The Romanian Judges’ Forum Association, the Movement for Defence of Prosecutors’ Status Association along with the Initiative for Justice Association express their extreme concern about the amendments made today to the “laws of justice” by an Emergency Ordinance adopted by the Romanian Government without ensuring the transparency of decision making in the proposed legislative amendment and without the opinion of the Superior Council of Magistracy, the constitutional guarantor judicial independence, approval of which notification has not been expected for a reasonable period.
Such a form of legislation seriously and insubstantially disregards constitutional principles (Article 1 (5) and Article 1 (3) of the Constitution), the legislative technique and the predictability of the law, insurmountably jeopardising the rule of law and the independence of the justice in Romania. Moreover, the power of the executive to govern by emergency ordinances must be justified by the existence of exceptional situations requiring the adoption of urgent regulations, otherwise there may be discussions regarding an inadmissible interference in the legislative competence of the Parliament, in breach of the principle of state power separations. By the Decision no. 421 as of May 9th, 2007, the Constitutional Court of Romania has stated that the urgency of the regulation is not equivalent to the existence of the extraordinary situation, the operative regulation being also achievable through the ordinary legislative procedures. Also, the emergency ordinance cannot counteract a law adopted by Parliament and, on the contrary, not even a legislative proposal rejected by Parliament. At the same time, the European Commission for Democracy through Law has acknowledged that in its Opinion adopted at its 93rd Plenary Session (Venice, 14-15 December 2012) “the frequent use of emergency ordinances is a cause for concern” and “the almost constant use of Government Emergency Ordinances is not the most appropriate method” for the adoption of regulations without delay.
Use of emergency ordinances to correlate provisions of laws passed in 2018 without authentic parliamentary debates, ignoring the view expressed by more than 90% of the general assemblies of courts and prosecutors’ offices attached to them, ignoring the total the opinions issued by the Venice Commission, the GRECO and the European Commission reports, along with the inconsistent approach to the principle of quarrying, which has been cleverly cleared up until today, undoubtedly proves the disaster in front of which the Romanian justice is exposed to endless experiments, developed without analyses or impact studies.
Alleged necessity of resolving the situation of delegations in management positions of PICCJ, DNA, DIICOT and SIIJ, although there is no obvious problem with the delegation, becomes a perpetual ban of any kind of delegation, the result of which is that any of these structures may remain without a general prosecutor or chief prosecutor, and the vacancy may result in death, illness or resignation, in which case the appointment procedure could not be completed from one day to the next.
We are witnessing the revolution of the organization of the Public Ministry and of the constitutional principle of the hierarchy in the prosecutor’s offices, by changing the hierarchical superiority of the prosecutor, only to a certain unity of the prosecutor’s office, unanimously challenged by magistrates, the Council of Europe and the European Union, now becoming independent even by the Public Ministry, in a manifestly unconstitutional approach.
The institution of the new type of judge is created overnight, which, unlike the authentic one, can always compete for leadership positions in the prosecutor’s office, only for the fact that, sometime during its career, it also fulfilled a certain period of office as a prosecutor, and the core competencies of the Prosecutors Section of the Superior Council of Magistracy are abolished.
All these changes will undoubtedly lead to institutional bottlenecks, affecting the capacity of the Public Ministry to exercise its constitutional powers to represent the general interests of society, defend the rule of law, and the rights and freedoms of citizens.
The Romanian Judges’ Forum Association, the Movement for Defence of Prosecutors’ Status Association along with the Initiative for Justice Association calls on the President of Romania, Mr. Klaus Iohannis, urgently to refer the Venice Commission with all changes to the laws of justice through emergency ordinances issued in recent months.
Likewise, the three associations ask the ombudsman to carry out their legal duties and immediately notify the Constitutional Court. As the Venice Commission set out in its Opinion no. 685 as of December 17th, 2012, the ombudsman has the express power to refer the Constitutional Court to laws and ordinances, and this is not limited to the protection of human rights, and its role must be extremely active in defending the rule of law, and of the international commitments made to this effect by the Romanian State, ignored without any explanation during the last two years.
The Romanian Judges’ Forum Association
Judge Dragoș Călin, co-chairman
Judge Anca Codreanu, co-chairman
The Movement for Defence of Prosecutors’ Status Association
Prosecutor Antonia Diaconu, co-chairman
Prosecutor Cosmin Adrian Iordache, co-chairman
The Initiative for Justice Association
Prosecutor Bogdan Pîrlog, co-chairman
Prosecutor Sorin Lia, co-chairman
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