The Chamber of Deputies adopted on Wednesday by a vote of 180 to 81 and two abstentions the bill amending the Criminal Code in the version approved by the Senate.
Several provisions have been removed from the initial version of the piece of legislation, as they had been declared unconstitutional by the Constitutional Court of Romania. Also, several articles that drew the opposition’s criticism were maintained because they had not been challenged or declared unconstitutional.
One of these provisions refers to shorter statutes of limitation: thus the time limit for criminal liability will be of 8 years, compared to 10 years as per the law in force, when the law provides for a sentence longer than 10 years in prison, but not exceeding 20 years; and 6 years, instead of 8 years, when the law provides for more than 5 years in prison, but not exceeding 10 years.
Another provision concerns the repeal of the article on negligence in office.
Another change provides for a one-year term where a denunciation can be filed. “The briber shall not be punished if he denounces the deed before the criminal investigative body has been notified of it, yet no later than one year since the date of the crime,” the text reads.
The Chamber of Deputies is the decision-making body for this bill.
Deputies adopt bill amending Criminal Procedure Code
The Chamber of Deputies, as decision-making forum also adopted on Wednesday the amendments to the Criminal Procedure Code, removing several articles declared unconstitutional by the Constitutional Court of Romania (CCR), while the Opposition’s representatives criticized the project, arguing that it favored offenders and announced they would attack it again to the CCR.
There were 181 votes in favor, 83 against and one abstention.
The bill was adopted in the form established in the Select Parliamentary Committee on Justice, and all the amendments of the Opposition were rejected.
Thus, several articles criticized by the Opposition have remained in their original form on the grounds that they have not been attacked or declared unconstitutional by the Constitutional Court.
One of these provisions refers to the prohibition of public communications and public statements in the course of criminal prosecution and trial of the cause, as well as the provision of other information, directly or indirectly, from public authorities concerning the deeds and persons under these procedures. Persons with the public authorities cannot refer to suspected or accused persons as if they were guilty unless there is a final conviction decision on those deeds.
The Chamber of Deputies has decided to remove from the original version of the draft amendment to the Code of Criminal Procedure several texts declared unconstitutional, including Article 8 (2) which states: “Everyone has the right to a fair trial, by an impartial and independent judge. All cases are assigned to the judges randomly.”
Also eliminated was the text of Article 10, which stipulated that “criminal investigation bodies and courts of Justice are obliged to provide the principal trial subjects and the attorney with time to prepare the defense, which may not be less than 3 days, except for taking or judging the preventive measures, when the term cannot be lower than 4 hours and the necessary facilities to prepare the defense, by making available and communicating the entire criminal investigation material in electronic form.The deadlines run from the moment when the criminal prosecution bodies or the court notify the parties of the measure taken.”
The text stipulating that the criminal prosecution is set into motion and is exerted when there is evidence leading to substantiated clues that a person has committed an offense and there are no cases preventing its setting in motion or exercising has been dropped and the current form of the Criminal Procedure Code – the criminal action is put in motion if there is “evidence from which the reasonable assumption arises” has been restored.
PNL will challenge at the Constitutional Court the laws amending the Criminal Code and Criminal Procedure Code. Raluca Turcan: Criminally convicted twice, Liviu Dragnea has coordinated the vote of his party colleagues
PNL’s House whip Raluca Turcan announced on Wednesday that the laws amending the Criminal Code and Criminal Procedure Code will be challenged at the Constitutional Court, the notification set to be lodged with the Court later on Thursday. “Criminals are favoured directly, through the text of a law,” Turcan said, adding that “criminally convicted twice, Liviu Dragnea has coordinated the vote of his party colleagues.”
“Nothing worse, nothing more disheartening for any man of good faith… They gave this vote today in the Parliament of Romania against all the demands of the European Union, European Parliament, European Commission, Venice Commission, but especially against the expectations of the upright people of this country, who want everyone to be equal before the law in Romania too and to be able to live in Romania with respect for the law,” PNL’s House whip Raluca Turcan stated on Wednesday after the amendments to the Criminal Codes were adopted.
According to her, “criminals are favoured directly, through the text of a law.”
“The corruption dossiers of high-ranking dignitaries will be closed; likewise, high-ranking criminals and the very dangerous criminals get rid of their punishments,” Raluca Turcan added.
“For each Romanian in this country, this is the day that will remain in the history of the blows to the foundation of our democracy and to our essence as honest people. We will challenge today’s vote at the Constitutional Court. We will challenge both bills, on both the Criminal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code,” Turcan added, stating that “criminally convicted twice, Liviu Dragnea has coordinated the vote of his party colleagues.”
Andrei Caramitru, nervous reaction after Criminal Codes are adopted: You bastards! They saved and whitewashed themselves en masse
Andrei Caramitru, adviser to USR President Dan Barna, reacted after Parliament adopted the Criminal Codes, stating that PSD-ALDE and UDMR “saved and whitewashed themselves en masse” by voting for the bills.
