On Monday, the same day in which Social Democratic Party (PSD) leader Liviu Dragnea had a court hearing, the Constitutional Court of Romania (CCR) postponed once again, this time for June 5, its verdict on the lack of panels of judges specialising on corruption cases at the High Court of Cassation and Justice (ICCJ), an objection that House Deputy Speaker Florin Iordache had lodged. The CCR had previously postponed for May 20 a verdict on the lack of three-judge panels specialising in corruption cases at the High Court of Cassation and Justice. The verdict was first postponed on April 10, for the next day. The verdict was postponed again on April 11.
The request was lodged on March 22 by Florin Iordache, to whom Liviu Dragnea (on medical leave at the time) had delegated his prerogatives.
The notification concerns the lack of three-judge panels specialising in corruption cases at the High Court of Cassation and Justice.
Florin Iordache complains of “the ICCJ’s explicit refusal to enforce a law adopted by Parliament and thus implicitly the fact that it takes the place of the legislative authority by not setting up, within the Criminal Section of the High Court of Cassation and Justice, panels of judges specialising in cases of corruption and assimilated offences.”
ICCJ President Cristina Tarcea wrote to the President of the Constitutional Court that Austria is the only state affiliated to the Network of Supreme Court Presidents of the EU that has panels of judges specialising in corruption cases.
Tarcea informs Dorneanu that she asked the Network of Supreme Court Presidents of the EU the following question: “Do you have panels of judges specialising in corruption cases at the level of the Supreme Court or at the level of other national courts?”.
She says that she received 19 answers by April 17.
Based on those answers, 13 states completely lack panels of judges specialising in corruption cases.
Five other states lack panels of judges specialising in corruption cases at the level of the Supreme Court, but have panels of judges or judges specialising in corruption cases at the level of other courts.
On 21 June 2018, Liviu Dragnea was convicted to three and a half years in prison, executory sentence, in the case concerning the fictitious hiring of personnel at DGASPC Teleorman. He was acquitted of forgery charges. The suspension of the two-year prison conviction that Dragnea had previously received in the Referendum Case was cancelled, and the two sentences were merged, the result being a total executory prison sentence of three and a half years.
Local Public Administration Law: The Constitutional Court rejected Klaus Iohannis’ request
The Constitutional Court (CCR) rejected on Monday Klaus Iohannis’ request on the Law amending and supplementing the Local Public Administration Law, as ungrounded. In his constitutional challenge, the head of state complained about the fact that the two Chambers of the Parliament adopted two different forms of the law.
On March 20, President Iohannis sent a constitutional challenge to CCR, related to the Law amending and supplementing the Local Public Administration Law no.215/2001, claiming that the two Chambers of the Parliament adopted two different forms of the normative act.
The head of state also mentions that, in the adopted form, the law doesn’t observe the constitutional principles according to which the law cannot be adopted by a single Chamber.
“According to the challenged explanatory memorandum of the law, there are court decisions in the case-law, by which it was ordered to dissolve the local councils, these courts appreciating that the 2-month term provided by Art.55 para. (1) let. a) of the Law no.215/2001 starts from the date of the last meeting, while other courts rejected the requests to dissolve certain local councils, arguing that this 2-month term is calculated considering the entire month. In all cases, the courts didn’t take into account that, according to the interpretation corroborated with the provisions of the law, the councils can work since the date when they were established, until the date when the law provides the end of the term. The challenged explanatory memorandum of the law also mentions that ‘The same arguments are valid for the provisions of let. b) of para. (1) of Art.55, and the references to the 3-month period do not provide the start date of this period’”, Iohannis explained.
The purpose of the initiators of the law is: “Establishing a start date of the period in which the dissolution by the law can be declared makes local councilors who, in this context, have a palpable mark on the possibility for the body they are part of to be dissolved, be aware, so they could take measures to this end”.
“Therefore, the purpose of the legislative initiative was to regulate the moment from which the terms provided for dissolving the local/county council provided by Art.55 para. (1) let. a) and b), corroborated with Art.99 para. (1) of the Law no.215/2001, are calculated, to establish an exception on the inapplicability of the sanction of dissolving the local/county council by the law, in the lack of the convocation of the meeting within the legal term, or in case of a convocation without observing the provisions related to the convocation manner, as well as to republish the Law no.215/2001”, according to the document sent to CCR by the President.
According to the constitutional challenge, there “a major difference” between the form adopted by the decisional Chamber and the form adopted by the first notified Chamber, namely the Deputies’ Chamber, which modification is “a change in the philosophy of the law and of the original proposal, with a major impact on the significance of the length of the term of a local/county council established as a result of the general and/or partial local elections, as the case may be, respectively of the cases in which the dissolution by the law of the local/county council will be possible from now on”.
The head of state claims that, by adopting the Law amending and supplementing the Local Public Administration Law no.215/2001 as the decisional Chamber, the Senate “removed amendments related to key issues of the structure and philosophy of the law from the debate and adoption of the first notified Chamber”.
Also according to the constitutional challenge, “the challenged provisions establish a legislative parallelism depriving the provision in question of clarity and predictability”.
“From this perspective, we appreciate that the challenged regulation is deprived of predictability, and at the same time it is likely to deprive the provisions of Art/33 of the Law no.215/2001 of consequences”, according to the head of state.
The Law amending and supplementing the Local Public Administration Law no.215/2001 was sent by the Parliament to be promulgated by the Romanian President on March 2, 2019.