Prosecutor General Augustin Lazar announced on Wednesday that in 2018, prosecutors settled 543,971 cases, over 10,000 more than in 2017, with precautionary measures amounting to 2,2 billion lei.
In his presentation of stocktaking report for 2018, Lazar said that not only wasn’t the Public Ministry encouraged to work, but it was assaulted by an “unfriendly atmosphere”.
Thus, the prosecutors had to solve 1,753,540 cases, out of which 543,971 cases were solved (over 10,000 more than in 2017). As many as 46,441 arraignment solutions (510 more than in 2017) were issued in relation to 58,979 defendants (out of which 242 legal persons).
Domestic violence was a priority sector of activity.
In 2018, 1.360 criminals were charged for this offense, representing 2.3 percent of the total number of those prosecuted.
There were 205 child victims of the parents, of which 151 minors. Of these, there are 29 victims of murder (including attempted murder), of which 12 minors and 32 victims of rape, of which 30 minors.
“It is a society that is increasingly subjected to stress and violence in general, domestic violence in particular, and solutions should be found. The Public Ministry should be helped, not in the manner in which it was assaulted last year,” Lazar said.
Augustin Lazar stated that there is an increase in the number of defendants charged with corruption offenses – bribery (from 158 to 2017 to 212 in 2018 – a 34.2 percent increase), influence peddling (from 80 in 2017 to 87 in 2018 – an increase of 8.7 percent) and buying of influence (from 96 in 2017 to 121 in 2018, representing a 26 percent increase).
Similar to 2017, there is an increase in the number of defendants charged for traffic offenses on public roads, ie 8.2 percent, from 20,380 in 2017 to 22,047 in 2018 (of which driving a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or other substances from 10,436 in 2017 to 11,601 in 2018, which is an increase of 11.2 percent).
The Prosecutor General also announced that, in 2018, precautionary measures worth 2,202,994,411 lei were ruled in the criminal cases.
“The measures aimed at boosting and making the criminal prosecution activity more effective consisted mainly of the following: consolidation of the progress in the fight against corruption in the local public administration, effective investigations in the cases of money laundering and tax evasion, combating forestry offenses, as well as acts of corruption, abuse of service, money laundering in connection with illegal deforestation, the harmonisation of judicial practice, including types of investigations and precautionary measures aimed at repairing the damages (precautionary measures in 2018: 2.2 billion lei represents twice the resources allocated to the Public Ministry in the amount of 1.2 billion lei),” Lazar specified.
Augustin Lazar further stated that in the European Year of Cultural Heritage, demarches were carried out alongside the Romanian Police specialised service for the reunification of the national heritage with several ancient treasures containing the adornments, archeological relics and monetary treasures.
Great pressures have been made on the judiciary institutions
The Prosecutor General of Romania, Augustin Lazar, stated on Wednesday, at the Public Ministry’s (MP) 2018 Activity Report, that during the last year, pressures have been made particularly on the prosecutors’ offices, stressing that by ignoring the Prosecutor’s Office attached to the High Court of Cassation and Justice (PICCJ), legislative amendments related to the prosecutors’ career have been adopted.
“On the pretext of revealing the abuses, a campaign has been promoted in order to harm the prestige of Justice”
Prosecutor General Augustin Lazar stated at the PICCJ’s 2018 Activity Report that during the last year, the press subjects have put an anathema on the judiciary, and on the pretext of revealing the abuses of the prosecutors, a clever campaign has been promoted in order to harm the prestige of Justice.
“In 2018, the whole society’s attention has been focused on the judicial authority. The public has been held captive in an avalanche of topics, press subjects, revelations, parliamentary and ministerial initiatives, judicial and extrajudicial decisions and public approaches, which in the end did nothing else than putting an anathema on the judiciary”, the Prosecutor General stated.
Augustin Lazar also stressed that questionable behaviors have been extrapolated from the isolated cases of the prosecutors, and the consequences affected their entire professional body.
“On the pretext of revealing the abuses in the way of carrying out the act of justice and particularly those committed by prosecutors, a clever campaign has been promoted in order to harm the prestige, the trust in their social mission and probity. Questionable behaviors have been extrapolated from isolated cases to the prosecutors’ activity, in general, with the consequence of artificially inducing an animosity towards an entire professional body which fulfills its tasks honestly and anonymously. From here to harming the independence was only a step”, Lazar said.
President Iohannis : Attacks on prosecutors have become increasingly virulent over past two years
President Klaus Iohannis said on Wednesday that attacks on prosecutors have become increasingly virulent over the past two years.
“2018 was full of challenges, in which the topics on justice continued to make the public agenda due to the obsessive insistence of the present majority to intervene politically in a field whose independence must be guaranteed. In the 1990s, when Romania was making the first steps in the establishment of the democratic regime, through the drafting of the Constitution (…) the constitutional legislator gave the Public Ministry a special role – to represent the general interests of society, to defend the rule of law as well as citizens’ rights and freedoms. This mission of the Public Ministry is not easy at all, especially since the attacks on the prosecutor’s body have become increasingly virulent in the last two years. When precisely the people who have direct interest to escape from criminal investigations are those making laws in the judiciary, then the very foundation of the state is being threatened,” Iohannis told the event hosted by the National Military Club.
Iohannis stressed that “impartiality, integrity and professionalism” are the guarantees that legitimize the activity of the prosecutor and ensure credibility at the level of society. On the other hand, he added that almost 30 years after the regaining of freedom in Romania “there are still politicians with authoritarian reflections, who think they are entitled to grant themselves privileges.”
“In the year that ended, there were important changes in the legislation on the status of judges and prosecutors, the judicial organization and the organization and functioning of the Superior Council of Magistrates. The Public Ministry sounded the warning bells about the provisions likely to affect the status of prosecutors and the activity and their willingness to explain to parliamentarians and the government the real problems of the judiciary. Unfortunately, their option, the parliamentarians’ option, was to ignore both the opinions of the body of prosecutors and the firm recommendations of the Venice Commission and the European Commission, including the report on the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM),” the President said.
Iohannis mentioned that the Government “insists on the practice of abusive use of emergency ordinances,” which produce “the deepest and most serious effects within the justice system.” In this respect, he made a direct reference to Government Emergency Ordinance (GEO) 7/2019.
“Impairment of the prosecutor and judge’s career, an increasingly obvious attempt of political control over some Prosecutors’ Offices, insistence on increased powers for the Judiciary Crime Investigation Section – despite the fact that the European forums severely criticized its establishment – all these are serious reasons for concern. The transposition into national law of the recommendations contained in the reports of the European Commission, the Venice Commission and GRECO is not optional, but those in power prefer, for obvious reasons, to ignore them. The statute of prosecutor has been and is under the siege of some political authorities, who seek to subject it to the will of politics, which is subjective, biased and changing in its essence. Despite this attack on justice and the attempts of the political factors to subordinate the prosecutors, the ideals, the principles and the regulation that guide your activity must remain aligned with both the general interests of society and the European values,” said the President.
At the same time, the head of state congratulated the representatives of the Public Ministry for the results of the work done last year.