift to an analysis of timeliness from the standpoint of the state’s criminal policy, which would for instance require “carefully weighing in on the need to effectively protect the social values targeted by the anti-social deed perpetrated by the public servants, and on protecting the integrity of the public heritage, respectively.”
The Judges Forum argues that a radical change in the lawmaker’s viewpoint on the criminal liability of public servants should be the result of serious debate in the judicial milieu and in society, in order to avoid all potential negative consequences such as rendering vulnerable the social relations that should be based on confidence in the activity of public servants, and not by violating the provisions of the UN Convention against corruption adopted in New York on October 31, 2003.
The Romanian Judges Forum reiterates that when adopting the envisaged legislative amendments, Parliament is bound to wait for and fully take in consideration the opinions of the Venice Commission which was notified on June 28 by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, as a minimal indication that the rule of law can still operate in Romania and in order to not put in difficulty the track of the Romanian state as a member of the Council of Europe.
“Having in view Romania’s statute as a party to the European Convention on Human Rights and as a member of the Council of Europe, the recommendations of the Venice Commission cannot remain without practical effects, as the improvement of the regulatory framework is being pursued without equaling this to the breach of the principle of the supremacy of the Constitution of Romania,” the judges argue.
The Romanian Judges Forum is calling on the competent authorities to challenge the regulatory act in the Constitutional Court.