The special parliamentary committee on the judicial laws decided on Thursday that the general debates on amending the Criminal Code and Criminal Procedure Code should start on May 2. The Opposition accused that the amending of the Criminal Codes is being made for Liviu Dragnea and Calin Popescu Tariceanu. However, Committee Chairman and ex-Justice Minister Florin Iordache claimed that the goal sought is “to normalise life in Romania.”
“Yesterday, the PSD-ALDE parliamentary groups tabled three bills seeking to amend the Criminal Code, Criminal Procedure Code and Civil Procedure Code and to set them in line with the decisions of the [Constitutional] Court, the European directives, and the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights. At the same time, these bills only serve to normalise life in Romania, a life that should be managed by some clear rules,” Florin Iordache said.
During its meeting on Thursday, the committee established the organisational dates. Committee Chairman and House lawmaker Florin Iordache (PSD) proposed that representatives of the Supreme Magistracy Council (CSM), High Court of Cassation and Justice (ICCJ), Prosecutor General’s Office, associations of magistrates and prosecutors, and of the Justice Ministry should be invited at the general debates scheduled to start on May 2.
Save Romania Union (USR) House lawmaker Stelian Ion demanded that the debates be postponed for 30 days, arguing that the time available to read the bills is too short. Ion proposed that representatives of the world of academia should also take part in the general debates. Iordache agreed with that but pointed out their proposed amendments to the Criminal Code must be endorsed by a parliamentary group.
Thus, Florin Iordache announced he will issue invitations to the committee’s general debates for the criminal law representatives of the faculties in Bucharest, Cluj, and Iasi.
The bill amending the Criminal Code stipulates that the issuance, endorsement, or adoption of legislative acts does not represent the crime of aiding and abetting the wrongdoer with the goal of preventing or hampering investigations in a criminal probe, the process of holding someone accountable for a crime, the serving of a sentence or of a detention order. The statements that public authorities or civil servants make before a final conviction is issued, and according to which a person is considered guilty, are punishable by 6 months to 3 years in prison. To avoid punishment, the briber or the wrongdoer must denounce the illegal act within a period of 6 months from the date it was committed, and before the start of the criminal probe. The article regarding abuse of office is abrogated.
According to the bill amending the Criminal Procedure Code, during the criminal probe or trial, information can be made public only if justified by a public interest, and the suspects must not be presented handcuffed or wearing any restraints that might create the public perception that they may be guilty of committing a crime. The suspect or defendant can attend the carrying out of any criminal probe action or any hearing, at his/her request. A hearing cannot last more than 6 hours a day. The data obtained from an IT system or IT data storage system that are not related to the crime for which the probe is being conducted and for which the search warrant was issued are to be erased for good from the copies made and cannot be used in other criminal probes to prove other guilty acts for which no search warrant was issued.
The provisions of the law would also be enforced on the decisions issued before the law came into force.
Iordache about the amendments of the laws allegedly related to Dragnea: The laws are not made for a person
Florin Iordache denied in Thursday that there is any amendment to the Criminal Codes directly related to the PSD leader Liviu Dragnea, claiming that these package of laws are made for the entire society.
“The laws are not made for persons or for a specific person. The laws, when promulgated, will be applicable to the entire society. These drafts that are subject to public debate will be changed for sure, both at the magistrates’ proposal and at the proposal of the law universities in the most important cities” stated the Chairman of the Committee for Amending the Laws on Justice, Florin Iordache.
PSD Chairman Liviu Dragnea stated on Wednesday at Pitesti that no one will give him back the years he lost with the lawsuits and he vehemently denied the idea that there is any amendment to the Criminal Codes to be debated by the Iordache Committee that is allegedly dedicated to him.
“I think I can do it also now, but i don’t know if I will do it. I heard, too, that this provision is made for me. Can we continue to be in this situation in which we are not taking into account at least the decisions issued by ECHR, who said a Slovenian citizen was right? All the ECHR decisions are binding for Romania also, not only for other countries. Can someone give me back the lost years, what I have lost because of this political lawsuit?” stated the PSD Chairman Liviu Dragnea at Pitesti.
Catalin Predoiu about JusMin: He washes his hands and sends everything to the Parliament
PNL MP Catalin Predoiu stated on Thursday, after the meeting of the Specialized Committee on the Laws on Justice, that the Justice Minister, instead of elaborating the criminal policy, washes his hands in order to deal “other business related to harassing prosecutors”.
“Justice Minister is missing once again from this important process, while he was supposed to coordinate this debate and notify the Parliament, assume this draft law in the Government, instead of washing his hands in order to deal other business at the Constitutional Court or CSM, which are generally related to harassing prosecutors. Justice Minister has several attributions, and one of them is to elaborate the criminal policy, the project of the criminal policy of the state by the means of the main laws in the criminal field. It would be a very difficult thing for the Minister to explain to the academic environment and to the judiciary some of the provisions included in these draft laws. So he washes his hands and sends everything to the Parliament” Catalin Predoiu stated in the Parliament.
Predoiu added that this “relaxation” of criminal policies can lead to a “festival of criminality” and some articles of the Criminal Codes are made to fit to some specific cases.
CSM starts to consult magistrates on modifications to the Criminal Code, Criminal Procedure Code and Civil Procedure Code
The CSM announced on Thursday the launch of the process to consult the magistrates on the proposed modifications to the Criminal Code, Criminal Procedure Code and Civil Procedure Code, with the proposals coming from the judicial system set to be centralised by it in order to draft “a detailed point of view on each bill.”
“Through address no.4c-32/466, dated 19.04.2018, the House and Senate’s joint special committee on the systematisation, unification and assurance of legislative stability in the judicial field has transmitted to the Council the bills amending and supplementing Law no.134/2010 on the Civil Procedure Code, Law no.135/2010 on the Criminal Procedure Code, and Law no.286/2009 on the Criminal Code, which are in parliamentary procedure within this committee. In relation to the importance and implications of the legislative overture, the Council has deemed it necessary to consult, as a preliminary, all magistrates from the judicial system, these bills set to be transmitted in this sense to courts and prosecutor’s offices,” the CSM informs.
According to the institution, the observations and proposals brought by the courts and prosecutor’s offices will be centralised by the Council, which will subsequently issue a detailed point of view on each bill.
President Iohannis: Some proposed amendments to Criminal Codes are unacceptable
“Some of the proposals to modify the Criminal Codes are absolutely unacceptable,” President Klaus Iohannis stated on Thursday. He added that “it’s inadmissible for some modifications to be made specifically for some persons who are now holding key positions in Parliament.”
President Klaus Iohannis made these statements at the end of his meeting with Italian Premier Paolo Gentiloni, at the Cotroceni Presidential Palace.
Iohannis said that some amendments to the Criminal Codes are necessary and good, but others are unacceptable.
“Some of these modifications are necessary, because there is the need for some modification of legislation, to set it in agreement with CCR decisions and in some points even with the European legislation. These proposals are good, and I believe Parliament will process them and will introduce these issues. Other proposals that were made – I don’t want to go into detail now, in this setting – are completely unacceptable and I believe the parliamentary debate will reveal which of them must remain up for debate and which should be dropped. However, I believe everyone must understand one principle – it’s inadmissible for some modifications to be made specifically for some persons who temporarily hold key positions precisely in Parliament,” President Klaus Iohannis stated.