The Good Lobby Profs statement in support of Romanian judges

The Good Lobby Profs on Twitter: „Our statement in support of the three 🇷🇴 magistrates of @ForumulR ⬇️ cc @EAJ_AEM_ERV @MedelEurope @JoseIgrejaMatos @Judges4J @Verfassungsblog @TheGoodLobby https://t.co/359sGtoQkt” / Twitter

23 April 2021
Re: Disciplinary actions against three Romanian magistrates

We, the undersigned legal academics committed to uphold the rule of law through our scientific research and public engagement, channelled through The Good Lobby Profs, have learned with great concern about disciplinary actions against three Romanian magistrates – Judge Dragoş Călin; Judge Alina Gioroceanu and Judge Laurenţiu Grecu – on charges involving private communication on encrypted social networks.

These actions, brought by the Judicial Inspection office and now pending before the Superior Council of Magistracy, threaten to undermine the independence of the judiciary and to cast serious doubt on Romania’s commitment to the rule of law. Based on the information currently available, the charges that judges’ private messages are political in nature and violate rules of professional integrity cannot be supported. The authenticity of most of these messages attributed to the three Romanian magistrates has also been strongly called into question. Unless outrightly dismissed by the Superior Council of Magistracy, consideration of these charges would have a chilling effect on the members of the Romanian judiciary in breach of Article 19(1) TEU. The request of the Judicial Inspection for the suspension of the judges as an interim measure is furthermore disproportionate and violates EU law.

We also note that some of the judges now subject to disciplinary action have been strong defenders of judicial independence in Romania, including through litigation resulting in preliminary references now pending before the Court of Justice of the European Union on the compatibility of Romanian legislation with EU law. Since one such preliminary reference concerns the legality of the Judicial Inspection under its current leadership (Case C-83/19), the ongoing disciplinary actions has the strong appearance of a conflict of interests and may be construed as retaliatory actions. It is worth noting in this context that according to EU Advocate General Bobek, in a set of opinions issued on 23 September 2020 in relation inter alia to Case C-83/19, the interim appointment of Romania’s Chief Judicial Inspector and Romanian national provisions on the establishment of a specific prosecution section with exclusive jurisdiction for offences committed by members of the judiciary are contrary to EU law.

We urge the Superior Council of Magistracy, sitting as a disciplinary court, to dismiss the charges against the three judges, to protect the independence of the Romanian judiciary and to uphold the rule of law.

Professor Laurent Pech
Professor Alberto Alemanno
Professor Vlad Perju
Dr Joelle Grogan
acting on behalf of The Good Lobby Profs

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