Romanian Minister of Justice, Stelian Ion:
“Freedom of expression is a fundamental right. Notwithstanding the obligation of magistrates to be cautious concerning all the problems related to their profession and activity, they have the right to freedom of expression.
In recent years, the courageous positions of magistrates related to the changes of the judiciary laws and criminal law have greatly contributed to avoiding slippages that would have seriously affected the rule of law and would have thrown our society off track.
Pressures on magistrates, or intimidations intended to discourage them from speaking freely on the problems of the judiciary are not at all beneficial. These type of actions only increase the tensions in the judiciary. If we all choose to remain silent and to pretend not seeing the real problems, those problems will amplify and will overwhelm us.
In the justice draft laws I have set forth the consolidation of the magistrates’ freedom of expression. Moreover, I have not embraced the idea that the Minister of Justice might exercise the disciplinary action against magistrates.
Furthermore, although I have received in turn certain criticizism from a number of magistrates regarding the ministerial activity, not always in an adequate language, and even though it has been unpleasant, I have not considered that these blunt approaches should be sanctioned in any way. I tried to set aside the unpalatable packaging and to assimilate the idea. We cannot eavesdrop to what magistrates discuss among themselves and we as a society cannot tolerate that magistrates are followed or tailed in their free time.
I kindly ask magistrates not to remain silent and not to be afraid. To perform their duty professionally and in good faith, but also to speak of the problems and perils of the judiciary. To do this objectively, with arguments, with balance and in an elegant language, as it is adequate for magistrates.”
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