On Tuesday, the House voted to appoint Gheorghe Stan, the head of the Section for Investigating Magistrates (SIM), as Constitutional Court (CCR) judge, replacing Stefan Minea whose term expires on June 15.
Gheorghe Stan was confirmed with 174 votes. Ioan Cupsa, nominated by PNL received 63 votes, while Vlad Stefan, nominated by the USR, received only 25 votes. House lawmakers used paper ballots.
Stan was nominated by the Social Democratic Party (PSD).
Prior to that, the House Judiciary Committee had adopted a favourable report for all three nominees. Section for Investigating Magistrates Director Gheorghe Stan (nominated by the PSD), House lawmaker Ioan Cupsa (PNL) and lawyer Vlad Stefan (nominated by the USR) were the three nominees.
During the House Judiciary Committee hearing, Gheorghe Stan said that the rule of law is essential in a state.
“I address a parliamentary committee for the first time in my capacity as magistrate. In my candidacy, I point out the fact that I have worked for more than 20 years as prosecutor, pursuing my objectives and respecting my profession during this time. I held leadership positions within prosecutor’s offices. I worked within the Justice Ministry. At present, I’m chief prosecutor of the SIM. Thus, I deem that I have not only the necessary know-how but especially the experience required to hold the office of CCR judge. I believe this represents an advantage given the experience gained. I consider that appointing a magistrate in this office represents a guarantee that independence will be respected. Starting off from one of the definitions of the rule of law, it is the guarantor of individual rights and freedoms, ensuring the internal and external security of the state. If I am elected CCR judge, I would be interested in respecting the supremacy of the Constitution. Gheorghe Stan, the incumbent head of the Section for Investigating Magistrates (SIM) could be the Social Democrats’ nomination for the office of CCR judge, to be confirmed by the House. In this case, Gheorghe Stan will replace CCR judge Stefan Minea, whose term expires on June 15,” Stan explained.
During the House Judiciary Committee hearing, he added that all that the Venice Commission is conveying does not have a mandatory character, however it is taken into account and explained by the decisions of the Court.
Subsequently, Section for Investigating Magistrates Director Gheorghe Stan stated before the House that he finds it worrisome that the Section is called “SS” in the press, pointing out that the Section does not stand aloof but works as part of the Prosecutor’s Office attached to the High Court of Cassation and Justice (PICCJ), the legality of its documents being verified by the Prosecutor General.
“I find it very grave that this Section (Section for Investigating Magistrates – editor’s note) is called SS by the media. To bring the act of justice so low. This section does not stand suspended in the air, it is part of the PICCJ. It existed in previous years as part of the Public Ministry and, subsequently, as part of the DNA. It doesn’t have discretionary power as told in the media. So, the legality and thoroughness of the documents it drafts is verified by the Prosecutor General. I’ve had this discussion with the representatives of the Venice Commission too,” Section for Investigating Magistrates Director Gheorghe Stan stated before the House.
At the same time, Stan emphasised that the judge judges facts not persons.
“Regarding the question as to who represents Romania at the Council of Europe, we all know – we have the answer in the Constitution!”, Stan added.
Dragnea: PSD nominated Gheorghe Stan at CCR because he was the only one to file a request
PSD leader Liviu Dragnea stated on Tuesday that Gheorghe Stan was his party’s nomination for the office of CCR judge because Stan was the only one who filed a request with the PSD group and is qualified for the job.
“It was the only request that the PSD group received. I admit, I received several messages from respectable people who were proposing that we should support other respectable people. I received messages from other respectable people who were claiming that I shouldn’t agree with the proposals made by other people. I talked with my colleagues from the leadership of the groups and I said: analyse based on the candidacies received by the group. The two candidacies (for the Senate and the House – editor’s note) were received. (…) This is the very simple explanation,” Liviu Dragnea stated.
Asked when was the message regarding the lodging of a request with the PSD group transmitted, Liviu Dragnea replied: “It was public, the deadline was known, all those who wanted to, all those who were proposing others could have invited them to lodge these requests.”
Also asked whether Gheorghe Stan is suited for the job, the PSD leader said: “Yes, why wouldn’t he? I voted for him.”