Asked for her comment on the accusations that the Justice Minister has levelled against her, High Court of Cassation and Justice (ICCJ) President Cristina Tarcea stated on Tuesday that she cannot comment on “how much someone understands and is able to understand.” The Head of the Supreme Court also stated that when she said that the decision regarding the dismissal of the DNA Chief Prosecutor was politicised her sole intention was to express her belief that the political must stay away from the judicial branch and if that means engaging in politics then she engages in politics: “If this means engaging in politics, well, I’m engaging in politics.” Likewise, asked if she believes she has become a target for Tudorel Toader, Cristina Tarcea said: “Oh, I don’t think the Justice Minister stoops down to my level, on no account.”
“Two days before the loathsome interview, the Judicial Inspection asked all courts, including the ICCJ, to present the status of the backlog of decisions. Does that mean the Judicial Inspection pressured judges? That’s exactly what I did too,” Cristina Tarcea stated. She was accused of putting pressure on magistrates after she stated, in an interview for RealitateaTV, that she has given them a September 1 deadline to substantiate all court decisions.
Asked whether she believes she has become a target for Tudorel Toader, Cristina Tarcea said: “Oh, I don’t think the Justice Minister stoops down to my level, on no account.”
Likewise, when asked whether her intention – when stating that the decision to dismiss from office the Chief Prosecutor of the DNA was politicised – was to criticise the Justice Minister, she said that her sole intention was to express her belief that the political must stay away from the judicial branch and that if this means engaging in politics then she engages in politics.
“I cannot comment on how much someone understands and is able to understand. My intention was but one: to sincerely express my belief that the political element, the political factor, must stay as far away as possible from the judicial branch. If this means engaging in politics, well, I’m engaging in politics,” Tarcea stated.
High Court of Cassation and Justice President Cristina Tarcea stated in an interview for RealitateaTV, while commenting the decision to dismiss from office DNA Chief Prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi, that the said decision was “politicised to an inadmissible degree,” declaring herself “intrigued.”
“I won’t speak on behalf of my fellow judges, because I haven’t discussed these aspects with them. I will speak on my own behalf and I will say that I have looked at everything that has happened. Not necessarily with concern but intrigued, because I found it all so inadmissibly politicised that I did not know exactly what is going on and I did not know to what extent the body that is, after all, according to the Constitution, part of the judicial branch must be the object of dispute of so many political disputes,” the ICCJ President stated about the decision to dismiss Laura Codruta Kovesi.
She added she does not believe it is normal for the dismissal from office initiative to start from the political environment and for a Justice Minister to notify the Constitutional Court over such an aspect.
“This doesn’t seem normal to me and it shouldn’t happen. It is true that the statute of the prosecutor is fairly uncertain, according to our Constitution, leaving aside the fact that nobody has the objective of clarifying certain aspects that are fairly unclear and confusing in the Romanian Constitution, but as long as a body is part of the judicial branch let’s not engage in electioneering, let’s not engage in political actions involving that body of the judicial branch. I do not find it normal for the dismissal initiative to start from the political environment, I do not find it normal for a Justice Minister to notify the Constitutional Court over an aspect, after all commonplace, concerning the dismissal of a Chief Prosecutor, I do not find it normal for the same aspect to raise issues of dismissal, of impeachment of the president of the country. This aspect is politicised to an inadmissible degree and I wouldn’t want it happening again,” Cristina Tarcea added.
Likewise, she announced she has given judges time until September 1 to substantiate all court decisions, stating in an interview for RealitateaTV that failure to meet that deadline would result in the notification of the Judicial Inspection.
Following these statements, she was criticised by both Justice Minister Tudorel Toader and PSD leader Liviu Dragnea.
“Does this mean it’s normal for a high-ranking judge to engage in politics? Does this mean it’s not normal for a minister to criticise a judge, but it’s normal for a judge to criticise a minister?”, Tudorel Toader reacted in a Facebook posting.
In his turn, the PSD President declared himself “shocked” by the statements made by the President of the Supreme Court, claiming that Tarcea “has said it clearly that pressure is being put for the substantiation, the trial, to be done faster,” and that this is clear pressure exerted on the judges handling his case, a case in which the court of first instance sentenced him to three and a half years in prison.
“I saw Ms Tarcea, the President of the ICCJ [High Court of Cassation and Justice]. For me it was more than shocking to read and then to see what she said, putting clear pressure on the judges. She said it clearly that pressure is being put for the substantiation, the trial, to be done faster, and that now they are looking for judges, to find at least three out of five,” Liviu Dragnea told RomaniaTV on Sunday evening.