Former chief prosecutor of the National Antircorruption Directorate (DNA) Laura Codruta Kovesi said on Saturday that she did not ask for the Government’s support when she decided to enter the election as a candidate for the European Prosecutor’s Office and she was expecting a negative campaign against her.
“I had no expectations [from the Government – ed.n.]). I did not ask for the Government’s support, nor did I expect them to support me, I was expecting a negative campaign against me, but I greatly appreciated that we had the opportunity in the European Parliament to straighten certain matters out. I said: If there are any negative things you have heard, please ask me and it is time we clarified them. This seemed to me to be an honest and transparent procedure, to give to the one who is accused of having done negative things the possibility of clear them out as accurately as possible. After all, this is the essence of a debate, not being asked just the things you want or you think you are going to be asked, but other things, as well,” Kovesi told Europa FM radio station, asked how she felt knowing that she was supported by many Romanians, but not by the Romanian Government, for the position of European Chief Prosecutor.
She mentioned that she was very nervous at the hearing in the European Parliament because she represented, in a way, the Romanian judiciary.
“You go there in a personal capacity, I filed my candidacy on my own and I relied on myself, but when you walk into the hall, that whole room was full of 200-300 people, they know you are a Romanian prosecutor, you represent, in a way, the country, somehow you represent the Romanian judiciary, which has indeed worked hard in recent years, the prosecutors and the judges have worked a lot. I am not saying that we are a perfect justice system, that no mistakes have been made, but a lot of good things were done and a great deal of effort was made, especially in the anti-corruption fight, but not just that. When you are in such a competition with colleagues from other countries, you are keen on somehow show that you represent some professional people, honest, courageous and somehow there is pressure. Besides I have received a lot of encouragement, many people, including on the street or on the phone, through petitions, there were many people who had expectations and who actually supported me. I kept hearing fake news that there has been a super-secret team. This was the team – all the people who still hope in Justice and who have conveyed a good thought,” Kovesi explained.
The former head of DNA said that what she has done everything on her part, technically and as a professional she has finished her job and a political decision is pending.
“If I am not elected, I will continue my path. For now I am a prosecutor and I like this, life is not over, nor does it start with a position, for now the path I have chosen to go on is this. I will analyse my options after the procedure is finalised,” Kovesi said.
Ex-DNA head on coincidences in her dossier: Dossier opened when I left for Brussels; I’ve been subpoenaed when EP decides on Chief European Prosecutor office
She also stated on Saturday, for Europa FM, that there are several coincidences in what regards her dossier at the Section for Investigating Magistrates. Among them, the fact that the dossier was opened when she left for Brussels and that she was subpoenaed for March 7, the date on which the EP is set to decide on the office of Chief European Prosecutor. Asked whether she considers entering politics in case she does not become Chief European Prosecutor, she stated she will analyse her options after she sees what happens with her candidacy.
“It’s clear that this issue regarding the criminal file, which I see it’s full of coincidences. The criminal probe started precisely before I went to the hearing, while it was a one-year-old dossier. Another coincidence was when I returned – I’m subpoenaed for March 7, when a decision will be taken within the European Parliament. We will see how much this affects [the decision],” she added.
Kovesi pointed out that she has done what was up to her to do.
“From a technical standpoint, as a professional, I’ve finished the job. Now it’s a political decision. My contribution has stopped, from this moment on it’ll be a political decision. This political decision was not prompted by me or another candidate, it was a decision established via the regulations,” she stated for EuropaFM.
She was asked what she will do if she does not become Chief European Prosecutor and whether she will enter politics.
“I’ll continue my road. I’m prosecutor for the time being. I like this. Life does not end with an office and does not start with an office. I’ll analyse the options after I see,” she said.
Kovesi stated she only told her family she will enter the competition for the office of Chief European Prosecutor, and her mother was very glad, thus rejecting the information regarding the existence of a “super-team” behind her demarche.
She said this procedure is an example for the way such a procedure must take place, in terms of the transparency showed, the equal treatment applied to all candidates, and the feedback received after each stage.
Laura Codruta Kovesi has been subpoenaed again by the Section for Investigating Magistrates, to take part in an investigative hearing in a criminal dossier that was opened on her name following a denunciation filed by Sebastian Ghita.
“I found out from the press that I will be subpoenaed for a hearing at the Section for Investigating Magistrates. After the new appeared in the press, I also received a written subpoena, asking me to show up at this section on 7 March 2019, for a hearing,” Kovesi stated for G4Media.ro.
The next steps in the process of appointing the Chief European Prosecutor will be decided on March 7, during the conference of European Parliament presidents – the leaders of the political groups and the President of the European Parliament –, before the start of the negotiations with the Council of the Union.
“Difficult time for Justice in Romania; I couldn’t wait to come back to join protest”
Ex-DNA chief also stated on Saturday that Justice in Romania is going through a “difficult time” and this is the signal given by the magistrates who have protested lately.
“Justice in Romania is now at a very difficult point and I do not know if we can manage to overcome this moment on our own. Maybe it’s a lot to ask, I know that in recent years many people have supported Justice and upheld it, including politicians, civil servants, people who have no connection with justice, people from private companies, but now we all have to understand that this is a tough time for Justice and this protest the magistrates are carrying out is the signal. It is a difficult moment and perhaps Justice must be helped, it is not just for prosecutors and judges, it is for the future of this country. Justice in a country is a fundamental pillar and it is for all citizens, it is not just for some. I do not know whether Justice has been perfect, mistakes have been made, I’m not a perfect person and I made mistakes, I do not have a magic wand, I do not have five hands, three heads, I am a person like any other but we have good faith, we want to do good things, and I think this should be supported and encouraged,” Kovesi said at Europa FM radio station.
She added that she deems “very serious” the fact that prosecutors and judges have come to suspend their work because of certain laws that violate the recommendations of the Venice Commission and GRECO.
“The risks to the country are quite high at this rate and the magistrates are trying to sound the alarm. In a way, I couldn’t wait to come back to my country to join the protest. Yesterday we wore all the day a white armband and so will I do next week along with my colleagues,” Kovesi said.