Justice Minister Announces Emergency Decree Amending Judicial Bills

Romanian Justice Minister Tudorel Toader announced on Tuesday that the country’s Government passed an emergency decree with several amendments to judicial bills, mainly regarding the criteria for appointing top prosecutors.

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Imaginea articolului Justice Minister Announces Emergency Decree Amending Judicial Bills

Justice Minister Announces Emergency Decree Amending Judicial Bills

In addition, the bill contains several changes to the contest for admission into the National Institute of Magistracy (INM) and the attributions of the Supreme Court’s Section for Investigating Judicial Offences (SIIJ) chief-prosecutor.

The decree amends the procedure for appointing top prosecutors, with candidacies to be reviewed by the plenary of the country’s top judicial watchdog, the Superior Council of the Magistracy (CSM), instead of the institution’s Prosecutors’ Section, as was the case until now.

This comes after the justice minister faced several instances in which his proposals, either for dismissing or appointing new chief prosecutors, received a near-unanimous negative review – with the only exception being the minister’s vote. This happened three times in 2018, when Toader requested the dismissals of National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) chief Laura Codruta Kovesi and General Prosecutor Augustin Lazar, and the appointment of Adina Florea to replace Kovesi.

Another amendment prohibits the delegation of prosecutors to lead offices. This would affect DNA, currently led on an interim term by deputy Calin Nistor, who has been delegated to the office of chief-prosecutor in the absence of a full-time chief.

The bill also extends the eligibility criteria for top prosecutor offices to judges who have previously been prosecutors, instead of only prosecutors who are active at the time of the nomination.

According to the decree, any references to “superior hierarchical prosecutors” in laws affecting the functioning of the SIIJ will be interpreted as concerning the section’s chief prosecutor.

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