Magistrates’ associations and civil society: We request the Minister of Justice to urgently publish the projects for justice laws and Penal Codes and to submit them to the Venice Commission

The Romanian Judges Forum, The Movement for Defending the Statute of Prosecutors and Initiative for Justice associations, professional organizations of judges and prosecutors, respectively Funky Citizens, Declic and Vedem Just associations, representing the civil society, took note of the announcement made by the Ministry of Justice from April 18 2022 regarding the transmission for consultation of the projects for justice laws and Penal Codes to European Comission, under the Cooperative and Verification Mechanism (CVM).

The Ministry of Justice stated he has completed the projects and that it represents a priority objective under the Governing Programme, also an objective of CVM for Justice, referred also under the National Recovery and Resilience Plan for Romania.

Surprisingly, the projects were not published on the website of the Ministry of Justice, considering that it is well known that the lack of decisional transparency, alongside the deficiencies of the regulatory activities, inevitably lead to the low trust of society in the force and importance of normative acts. For that matter, the decisional transparency and the public consultation also represent for many years the fundamental elements for the National Anticorruption Strategy (operated by the Ministry of Justice).

In addition, the jurisprudence regarding the Court of Justice of the European Union and the European Court of Human Rights, respectively the documents drawn up by The Council of Europe, based especially on the expertise of the Venice Commission, shall provide a non-exhaustive list of principles of the rule of law and shall define the basic meaning of the rule of law as a common value of the European Union, in accordance with Article 2 from The Treaty on European Union.

Those principles include the legality, which implies a transparent, responsible, democratic and pluralistic process for adopting the laws, legal security, prohibition of the arbitrary character of the executive competence, independent and impartial courts, efficient jurisdictional control, inclusively the respect of the fundamental rights and of the egality in front of the law. The requirements are not just formal and procedural, but the instrument for ensuring the compliance with democratic and human rights values and respecting those values.

Consequently, the Ministry of Justice cannot justify under any circumstances the refusal to publish the projects for justice laws and Penal Codes submitted to the Venice Commission.

Furthermore, the European Commission, through numerous CVM reports, requested Romania to properly take into account the approvals of the Venice Commission.

According to the Article 11 from the Romanian Constitution, the Romanian state is committed to fulfil precisely and in good faith the obligations incumbent on it from the treaties from which it is part. The treaties ratified by the Parliament, according to the law, are part of the internal law. Romania has acceded to the Council of Europe (CE), as a result of the decision from October 4, 1993, formulated through the Resolution No 37, s 1993 of the Committee of CE Ministers The adherence to the Council of Europe, organization founded on the principles of respect for the fundamental human rights and freedom, for the democratic and the rule of law values, constituted a compulsory stage for promoting Romania’s efforts in the accession to the European Union (EU) and to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

Hence, the referral to the Venice Commission regarding the projects for justice laws and Penal Codes is mandatory and cannot be avoided by no means of artifice.

Consequently, we request publicly the Ministry of Justice to publish urgently the projects for justice laws and Penal Codes and to submit them to the Venice Commission, in order to respect the Romanian state’s obligations as a member of the Council of Europe, but also to avoid new procedures of infringement, under the European Union.

 

The Romanian Judges Forum Association

The Movement for Defending the Statute of Prosecutors Association

Initiative for Justice Association

Funky Citizens Association

Declic Association

Vedem Just

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