Constitutional Court admits President Iohannis’s challenge to amendments to Court of Auditors statutes

The Constitutional Court of Romania (CCR) upheld on Tuesday the challenge of President Klaus Iohannis to the amendments to the Law on the organization and functioning of the Court of Auditors, CCR said in a release.

The constitutional judges admitted, by majority vote, President Iohannis’s challenge and found that the Law amending and complementing Law No. 94/1992 on the organization and functioning of the Court of Accounts is unconstitutional in its entirety.

“Looking at the constitutional challenge from the point of view of criticism about extrinsic lack of constitutionality, the Court found that the Law amending and complementing Law No. 94/1992 on the organization and functioning of the Court of Auditors was adopted by the Chamber of Deputies as the first competent chamber, in breach of the time limits set forth in Article 75 (2) of the Constitution,” CCR said.

On July 30 President Klaus Iohannis filed with CCR a constitutional challenge to the Law amending and complementing Law No. 94/1992 on the organization and functioning of the Court of Auditors.

Klaus Iohannis argued, inter alia, that the law had been adopted in violation of the principle of bicameralism, adding that the debates and adoption of the normative act had exceeded the 60-day constitutional term established for the first notified chamber, specifically the Chamber of Deputies.

Iohannis also invoked aspects of intrinsic unconstitutionality, such as the law’s reintroducing the preventive control of the Court of Auditors, yet with an incomplete regulation.

The President also criticizes the provision according to which the Public Prosecution Ministry is required to send certain information to the Court of Auditors while the latter exercises its duties.

“This new provision is a violation of the principle according to which the criminal prosecution is non-public, in accordance with Article 285 (2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure; this aspect is contrary to Article 1 (5) of the Constitution. Such a requirement to the Public Prosecution Ministry to transmit information on the stage of a criminal case to an autonomous administrative authority under parliamentary control undermines both the principle of the separation of state powers provided for in Article 1 paragraph (4) of the Constitution, and the role of the Public Prosecution Ministry as defined in Article 131 of the Constitution, as it was developed by jurisprudence,” he said.

The President also argued that making it possible to delegate some of the chairman’s executive powers to the vice-chairmen without an objective presentation of the reasons and conditions where such a delegation may operate violates the basic law, and the regulation lacks predictability and clarity.

According to President Iohannis, not holding the representatives of the audited public entities responsible for the consequences of the errors / deviations from legality found by the Court of Auditors runs counter to the constitutional role of this authority.

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