The President of the High Court of Cassation and Justice, Cristina Tarcea, says she told judges to motivate all the decisions by September 1, and mentioned in an interview for Realitatea TV that otherwise she will notify the Judicial Inspection.
Tarcea said that, in her opinion, it is impossible to observe the 30-day term for motivating the decisions at the Supreme Court, considering the very high number of cases.
“The range of procedural activities of the judges in the criminal matter is extremely, extremely wide. This is a reason for a delay that is not so great, regarding the drafting of the decisions. From my point of view, it is impossible, at least at the High Court, to observe the 30-day term. All kinds of administrative measures have been taken, the number of cases where the motivation was delayed has been currently seriously reduced. I established that until September 1 everybody should take advantage from the judges’ holiday and finish their stock of files to be drafted. Otherwise, they will endure the legal consequences, namely I will notify the Judicial Inspection, which I did in other cases before, so it will not be something new for them” Tarcea explained for Realitatea TV.
Today, motivations are pending at the Supreme Court, for conviction or acquittal decisions in cases related, among others, to Liviu Dragnea, Calin Popescu Tariceanu, Victor Ponta, Elena Udrea, Radu Mazare, Constantin Nita or Alina Bica.
The ICCJ President, about amnesty and pardon: Such a normative act should be issued after extensive sociological and criminological surveys, seeing the criminal cases. The consequences affect the entire society
Speaking about a possible Emergency Ordinance on amnesty and pardon, the President of the High Court of Cassation and Justice, Cristina Tarcea, says that such a normative act should be issued after extensive sociological and criminological surveys, seeing the criminal cases, establishing exactly which offenses should benefit from such acts of clemency. “I wonder if in such a divided, fragmented, polarized society, this is the most appropriate moment” Tarcea mentioned in an interview for Realitatea TV.
Asked if the Romanian society is prepared for a law on amnesty and pardon related to certain criminal deeds, in the context of the public information on the possibility of such an Emergency Ordinance, Cristina Tarcea said: “.(…) considering the opinions of the doctrine authors, as well as the unfortunate experiences of the past, I believe such a normative act should be issued after extensive sociological and criminological surveys, seeing the criminal cases, establishing exactly which offenses should benefit from such acts of clemency. The consequences affect the entire society”.
She said she wonders if in such a divided, fragmented, polarized society, this is the most appropriate moment.
The ICCJ President explained that amnesty is a cause that removes criminal liability, while pardon is one of the causes the removes totally or partially the execution of the sentence, on a case-by-case basis.
“I remember that an eminent professor in the faculty was saying that amnesty means to forget, while pardon means to forgive. The same professor was saying that the intervention of a normative act granting amnesty and pardon involves a context of social, moral and political concord. He was also saying that amnesty and pardon can be granted only after an extensive study on the consequences that these measures will have not only on the society, but also on the criminal phenomenon in general. From my point of view, since I have also experienced the period until 1988 as a lawyer, the institution of amnesty and pardon was diverted over the time from its original purpose. I remember a quasi-general amnesty in 1988, an amnesty that was decided when Nicolae Ceausescu turned 70, but there was a joke circulating among us, the law specialists, according to which the amnesty was decided on a napkin, it was so vague, problematic in terms of its drafting” Cristina Tarcea stated.
Cristina Tarcea asked if the modifying of abuse of office, offence that Liviu Dragnea is charged with, is a coincidence: I don’t believe in coincidences
When asked whether it is a coincidence that the judicial laws, but also the provisions concerning abuse of office, have been modified in a “fast-forward” manner, considering that Liviu Dragnea is charged precisely with abuse of office, Supreme Court President Cristina Tarcea said she does not believe in coincidences and that the amending of the judicial laws should have required dialogue between professionals, dialogue that would have included all arguments.
“Generally, I don’t believe in coincidences. I have always been a person of good faith and I have been willing to give everyone the presumption of good faith but, as I have shown, such substantial legislative modifications require a dialogue, a dialogue between professionals first of all, a dialogue that would take into account all arguments, and I wonder whether such a dialogue, in conditions of celerity, and in conditions in which one could speculate at any time about the juridical situation of this or that actor from the legislative, could lead to generally accepted regulations. There is indeed a problem from this point of view,” Tarcea stated.
Likewise, asked whether President Klaus Iohannis “has influence” at the Supreme Court to intervene in Liviu Dragnea’s dossier, Cristina Tarcea gave assurances that “nobody from the outside has any kind of influence.”
The Supreme Court President added she does not condemn “certain positions of the parties that were involved in a judicial procedure and are displeased with the results of those procedures,” but she does condemn “the haste with which other medias are willing to take over, amplify, develop – without any kind of evidence or arguments – the statements of those persons who have a stake in the case.”
“The only influence that judges have is that of the evidence in the dossier, of the legally-obtained evidence that leads to an acquittal or a conviction. I would like to emphasise something else – I do not condemn certain positions of the parties involved in a judicial procedure, who are displeased with the result of those procedures. On the other hand, I condemn the haste with which other medias, and I’m not necessarily referring to the press, are willing to take over, amplify, develop – without any kind of evidence or arguments – the claims of those persons who have a stake in the case. I find that condemnable and I believe it should be fixed. Because, just like the parties demand that they not be judged in the absence of evidence, I believe it is a common-sense condition that we, the members of the judiciary, also raise for each statement that concerns us to be not just a statement for the sake of making a statement, but to be backed by minimal elements proving the things said,” the ICCJ President stated.
Cristina Tarcea was also asked why the magistrates had separate opinions in the dossier in which Liviu Dragnea was convicted to three and a half years in prison, executory sentence. She said that “this isn’t the first dossier in the world in which there is a separate opinion” and that separate opinions exist both in criminal and civil matters.
“Following some extremely aggressive and vehement stances against High Court judges, we had a General Assembly in which we asked everyone for balance and not to engage in the adventure of debating solutions before they read the content of the court decisions, before they read the reasons that stood at the basis of a certain solution, be it conviction or acquittal. I won’t start making comments one way or another now, in the absence of a substantiation, considering that Criminal Law is not even my specialty. All I can assure you of is that something normal happened. Separate opinions are regulated by the Criminal Procedure Code and the Civil Procedure Code and there have been many other situations in which separate opinions have been formulated. We will see when both the decision and the separate opinion are drafted, so as to know the arguments considered by the three judges the moment they made a ruling,” Tarcea stated.
Asked whether the judges that ruled in Dragnea’s case complained of any pressure and whether someone contacted them, the ICCJ President said: “None of the three judges noticed something like this. (…) I don’t believe someone dared contact any judge involved in the case. In fact, that would be an offence and that person risks incurring a criminal offence.”
On June 21, PSD leader Liviu Dragnea was convicted to three and a half years in prison, executory sentence, in the dossier concerning fictitious hiring at the Teleorman County’s General Directorate for Social Services and Child Protection (DGASPC), for instigating abuse of office. The suspension of the two-year prison sentence that Liviu Dragnea received in the ‘Referendum’ case was cancelled, and the two sentences were merged, the result being a total executory prison sentence of three and a half years. The magistrates did not take the decision unanimously, there being a separate opinion to acquit Liviu Dragnea of the charge.
The Supreme Court’s ruling is not final and is open to attack before the five-judge panel.