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Opposition has notified CCR over new Criminal Code, Council of Europe calls on Romania to wait for the Venice Commission opinion

Opposition has notified CCR over new Criminal Code, Council of Europe calls on Romania to wait for the Venice Commission opinion

Council of Europe Secretary General calls on Romania to wait for Venice Commission opinion on reform of Criminal Code and Criminal Procedure Code.

The oppositions parties represented in the Romanian Parliament, the National Liberal Party (PNL), Save Romania Union (USR) and People’s Movement Party (PMP), have notified the Constitutional Court of Romania (CCR) on Thursday over the draft law amending the Criminal Code, recently adopted by the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies. The opposition parties say that the draft contains over 30 unconstitutional articles, among which the one referring to the abuse of office and the abrogation of the provision on dereliction of duty.

The appeal filed to the CCR will be registered today, and we hope this Code aiming at protecting offenders will never become law. We ask CCR to send the preliminary questions regarding the rule of law to the EU Court of Justice and to analyse our unconstitutional appeal. The notification has been filed by PNL, USR and PMP. Yesterday was a shameful day,” said Liberal deputy Ioan Cupsa.

He further said there are 30 unconstitutional articles, but they are challenging the bill as a whole as well, arguing the bicameralism principle has been broken when the Criminal Code had been adopted.

In his turn, USR deputy Stelian Ion voiced hope that President Iohannis and the head of the High Court, Cristina Tarcea, will also the Constitutional Court over the Criminal Code amendments.

Council of Europe also sets off alarm bells

Thorbjørn Jagland (photo), the Council of Europe Secretary General has called on Romania on Thursday, in a headline press release posted on the council’s website, to wait for the evaluation report of the Venice Commission before advancing in revising the Criminal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code.

I call upon all parties concerned to wait for the Venice Commissions Opinion, and to take it into account, before any further steps are taken to amend Romania’s Criminal Code and Criminal Procedure Code.

This reform risks contradicting Romania’s international obligations, notably under the Council of Europe Criminal Law Convention on Corruption, as identified by the recent ad hoc report of the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO). As a member State of our Organisation, Romania is duty-bound to uphold the rule of law.

The Council of Europe will continue to pay close attention to the on-going developments in Romania and we stand ready to provide further expertise if needed.”

The Venice Commission’s opinion was requested by the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly in a decision on 28 June. The opinion is due on 19 October. Together with the recommendations of GRECO, this is intended to identify the best possible solution to address the issues raised by the draft amendments, in line with European standards and with Romania’s European commitments,” says the release.

About Alina Grigoras Butu