Public consultations on abuse of office threshold on June 28, July 3. CCR: Legal provisions in force are loose and elusive

Justice Ministry announced two public debates, on June 28 and July 3, to debate the amendments on abuse of office in the Criminal Code in order to harmonize them with the Constitutional Court’s decisions.

The first debate is scheduled on June 28 at 10 a.m. with the representatives of the civil society and of the business environment.

The second debate is due on July 3 at 10 a.m. with the judiciary institutions, the professional associations of the magistrates, the academic environment and the liberal judicial professions.

The two debates will take place at the Justice Ministry’s HQs. Registrations at dezbaterecod@just.ro.

Romania’s Constitutional Court said on Thursday the legal provisions in force on the abuse of office “are loosely and elusively drawn”, according to the motivation of the ruling in Dragnea’s ex wife’s case.

CCR has rejected two weeks ago the objection of unconstitutionality raised by Bombonica Prodana, former wife of PSD leader Liviu Dragnea, regarding the lack of a threshold for damages regarding the abuse of office, stating that it is not its duty to decide, recommending Parliament to set such a threshold.

The legal provisions in force are loosely and elusively drawn, which determines a high risk of unpredictability and is questionable on article 7 of the Convention for defending human rights and fundamental freedoms. The draft allows interpretations and arbitrary and random implementations,” reads the CCR motivation.

The constitutional judges argue that such an omission is constitutionally relevant, as it is affecting the criminally charged people’s fundamental rights and freedom.

Under these circumstances, CCR considers that a threshold for the damage is needed, and depending on this threshold judges will decide if the person has committed a crime or not.

The Constitutional Court also argues that it has no authority to remedy this legal flaw, as it would mix up in the exclusive authority of the law giver and thus would exceed its legal responsibilities.

Justice Minister Tudorel Toader stated two weeks ago after the CCR ruling that he would propose a threshold on damages for abuse of office. “The content of the abuse of office crime is to be reconfigured by establishing a threshold on damages”, he said.

On Thursday, resigning Justice minister Toader stated that he would settle the graphic of the public debates on the abuse of office, yet refusing to talk about a threshold for the prejudice, only saying that nothing is ruled out or preset.

I decide today the graphic of public debates on the way to enforce the CCR decision on the abuse of office,” said Tudorel Toader.

Asked whom he will talk to on this topic, the minister answered: “with the civil society, with the law experts, with any citizen who is interested in attending these debates in order to find out that reasonable threshold to discriminate between contravention and crime”.

Questioned what “reasonable” means, Toader said that “reasonable thresholds can be various”.

I have to threshold to take out from my pocket. We don’t rule out anything, nothing is preset,” he said.

The Supreme Court decided on March 28 to notify the Constitutional Court on the abuse of office charges in Liviu Dragnea’s file. Dragnea’s former wife filed the appeal. Bombonica Prodana and her former husband Liviu Dragnea, PSD chairman, are investigated for abuse of office in a case targeting fictitious hiring at the Social Assistance Direction in Teleorman County. Dragnea is accused of arranging that some members of the Teleorman PSD branch should be hired at the county Social Assistance Direction, without actually working there.

Dragnea’s former wife, Bombonica Prodana, invoked a constitutional challenge related to the lack of a prejudice limit for the charge of abuse of office. Her lawyer argued in court that the prejudice in his client’s case is less than EUR 50,000 and would not fall under criminal incidence. Based on that, the lawyers of all defendants in this case, including Dragnea’s, requested the notification of the Constitutional Court.

abuse of officebombonica prodanaconstitutional courtcontraventioncrimeex-wifeJustice ministerLiviu DragneathresholdTudorel Toader
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