ROMANIAN JUDGES’ FORUM ASSOCIATION: Justice minister Tudorel Toader’s public statements concerning professionalism of GRECO experts jeopardize Romania’s position as a Council of Europe member

ROMANIAN JUDGES’ FORUM ASSOCIATION:

Justice minister Tudorel Toader’s public statements concerning professionalism of GRECO experts jeopardize Romania’s position as a Council of Europe member
Romanian Judges’ Forum Association takes note with astonishment and concern of Justice Minister Tudorel Toader’ s public statements which question GRECO experts professional abilities in drafting the ad-hoc report on the setbacks of Romania’s anticorruption fight.
According to article 11 of Romanian Constitution, our country has a duty  to fulfill, in good faith, all its commitments derived from international treaties we are part of taking into consideration that, once ratified by the Parliament, international treaties are part of domestic law.
Romania joined Council of Europe Member States following a 4th October 1993 decision adopted through the Resolution nr. 37/1993 of Committee of Ministers.
Joining the Council of Europe, an international organization having as the core principles strenghtening human rights, democracy and rule of law,  was a necessary step for Romania in its endeavor to also join the European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.
 The Emergency Ordinance no 46/1999 authorized Romania’s participation to the Group of States against Corruption, set through 1st May 1999 Resolution no (99)5 of Council of Europe, in the view of the serious danger corruption posed and still poses to the rule of law, democracy, human rights, social welfare, economic growth, institutional balance and the very moral basis of society as a whole.
In this context, GRECO’s objective is to improve the capacity of its members to fight corruption by monitoring their compliance with Council of Europe anti-corruption standards through a dynamic process of mutual evaluation and peer pressure. It helps to identify deficiencies in national anti-corruption policies, prompting the necessary legislative, institutional and practical reforms. GRECO also provides a platform for the sharing of best practice in the prevention and detection of corruption.
Greco experts are highly experienced, qualified professionals, each Member State providing a list of maximum 5 experts.
The assessment process of each country implies an analysis carried out on the basis of written replies to a questionnaire and information gathered in meetings with public officials and representatives of civil society during an on-site visit to the country.
GRECO reports recommendations are enforced by Member States in view of mutual assessment and loyal cooperation.
For example, Romanian Constitutional Court (Decision no 138/2008) refers to GRECO reports in its reasoning for rejecting constitutionality objections.
Also, when needed, Romanian Parliament enacted legislation accordingly to GRECO reports recommendations, for example the Special Joint Commission having been set up through Decision no 69/2017 of both Deputies Chamber and the Senat  to the claimed purpose of adopting amendments to Criminal and Criminal Procedure Codes in compliance with GRECO reports as it follows: Assessement Report on incriminations,   issued on 3rd December 2010 (par. 23, 24, 111, 112),  Compliance Report, issued on 7th December 2012 (par. 34, 37-42), Second compliance Report issued on 12th December 2014 (pct. 35-37, 40, 41).
We conclude that, so far,  Romania has complied constantly with duties imposed by its statutory position of GRECO member state.
In such a context, Justice minister Tudorel Toader’ s public statements questioning GRECO experts profesional qualification when having drafted the report on the setback of Romania’s anticorruption fight are at least contentious, completely inacceptable in a rule of law governed member state,  jeopardizing  Romania’s image as a Council of Europe member and canceling all institutional efforts, carried out in the last 20 years,  regarding mutual trust with our European partners.
judge Dragoș Călin, Bucharest Court of Appeal, co – president
judge Anca Codreanu, Brasov District Court, co – president.
9th May 2018, Bucharest

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