On Wednesday, the Legal Committees of the Senate and Chamber of Deputies have interviewed the three candidates for the Constitutional Court (CCR), replacing the current chairman of the Court, Valer Dorneanu, whose term will expire: Bogdan Licu, proposed by PSD; judge Cristi Danilet – supported by Save Romania Union (USR) and University Professor Ioan Sabau-Pop – supported by the Alliance for the Union of Romanians (AUR).
MPs will be voting the new candidates next week as the mandates of three of its judges are due to end in June this year. They are Valer Dorneanu, proposed by the Chamber of Deputies, Mona Pivniceru, proposed by the Senate and Daniel Morar proposed by the country’s president. Made up of nine judges appointed for a nine-year mandate, which cannot be extended or renewed, a third of the judges of the Constitutional Court is being renewed every three years.
Licu: Haven’t plagiarized, I gave up doctor title, considered my work not rising to highest level
Bogdan Licu, First Deputy of the Prosecutor General, proposed by the Social Democratic Party (PSD) for the position of judge at the Constitutional Court of Romania (CCR), said on Wednesday that he gave up the scientific title of doctor because he considered that his PhD thesis “did not meet the highest scientific expectations”, reiterating that the accusations of plagiarism are not true.
He said during the interview with the Legal Committee of the Chamber of Deputies that he is ready for the position of judge at the CCR, mentioning that he has evolved in 15 years.
According to Bogdan Licu, on January 2020 he offered a more detailed explanation before the Minister of Justice, regarding his PhD thesis.
“In short, I said at that moment that I was not sufficiently prepared for submitting a high-quality scientific paper, that PhD thesis, which is why I gave up, I filed a lawsuit in court to give up on the title, as a recognition of the fact that, looking back, I truly considered that it did not rise to the highest expectations for such a scientific title, but also because I made certain errors, from either rushing, or because, I repeat, it did not meet the highest scientific expectations, yet to plagiarism, meaning theft, it is a long way, and none of it is true,” Licu specified.
AUR: Ioan Sabau-Pop, most serious proposal for position of judge at Constitutional Court
The Alliance for the Union of Romanians (AUR) proposes Ioan Sabau-Pop, a university professor, member of the International Court of Commercial Arbitration, who, as “a lawyer has obtained tens of thousands of hectares of land for the Romanian state”, for the position of judge at the Romanian Constitutional Court (CCR).
“Ioan Sabau-Pop dedicated decades of his life to the fight in court for the recovery of lands and forests that were fraudulently retroceded. He obtained tens of thousands of hectares of land, which had been illegally taken from the Romanian state patrimony. Normally, he should be voted for with two hands by any parliamentarian who still has a shred of conscience. Whoever wants a strong and independent Constitutional Court, and not its kneeling, can support Professor Pop,” AUR Chairman and MP George Simion said in a press release.
In his turn, AUR senator Claudiu Tarziu maintains that this proposal is “the most serious” and likely to maintain the standards regarding the independence and impartiality of CCR.
“In addition to academic, judicial and legal experience, Professor Ioan Sabau-Pop has an impeccable reputation, unlike his opponents, who are merely pitiable figures. One is a political yes-man, another is close to the secret services, and the third has been expelled from the judiciary,” Tarziu said.
Magistrate Danilet: CCR becoming political actor, straying from initial purpose of Constitution
Magistrate Cristi Danilet has declared on Wednesday that in the last years the Constitutional Court of Romania (CCR) has become a “political actor” and “strayed from the initial purpose of the Constitution”.
Cristi Danilet, proposed by Save Romania Union (USR) for the position of magistrate within the Constitutional Court, over the current chairman of CCR, Valer Dorneanu, whose term will expire, is being audited on Wednesday in the legal select committee of the Chamber of Deputies.
“In the last years, CCR has become a political actor and I believe that it has strayed from the initial purpose of the Constitution. I say this because, when we are interpreting the country’s Constitution, we must refer to the will of constituent power since 1991 and things which are still in force, as well as parliamentary works of 2003, when the Constitution was reviewed. In 2003 this task was created by CCR to solve constitutional conflicts between authorities and I believe that what the lawmaker wanted was not even close to replacing political will. I believe that when we have organisms, institutions, political authorities, these, through negotiations and through political attitude, must solve their problems, not to go with them to the CCR. I am for a limitation of the CCR’s powers. Of course, only by jurisprudential way, because we have a jurisprudential way of the CCR which defines exactly what a legal conflict of a constitutional nature is,” Danilet specified.
He said that in the event in which CCR declares that a law is not in accordance with the Constitution, when it regulates in an area which is linked to the European Union, the judge must disregard that Court’s decision.
“There are three decisions, from 2018, 2020 and 2021, of the Court of Justice of the European Union, which explain how we interpret the law of the European Union. Namely: The Romanian judge is the first European judge, he/she is obligated to apply the treaties and other mandatory normative acts. The decision through which the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism is mandatory for Romania and its effects will cease when it will be repealed. Even if CCR declares that a law is in accordance with the Constitution, when it is regulated in a sector that is tied to the European Union, then the European judge, according to the CJEU, needs to disregard CCR’s decision, to apply the European law directly,” Cristi Danilet explained.
The magistrate said that he wants more transparency of CCR’s activity.
Peter Eckstein-Kovacs: Constitutional Court has jurisdiction over the other public state institutions
Constitutional Court nominee Peter Eckstein-Kovacs, a former Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania Senator, said on Wednesday that this high court’s power to rule on particular institutional disputes among public authorities “has and will continue to cause a stir”.
Peter Eckstein-Kovacs, proposed by the Save Romania Union to replace judge Mona Pivniceru whose term is running to end in June, was heard on Wednesday by the Senate’s Law Committee.
“What I believe as far as the Constitutional Court is concerned, is that one of its particular powers has and will continue to cause a stir – its competence to issue a point of view and a ruling regarding the institutional conflicts among the public authorities. Which means that, from this point of view, to a certain extent the Constitutional Court has jurisdiction over the other public institutions of the Romanian state,” Peter Eckstein-Kovacs said during the hearing.
Regarding the appointment to the Constitutional Court of exclusively politically independent persons, he said that he has nothing against lawmakers’ candidacies for the Constitutional Court “being placed somewhat to the back”.
“I wouldn’t oppose such an idea. There are arguments for it – yes, exclude those who have done politics. I think a compromise solution emerged at some point in the public space – to have a two-year gap between the end of the political office or party membership and the moment of submitting one’s candidacy for office. It’s practically a midway solution. I have nothing against lawmakers’ candidacies for the Constitutional Court being – if not downright rejected – placed somewhat to the back,” said Peter Eckstein-Kovacs.
Compiled from Agerpres