“You bastards! They saved and whitewashed themselves, en masse. Rapists, paedophiles, murderers are also saved. With UDMR’s votes. We won’t forget this. Thieves from PSD/ALDE/UDMR, your place is in prison or in exile, where you should starve to death, they shouldn’t even hire you as garbage men. Shame on you!”, Andrei Caramitru wrote on Facebook on Wednesday.
Kelemen explains why UDMR voted the amendments to the Criminal Codes: No comma was added to the CCR decisions
Kelemen Hunor stated on Wednesday at Arad that the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (UDMR) voted for the amendment of the Criminal Code because not even “one comma” was added to the decisions of the Constitutional Court. He mentioned that since 15 years, there are only “discussions” about corruption and justice, but nothing has changed in Romania.
“The Constitutional Court annulled many provisions of the Criminal Code and Criminal Procedure Code. Nothing, not even a comma, was added by the Committee to the Constitutional Court’s decisions. We said that the decisions of the Constitutional Court must be respected in a democratic country, whether we like these decisions or not. It is the Government’s responsibility on the one hand, and the Parliament’s responsibility on the other hand, to harmonize the laws with the Constitutional Court’s decisions. Since many years, in Romania, neither the Government nor the Parliament assume this responsibility, they are trying to get rid of this responsibility. Then don’t be a politician. Go have another job. Of course, it’s not so nice, it’s not so simple to make such amendments, and we said that if no comma is changed compared to the Constitutional Court’s decisions, we don’t have a problem with these codes at this moment, although we didn’t vote the Criminal Code initially, because we had a problem regarding that article I told you about before, which was rejected by the Constitutional Court”, Kelemen Hunor stated.
“I hope you don’t mind, my hair turned grey from 2004 to 2019, but otherwise nothing happened in this country, we only debate about corruption and justice. 15 years have passed. Basescu won the elections with the spikes and with Nastase put on a spike in the Victoriei Square. Very well, ok. But after 15 years, not to build a motorway, not to make an investment in the Constanta port, not to do things that are necessary, but to continue to debate about justice, and when you must harmonize the law with the Constitutional Court’s decisions, to say no, or whatever… In the end, this amendment is not beneficial to Mister Dragnea or Mister Tariceanu. I think, as far as I understood from my colleagues, that they have nothing to do with them, according to the Constitutional Court’s decision, in any way. It means you don’t deserve to be in the Romanian parliament. This is it, they are hard decisions, they’re not easy decisions”, Kelemen Hunor explained.
Asked if Romania’s image will be affected as a result of adopting the Criminal Codes when the Venice Commission is I our country, the UDMR Chairman stated that this commission is only making recommendations.
“The Commission has a consultative role, it makes recommendations. The same as it made a recommendation related to the referendum, it recommended that the referendum shouldn’t be organized with the election, it was and it is the Venice Commission’s recommendation of 2009, after the referendum organized by the former President Basescu. Romania didn’t take into account this recommendation. You may take it into account, you may not take it into account, but in principle all of us should accept it. We either take into account the recommendations of the Venice Commission every time, and I personally would opt for this, or we never take them into account. This is not possible, one time you take the recommendations into account, when they are convenient to you, but when they are not, you say it’s only a recommendation. In my opinion, we should take these recommendations into account at least until we are able to sit at the table and clarify several important principles, including institutional principles in this country. This is my opinion, but Romania’s image will not be affected more than it was affected in the recent period by everything that happened in the country. Their point of view is a pertinent and important one, I would consider these recommendations, but we must point out every time that this is only a recommendation”, Kelemen Hunor stated.
Professional associations of magistrates: Modifications to Criminal Code voted on Wednesday, nothing
Two professional associations of magistrates drew attention that the modifications to the Criminal Code voted on Wednesday under parliamentary procedure have nothing to do with the CCR (Constitutional Court of Romania) decisions, while they bring a “radical and unjustified change in the manner in which the legislator understands to build the criminal policy of the state.”
The Movement for Defence of Prosecutors’ Status Association and the Judges Forum Association in Romania issued a press release in reaction to the vote on Wednesday on the proposal of modification of the Criminal Code.
“The architecture of the Criminal Code is not given by only the establishment of some provisions as being constitutional, given that the constitutionality of the norms is necessary but not sufficient. The fact that a law text proposed by the legislator doesn’t break the constitutional provisions doesn’t automatically mean that it is opportune too and that is meant to protect the interests of the society or observes the principles of a coherent and fair criminal policy,” said the magistrates.
The magistrates also explained that, after analyzing the modifications brought to the Criminal Code, as voted upon on April 24, they found that “most of them have nothing to do with the decisions of the Constitutional Court, and that this is a radical and unjustified change in the manner in which the legislator understands to build the criminal policy of the state, with a strong emphasis on the avoidance of criminal liability by the persons who commit certain crimes and a total lack of interest in the general interest and the situation of the victims.”