President Klaus Iohannis demanded on Monday night the resignation of the Directorate for Investigating Organised Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT) Chief Prosecutor Felix Banila.
In a press statement held at the Cotroceni Presidential Palace, the head of state reproached the DIICOT chief prosecutor with the way the investigation was dealt with in the Caracal case, adding that the involvement of DIICOT should have brought more professionalism and credibility. However, Klaus Iohannis said that, under Banila’s leadership, “this did not happen, and the investigation continues to generate major question marks.”
“The way things have unfolded so far only raises suspicions and emphasizes the people’s lack of confidence in the authorities, and such an approach can only lead to bad results. I therefore urge Mr. Felix Banila to immediately forward his resignation from the position of chief prosecutor of DIICOT. It is imperative that the mistakes of the last weeks be assumed responsibly and a change is needed at this level, in order to make this institution credible again,” the president pointed out.
He also criticized the way in which the family of one of the victims in Caracal was treated in the last days, noting that this behavior is an example of ‘not like this.’
“It is extremely serious that those who run the institutions of the Romanian state endorse such behaviors, whereby potential offenders are treated gently, with kid gloves, and the victims are treated harshly and aggressively. This situation is generated primarily by the failure of the recent years’ incompetent governing, a governing whose priority has been to save criminals, ignoring the impact on the honest and fair people in our country. For all these major mistakes PSD [the Social Democratic Party] will pay politically, I promise you that. The PSD people will pay at the vote and will remain in history as the government that protected the criminals and the offenders, a catastrophic government, a failed government,” said the head of state.
Klaus Iohannis pointed out that two months have passed since the Caracal tragedy, bringing to mind that at that time he convened the Supreme Council for National Defence (CSAT), explicitly indicating which are the “urgent measures to be taken by the Government” and calling for clear action.
“At the same time, I have repeatedly sounded alarm signals to all those who run the state institutions that they have the obligation to exercise with maximum responsibility the mission of protecting the citizens of our country. As long as people have the legitimate expectation to be defended, it is revolting the way in which, in the last week, some institutions have reacted both to the Caracal investigation and to the investigation of the terrible case in Dambovita. In both cases we have seen delayed reactions, public gestures that were downright scandalous, which denotes the lack of concern for the victims and the families of the victims,” President Iohannis further affirmed.
Banila: Resignation could reveal cowardice
Chief Prosecutor with the Directorate for the Investigation of Organised Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT) Felix Banila said on Tuesday that office resignation is a one-sided act of will, “but there are circumstances under which it could represent the expression of a coward man and perhaps even without responsibility,” giving assurances that will not happen in his case.
His reaction comes after President Klaus Iohannis urged him to step down.
“The resignation is a one-sided act of will, but there are circumstances under which it could represent the expression of a coward man and perhaps even lack of responsibility. I can assure you that will not happen in my case. Being requested by the incumbent president of Romania, it certainly should be treated with the utmost seriousness, which I will do, without delay. So, I will gather the opinions of my colleagues, of the hierarchical chief and of those involved in appointment of the chief prosecutor of DIICOT, and then I will make public the result of the decision taken,” Banila said in a press statement released on Tuesday.
Banila added that institutions are made up of people, but the resignation of the DIICOT chief, especially under the current circumstances, could have special consequences, up to and including instability.