The issue of electronic monitoring in judicial proceedings first appeared in the public space at the beginning of 2014, when the current Code of Criminal Procedure came into force. It provided, in the context of preventive measures of judicial control, judicial control on bail and house arrest, that the defendant could be forced to permanently wear an electronic surveillance system. However, in the national legislation there was at that time no rule to explain exactly what these electronic surveillance systems are, how they work, or what they actually entail. Finally, these aspects were mostly clarified 7 years later, when Law no. 146/2021 regarding electronic monitoring in the framework of criminal judicial and executive proceedings.
The main purpose of this law is to regulate the establishment, organization and operation of the Electronic Monitoring Information System, or SIME.
It is used for:
- execution of the measure of judicial control or judicial control on bail;
- execution of the house arrest measure;
- the application of the provisional protection order and the protection order;
- the application of the European protection order, if Romania is the issuing state;
- remote electronic surveillance of prisoners.
“The law has recently returned to public attention because during this year it was amended by an emergency ordinance in the sense that SIME will become operational no later than October 1, 2022. Starting from this date, monitoring will be done in first phase in a pilot system, but exclusively in the situation where a provisional protection order or a protection order was issued, respectively when a European protection order was issued by Romania. As such, the issue of electronic monitoring in the case of the execution of preventive measures remains unsolved,” states Georgiana Sas, Avocat Iordăchescu & Asociații.
The pilot project is divided into 3 stages:
- The first stage – during 2022-2023 – at the level of the city of Bucharest and the counties of Iaşi, Mureș and Vrancea;
- The second stage – in the year 2024 – at the level of the administrative-territorial units provided for in 1) and at the level of the counties of Bacau, Brașov, Caraș-Severin, Călărași, Cluj, Covasna, Galati, Giurgiu, Harghita, Ilfov, Mehedinți, Neamţ, Prahova, Sibiu, Satu Mare, Sălaj, Teleorman, Vaslui and Vâlcea;
- The third stage – in the year 2025 – at the level of the administrative-territorial units provided for in 1) and 2) and at the level of the counties of Alba, Arad, Argeș, Bihor, Bistrița-Năsăud, Botoșani, Brăila, Buzău, Constanța, Dâmbovița, Dolj , Gorj, Hunedoara, Ialomița, Maramureș, Olt, Suceava, Timiș and Tulcea.
“Electronic monitoring targets two categories of people: the monitored person and the protected person. The supervised person is the one who has the obligation to wear an electronic surveillance device, and the protected person is the beneficiary of a provisional protection order (or not) or a European protection order,” added Georgiana Sas.
Electronic surveillance devices are of two types: mobile and fixed. The mobile devices are mounted on the ankle of the person being monitored. By exception, it can also be mounted on the person’s arm when mounting on the ankle is not physically possible or is medically contraindicated. The fixed devices are installed in the building where the measure of house arrest is carried out or in the building that the supervised person is not allowed to approach. At the same time, when there is a protection order, the protected person is provided with an electronic surveillance device, designed to generate alerts regarding the proximity of the mobile electronic surveillance device carried by the supervised person below the predetermined distance. Although the law does not clearly state what kind of device will be made available to the protected person, it can be deduced that it is a mobile device, as it must constantly monitor whether the supervised person respects the minimum distance from the protected person, and not only when the latter is located in a certain building. If the supervised person violates the imposed measures, an alert will be triggered in SIME, and, because it is compatible with SNUAU, the public order bodies are notified and will have to immediately verify compliance with the surveillance measure.