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Five defendants get away with the abuse of office charges

Five defendants get away with the abuse of office charges

Two court rulings in two different cities these days prompted to the discharge of five people accused of abuse of office, on the ground that the offense in their cases is not stipulated in the criminal law anymore. The acquittal sentences are final.

First, the Court of Appeal in Cluj decided to acquit four people in the former management of Electrica Nord Transilvania charged with abuse of office against public interests and complicity to abuse of office, on the ground that the charges in their cases is not stipulated in the criminal law anymore.

Several persons from the managing board of Electrica Transilvania Nord were indicted in 2009 by DNA Cluj for corruption offenses, being accused that during 2002-2004 they bought counterfeit electronic products without public sale. Three people were sentenced to three years in prison each in 2015 and another person was sentenced to five years in prison.

On the same day, a court on Alba Iulia prevented a former employee of the Hunedoara County Council to get a sentence of three years on probation for the same charge: abuse of office.

The two cases are considered as unprecedented in the Romanian judiciary.

The defendants’ lawyers invoked the Constitutional Court’s decision on abuse of office ruled last summer.

The Constitutional Court argued in the motivation that the sentence “carrying out viciously” in the abuse of office charge cannot be interpreted but “through law breaking”, and the law means “the documents adopted by the Parliament and the Government (simple or emergency ordinances)”.

The constitutional judges claim that the “vicious” term entailed in the article incriminating the abuse of office in the Criminal Code “cannot be considered a proper term to use in the criminal law” and moreover that “it is not defined in the Criminal Code and is either lacking clarity and predictability”.

“This lack of clarity, precision and predictability of the <viciously carrying out> sentence prompts to interpretations,” the CCR argues.

The Constitutional Court partially admitted the constitutional challenges on abuse of office on June 15, the judges recommending the “viciously” term to be replaced by “through law breaking”.

About Alina Grigoras Butu