The Romanian Judges’ Forum Association, the Movement for Defending the Status of Prosecutors Association and the Initiative for Justice Association: The judgment of the CJEU from 21 of December 2021 cannot be ignored. Romania risks infringement proceedings and severe financial penalties in case of non-compliance

The Romanian Judges’ Forum Association, the Movement for Defending the Status of Prosecutors Association and the Initiative for Justice Association took note of the judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union delivered on 21 of December 2021, in the joint cases Euro Box Promotion and others, but also of the inexplicable lack of immediate reaction to this decision by the Minister of Justice, which has to rapidly propose legislative amendments for compliance.

In order to implement this judgment without delay, we call for the following measures to be taken as a matter of urgency:

  1. The repeal of the disciplinary misconduct provided for in Article 99 letter ş from Law no 303/2004, which allows the disciplinary sanctioning of the judges for failure to comply with the decisions of the CCR, without distinguishing the cause (in this regard, the priority application of EU law and the case-law of the CJEU or of the European Convention on Human Rights and the ECHR case-law can never constitute a ground for disciplinary punishment of a magistrates); reforming the entire rules on the disciplinary liability of judges and of Judicial Inspection, by providing safeguards to avoid disciplinary investigations on judges for the content of their decisions, which give priority to EU law; reorganising the Judicial Inspection by creating two separate inspections, one for judges and one for prosecutors, and reconsidering the role and powers of the Chief Inspector; regulating meritocratic exams for the selection of judicial inspectors and for appointment to management positions;
  2. 2. Unconditional abolition of the separate prosecutor’s office, created to investigate offences committed by judges and prosecutors: the abolition of the SIOJ must not be accompanied by the establishing of any new guarantee for magistrates investigated for corruption, this has already been setted by the Venice Commission in its opinion from 5 of July 2021; furthermore, the abolition of the SIOJ must necessarily lead to the restoration of the DNA’s competence to investigate magistrates accused of corruption, the fight against corruption being one of the four objectives of the CVM, whose failure will make it impossible to lift the CVM;
  3. Repealing the limitations on freedom of expression, embodied in the obligation to refrain from “defamatory manifestation or expression in relation to the other powers of the State”;
  4. Restoring meritocracy in the judiciary system: Regulating meritocratic exams for promoting, including, in particular, to the High Court of Cassation and Justice;
  5. Reviewing the system of appointment and dismissal of Chief prosecutors and limiting the role of the Minister of Justice in these procedures, while increasing the powers of the Superior Council of Magistracy; strengthening the independence of the prosecutor and clear and restrictive regulation of the notion of hierarchical superior prosecutor;
  6. Reviewing the rules on the material liability of judges and prosecutors as long as ignore the independence of the judiciary;

The professional associations of Romanian judges and prosecutors also recall that failure to comply with a judgment delivered by the Court of Justice of the European Union may lead the Court, at the request of the European Commission, in infringement proceedings, to impose financial penalties in the form of a flat-rate amount and/or a daily payment. In this respect, the letter sent by the European Commission to the Government of Romania on 18 of October 2021 already asked for clarifications relating to the failure to comply with the judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union delivered on 18 of May 2021 in Joined Cases C-83/19, C-127/19, C-195/19, C-291/19, C-355/19 and C-379/191, Association of the Romanian Courts Forum and OthersIn a similar procedure, in the case of Poland, failure to comply with a ruling of the CJEU on rule of law issues has already led to the provisional application of a daily financial penalty of EUR 1 million, with the final penalty to be determined soon by the CJEU.

 

The Romanian Judges Forum Association

The Movement for Defending the Status of Prosecutors Association

The Initiative for Justice Association

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