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The tragic events which took place on Friday night in Club Colectiv showed us the true dimension of the havoc caused by corruption and disregard for the law. Corruption does not only breed poverty, it also kills when manifested in relation to state institutions which are meant to ensure citizen safety and watch over the enforcement of and compliance with the law. Furthermore, the death of police officer Bogdan Gigina, on the 20th of October 2015, was the result of misuse of authority, blatant disregard for the law and discretionary use of power by the Romanian Minister of the Interior.
 
These tragedies must not happen again. It is our firm belief that the fight for rule of law, for integrity in the public arena and against corruption must continue within the confines of the democratic and constitutional system in Romania (that is a NATO and EU member state) through firm and definite measures on the part of the governing parties and clear demands from the part of the Romanian civil society.
 
It is important to completely understand the context that led to the tragedies from October 20th (the death of police officer Gigina) and 30th (the tragedy in Club Colectiv): institutional corruption, misuse of authority and frequent disregard for the law.
 
As such, we demand the following:
 
-Well defined and fast-acting measures to favor the opening of the political system and, implicitly, ensure true representativeness and real alternatives in the upcoming 2016 local and general elections, among which:
 
  • Reinstating the two-round system in the case of local elections;
  • Reducing the number of MPs, in accordance with the already expressed popular will;
  • Instating correspondence voting through a functional law: as such, we ask President Iohannis not to promulgate the recently adopted bill and send it back to Parliament;
  • Limiting parliamentary immunity strictly to political declarations.
 
-The resignation of the Romanian Ombudsman, Victor Ciorbea, and the appointment to this high office of a person corresponding to its requirements and with the determination to correspondingly apply themselves to this mandate, especially regarding discretionarily-issued Government Emergency Ordinances.
 
-Compliance with the independence of the judiciary and dismissal of the many bills presently in the judicial commission of the Chamber of Deputies or the Senate, bills threatening to change the anticorruption and integrity legal framework or aiming to diminish the DNA competencies.
 
-The creation of the National Agency for the Management of Seized Assets through the adoption of the bill currently discussed by the Chamber of Deputies.
 
These demands are essential so that Romania –EU and NATO Member State- can truly be considered a democratic country, in which rule of law is respected, with a functional market economy that produces wealth for its citizens.
 
Freedom House Romania                                                                                                                 November 5th, 2015

Over 20 legislative initiatives placed on the agenda of the Chamber of Deputies’ Judicial Committee place under the question mark some commitments that the Romanian state has made since the 2006 implementation of the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism. They clearly disrespect the commitments taken by Romania in insuring the quality and stability of the legislative anti-corruption and integrity framework.

Current legislation has demonstrated its effectiveness in combatting corruption and insuring integrity.  

The Romanian judicial system has the necessary legislation to correct the naturally-occurring problems.

The Superior Council of Magistracy has all the necessary levers to address critiques on the unfolding of the judicial process.

Problems and critiques can and must be solved in the already-existing legal and institutional framework, through the application of current legislation and by fully, independently and transparently claiming the role that each institution has, especially through the actions of the Superior Council of Magistracy.

On the other hand, the lack of transparency is noteworthy, along with the haste with which the Judicial Committee acts, through actions such as ad-hoc supplementation of the daily order or by granting clearly unrealistic terms – one week – to the leadership of SCM and the High Court of Cassation and Justice in order to formulate standpoints.

A simple reading of the conclusions and recommendations of the most recent CVM Report, issued to the public on January 28, 2015, reveals the chasm and even the contradiction between the objectives which Romania has taken within the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism and the legislative proposals that envisage the justice performed by the Members of Parliament.

Under these circumstances, we consider the numerous modifications which envisage the Criminal Code, the Criminal Procedure Code and the Statute of magistrates, proposed by the majority of the MPs of the governmental arch, have as purpose the diminishing of the effectiveness of the fight against corruption, and on sheltering dignitaries from certain investigations regarding the conflict of interest and the service offences.

16 June 2015
 
Freedom House Romania (FHR)
Expert  Forum (EFOR)
Romanian Center for European Policies (CRPE)
 
FHR, EFOR and CRPE are part of the Initiative for a Clean Justice

The European Commission last week said Romanian media have made a “step forward,” but leading journalists disagree.

(Reuters) - The European Commission said in its latest report it would not tolerate political pressure on the justice system or loopholes for lawmakers and said it needed to see action. (...) Shortly before the release of the report, the United States' top diplomat in Romania, Duane Butcher, said that doubts about the country's justice system could harm its economy.

On the 10th and the 11th of January 2014, Assistant Secretary Victoria Nuland will travel to Bucharest in order to meet senior Romanian government officials and members of the civil society. One of the most important topics to be discussed is the need to strengthen the rule of law in Romania.

Dear President of the European Commission,
Dear Commissioners,
Dear Secretary General,

This is to inform you that the putsch against the rule of law in Romania, started in the summer of 2012, continues in full force. On Tuesday, December 10, the Parliament has given a full waiver of criminal liability to MPs involved in corruption and decriminalized conflict of interest. Through these amendments, full impunity for powerful politicians returns to Romania, bringing us back to the early 90s, invalidating the work of DNA, ANI and brave judges.

1. MPs are no longer covered by the Criminal Code in respect to corruption and abuse in office.

This undermines the Constitutional principle of equality before the law. The immediate effect of this provision would be that all on-going investigations will stop, all pending trials will end, and all convicted MPs will be freed. According to the DNA, 28 MPs are in the latter two situations.

We express our concern regarding the aggression suffered by the journalist Mircea Marian, who was threatened to be beaten up for his public opinions.

We also protest against the attitude of the police officers, present at the scene of aggression, who remained passive as the aggressor was insulting the journalist and addressing him anti-Semitic remarks.

The same aggressor had insulted last year Mircea Marian, during the referendum for the impeachment of president Băsescu.

The aggression occurred yesterday, the 16th of May, in the public space, in the area of Piata Unirii, with the on-scene police officers sending the victim, as he was being insulted, to file a complaint at the police station.