JUSTICE

Boycott at CSM: Plenary meeting postponed third time due to lack of quorum. Savonea: It’s regrettable, we should apologise

Appointing Adina Florea as head of Section for Investigations was on the order of business

 

Superior Council of the Magistracy (CSM) President Lia Savonea announced on Monday that the plenary meeting will be postponed for the third time because the 7 CSM members who boycotted last week’s meeting have sent an email requesting once again that the proceedings regarding the Section for the Investigation of Criminal Offences in the Judiciary (SIIJ) be eliminated from the order of business until the European reports are debated.

“Now it’s worrisome. It’s the third scheduled meeting which almost the same members refuse to attend. A letter was made public last week, today an email arrived, roughly in the same terms, a letter from the same members, in which they ask that the proceedings that concern the Section for the Investigation of Criminal Offences in the Judiciary (SIIB) be removed from the order of business, arguing that there is the need first to publicly debate the GRECO reports and the Venice Commission’s report. I believe that the plenary meeting is precisely the venue where we must debate these issues and jointly decide whether the proceedings are postponed or not,” Lia Savonea announced, according to Mediafax.

“It’s regrettable, I don’t know what more I could say. I believe we should apologise to our colleagues and to the institutions toward which we show such an attitude,” the CSM President added.

The order of business of the CSM’s plenary meeting included the validation of the results of the competition to appoint the Chief Prosecutor of the Section for the Investigation of Criminal Offences in the Judiciary (SIIJ), against the backdrop in which the previous two meetings had been boycotted.

The last two plenary meetings of the Superior Council of the Magistracy were postponed due to a lack of quorum. More precisely, seven CSM members (Anamaria Chis, Mihai Balan, Bogdan Mateescu, Cristian Ban, Florin Deac, Tatiana Toader and CSM Vice President Nicolae Solomon) did not take part in the last two meetings and the meetings were consequently postponed. The seven members of the CSM publicly asked that all discussions regarding the Section for the Investigation of Magistrates be postponed until the Venice Commission report and the GRECO report is translated.

They also asked for a public debate on the activity of the Section since, according to public information, the Venice Commission and GRECO allegedly asked Romanian authorities to dissolve the Section, considering it to be an instrument meant to intimidate and pressure judges and prosecutors.

The seven members of the CSM have warned, in a press release, that they will use all levers to support the postponing of the debate on the issues pertaining to the activity of the Section.

On the other hand, Victor Alistar and Romeo Chelariu, the representatives of civil society within the Council, have stated that they disagree with the behaviour of the other 7 members who conditioned their presence at plenary meetings, and have stated that they oppose eliminating, from the order of business, the proceedings that concern the Section for the Investigation of Criminal Offences in the Judiciary.

Subsequent to the announcement made by the 7 CSM members, CSM President Lia Savonea asked Premier Viorica Dancila and Justice Minister Ana Birchall, in a letter, to state whether the Government s working on a draft legislative act dissolving the Section for the Investigation of Criminal Offences in the Judiciary.

Prosecutor Adina Florea obtained the highest score – 9.86 – in the interviews she gave before the Superior Council of the Magistracy’s competition commission, in a bid to become the Chief Prosecutor of the Section for the Investigation of Criminal Offences in the Judiciary, followed by Sorin Iasinovschi (8.85) and Bogdan Pirlog (3.25).

According to the regulations, the results are final and not open to challenge.

The office of Chief Prosecutor of the Section for the Investigation of Criminal Offences in the Judiciary became vacant after Gheorghe Stan resigned to become Constitutional Court of Romania judge.

 

Justice Minister attacks the CSM head. Ana Birchall accuses Lia Savonea of using an aggressive tone: “There are things which I’m not going to tolerate”

 

Justice Minister Ana Birchall stated, when leaving the CSM building, where the plenary session was postponed for the third time, that the President of the Council has the duty to solve the tensions between the members that exist for a long time, and underlined that she doesn’t understand the aggressive tone used by Lia Savonea against her.

“In fact, I understand these tensions existed a long time before I attended the CSM meeting for the first time. As you could see during the live broadcast, they are not only continuing, they actually deepen. I call on the CSM President, since it’s her duty, to try to find a consensus so we can solve this blockage. (…) I have a feeling of sorrow and this is regrettable. CSM is the guarantor of the independence of justice. I hope this role will continue to be exercised”, Ana Birchall stated when leaving the CSM building.

Asked about her relationship with the CSM President Lia Savonea, given the increasing tension between them, Birchall answered: “I want to tell you that I don’t understand the aggressive tone very well. I am still willing to forget anything from the past and any discussion held with a negative connotation. (…) I told her she has a dialogue partner in me, but aggressivity and saying something different than the reality are things which I’m not going to tolerate”.

Birchall underlined again that she asked the CSM President Lia Savonea to provide her with a calendar of the plenary sessions and the sessions of the members, to be able to attend the meetings.

 

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