The new draft law on dismantling the Section for the Investigation of Judicial Crimes (SIIJ) is an inadequate compromise, which violates Romania’s obligations as a member of the European Union and of the Council of Europe, maintain the Romanian Judges Forum Association, the Association ‘Movement for the Defence of the Status of Prosecutors, and the Initiative for Justice Association.
“The draft law published by the Ministry of Justice on January 21, 2022 abolishes the Special Section only formally, since the way in which the crimes committed by magistrates would be investigated, namely by prosecutors appointed by the Plenum of CSM [Superior Council of Magistracy] within the Criminal Investigation and Forensics Section with the Prosecutor’s Office attached to the High Court of Cassation and Justice (PICCJ) and the prosecutor’s offices attached to the courts of appeal (PCA), preserves and even aggravates the problematic features of the SIIJ,” shows a press release of the three Associations.
According to the cited source, one of the issues concerns the power to investigate all crimes committed by magistrates, therefore the corruption ones, too, which belongs to the prosecutors specifically appointed from the ordinary prosecutors’ offices, although corruption deeds should be investigated by specialized prosecutors’ offices.
“In conclusion, the new draft law on the repeal of the Special Section represents an inadequate compromise, likely to violate the MCV [ the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism] Decision and the opinions of the Venice Commission, in particular Romania’s obligations as a member of the European Union and of the Council of Europe. The natural solution remains the unconditional disbanding of the Special Section and the restoration of the powers of the specialized prosecutors’ offices, such as DNA [National Anticorruption Directorate] and DIICOT [the Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism], as proposed by the relevant European bodies,” the cited source shows.
JusMin Predoiu : Bill on discarding the Judicial Crime Investigation Section put up for public debate
Justice Minister Catalin Predoiu (photo) announced last Friday that he is putting up for public debate a bill on discarding the Judicial Crime Investigation Section (SSIJ).
Predoiu told a news conference that after the dissolution of SIIJ, its powers will be taken over by a body patterned after the European Prosecutor’s Office, with 12 prosecutors at national level and 30 local prosecutors.
“As we announced two weeks ago, the Ministry of Justice will put today up for public debate a bill discarding the Judiciary Crime Investigation Section (…) The main provision of the bill and the purpose of the bill is the dissolution of SIIJ from the date the bill passes. We used a model inspired by the operation of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office to investigate crimes that until now used to be under the SIIJ jurisdiction. That is, 12 prosecutors in Bucharest and 30 prosecutors spread across the country, two prosecutors per each court of appeal, a total of 42 prosecutors to investigate what SIIJ used to. The prosecutors will be appointed by the plenum of the Supreme Council of Magistrates (CSM). The 12 prosecutors for Bucharest will be selected and appointed by the CSM plenum from among the Criminal Investigation Section of the Attorney General’s Office, and the 30 prosecutors for the courts of appeal will be selected and appointed by the CSM plenum from the prosecutor’s offices with the court of appeals,” said Predoiu.
He added that prosecutors from the Attorney General’s Office will be recommended to the CSM plenum by the attorney general, and the prosecutors from the prosecutor’s offices with the courts of appeal will be recommended by the chief prosecutors of the prosecutor’s offices with the courts of appeal.
According to Predoiu, powers are divided among the two levels, namely the prosecutors of the criminal investigation section will carry out the criminal investigation in the case of crimes committed by CSM members, judges of the Supreme Court and prosecutors of the General Attorney’s Office, judges of the court of appeals, prosecutors of the prosecutor’s offices with these courts, judges of the Military Court of Appeal and prosecutors with this court.
The prosecutors to be appointed by the plenum CSM will need a 15-year seniority, in the case of the those with the criminal investigation section, while those to be appointed to the prosecutor’s offices of the courts of appeal will need a 12-year seniority, according to the bill.
The prosecutors will also have to have a “very good” rating for the last two professional assessments to date and have not been disciplined in the last three years prior to their appointment.
“Impeccable moral conduct and significant professional experience, mainly with the investigation of corruption and related offences, organised crime and terrorism, but not limited to these categories of offences. (…) As regard the situation of pending cases, the Attorney General’s Office will distribute them to the relevant prosecutor’s offices within 30 days, according to the draft law, and the process of designation and selection will be done within 30 days of the law coming into force,” said Predoiu, according to Agerpres.