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President Iohannis attends the DIICOT activity report meeting, praises it for stance on EO amending criminal law

President Klaus Iohannis on Thursday praised the Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT) for promptly reacting to the ordinance amending the criminal codes. The Romanian president attended the DIICOT 2016 balance sheet meeting, next to the DIICOT chief prosecutor, Daniel Horodniceanu, the interim Justice minister Ana Birchall, Romania’s Prosecutor General Augustin Lazar and anti-corruption chief prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi. The meeting was held within doors, with the media’s access forbidden.

The head of state made no statements either before entering the meeting or after he left.

According to the local news agencies, President Iohannis told the DIICOT prosecutors that he appreciated the promptitude that the institution has publicly reacted on the emergency ordinance no 13, amending the criminal codes.

The Executive’s recent initiatives on amending the criminal law would have had as consequence not only the dramatic decrease of the intensity of the fight against corruption, but also serious repercussions over the DIICOT cases. I appreciated the promptitude that your institution has publicly reacted, by warning that adopting such regulatory documents would increase the risk of some favoring conditions for crimes,” Iohannis said.

The President also referred to the DIICOT role in developing the country’s economy.

The role of the Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism is essential in society and, at the same time, is extremely difficult, as you face ones of the most violent and toughest forms of criminality. A country cannot have a strong economy when the organized crime is wide. The financial force of the shady groups or cyber criminality groups is deeply affecting Romania’s economy and they have a strong impact on collecting the incomes to the state budget,” Iohannis added.

He talked on the law amendments eyeing DIICOT activity, which need to be operated in the future.

These targets cannot be reached without a coherent legislation. I am glad to notice that the law amendments operated in 2016 have resulted in enhancing the institution’s operating capacity. This is a proof that the institutions fighting against criminality become efficient when laws are made with intelligence, in good faith and eye to strengthen the rule of law, and not to weaken it. In order to be able to invest in the public services necessary for the society we must, on one hand, fight and dismantle the criminal networks operating against the law, and, on the other hand, to recover the prejudices. Collaboration between the Public Ministry and the National Agency for Management of Frozen Assets is more than necessary to accomplish the justice act,” the President stated.

In his view, Romania is at a crossroads and we have to decide what will be the path to follow from now on.

“Romania is at a crossroads moment and together we have to decide what will be the path to follow from now on: on the path of democracy, rule of law and of independent justice or on the path of corruption, lack of professionalism and institutional abuses,” the head of state concluded.

Interim minister of Justice Ana Birchall stated in her turn that the current Government is very determined to fight against corruption and to support the anti-corruption fight. Birchall added that the Gov’t decision is to repeal the emergency ordinance no 13 and this is the stance that she will endorse during the ongoing parliamentary debates.

Over RON 4 bln liens in 2016

According to the DIICOT activity report, the total value of the liens operated by the organized crime prosecutors last year was RON 4,216,910.789.

The report also reveals that the total damages caused by committing violations in the solved cases in 2016 by the Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism, was RON 441,422.564 and EUR 37,116.224 (overall about EUR 135,428.599), compared to RON 651,667.427 and EUR 27,696.393 (overal approx. EUR 172,833.904) in 2015.

“The total value of the liens placed in the solved cases in 2016 was RON 209,037.298 (approximately EUR 46,556.191) compared to RON 525,868.002 (approximately EUR 117,119.822) in 2015. The total value of the liens during 2016 was RON 4,216,910.789″, the report shows.

Self-radicalisation up in Romania last year

DIICOT prosecutord also warned in their activity report on 2016 that an upward trend of the self-radicalisation phenomenon was noticed last year, be it people coming from the areas with terrorist issued or Romanians converted to a form of Jihadist belief.

36 cases out of 141 on terrorism and crimes against state security have been solved last year, with only one file being sent to court and two defendants being placed under preventive arrest.

“The self-radicalisation phenomenon on the national territory has registered an upward evolution in 2016,” reads the DIICOT balance sheet report.

As for the drug traffic, prosecutors say that the number of solved files has risen but also of the ongoing cases, adding that the most trafficked drug last year in Romania was cannabis.

About Alina Grigoras Butu