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President Iohannis warns CSM members: A law on amnesty and pardon would be a ‘catastrophe’

President Klaus Iohannis has told the Superior Council of Magistracy (CSM) sitting on Friday that a law on amnesty and pardon would be a “catastrophe” and, if this point is reached, he will oppose it with all the weight of the presidential office.

“I am afraid that convicted or prosecuted politicians would hail such a law, as they will get rid of all problems,” President Iohannis said.

“And yet, some could say: so what?” Iohannis said that “the rule of law would be gone and there’s a risk for democracy to disappear in Romania.” He added that, once accepted the idea of a law on amnesty and parole for corrupt politicians, any parliament could do the same. “Such a precedent would lead to lack of legality,” he said, addressing the new Justice Minister: “It would whiten the politicians’ files, it would be a catastrophe for Romanian democracy, Mr. Minister!”

President Iohannis stressed: “I would oppose it with all the weight of the presidential office!”

The head of state participated to the beginning of the CSM sitting on Friday, during which a new management is to be elected.

Nobody has imagined that a thief would want to be above the law

On the other hand, the head of state said that no one is above the law, adding that “nobody has imagined that a thief would want to be above the law, but there are some who believe they deserve it.”

“I congratulate you for being voted in the CSM. I know it was a difficult way. (…) It’s hard to find a more difficult task described in fewer words, to safeguard justice independence. Why is it so important? It’s not just important, it’s fundamental; no democracy, no rule of law can work without independent justice. Independent justice means no one should interfere with the judges and prosecutors and also that no one is above the law. Nobody has imagined that a thief would want to be above the law, but there are some who believe they deserve it, and I mean people having, usually, public offices. This is not possible,” Klaus Iohannis said.

The President added that it is to be noted that some politicians want to leave the impression that, although they are criminally convicted or prosecuted, they still are “good guys” because they have collected many votes. Iohannis said it would be a great mistake to repeat the submission of justice to politics.

“Usually, politicians want to monopolize everything” but for some “there is an excessive need of power” and here comes the role to be played by CSM, to eliminate it, Iohannis said. He called on the CSM members “to be firm, not obedient, to refuse political interference in justice when the pressure grows,” the President told the CSM members.

President Iohannis talked about justice and has sent messages to the new government regarding the need to keep its independence. Iohannis was indignant on Thursday, following the steps taken by the Ombudsman to challenge to the Constitutional Court the law banning convicted persons to join the government.

 

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