Update: CCR releases reasoning of ruling urging Kovesi’s dismissal

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The Constitutional Court of Romania (CCR) has published on its website the reasoning of the ruling on a constitutional conflict between the Justice Ministry and the Presidency over dismissing the anti-corruption chief prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi. The ruling also said that President Iohannis must sign the decree to recall Kovesi from office. The reasoning is encompassed in a 133-page document and was published by the Official Journal Thursday evening.

One of the conditions to achieve the fundamental goals of the Romanian state is also represented by the good functioning of the public authorities, with observing the principles of the separation and balance of the powers, without institutional deadlocks. At the same time, article 146, line e of the Constitution does not give the CCR only the role to acknowledge the constitutional legal conflicts, but also to solve these conflicts,” reads the Court’s reasoning.

The constitutional judges thus explained why they had also announced what actions were to be taken to end this conflict, namely asking the head of state to recall the chief prosecutor of the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA).

Therefore, regardless of the authority that generated the legal constitutional conflict, it has the obligation, within the coordinates of the rule of law, to observe and comply with the Constitutional Court’s ruling. In this case, the Court points out that, the note through which Romania’s President has denied to OK the proposal to recall the DNA chief prosecutor, Laura Codruta Kovesi, undoubtedly proves that the conditions regarding the legality and the regularity of the procedure are met. As a result, Romania’s President is to issue the decree to recall Mrs. Laura Codruta Kovesi from office,” further reads the reasoning.

The CCR also says that the head of state has taken duties that he doesn’t have when rejecting the proposal to dismiss Kovesi, thus blocking the Justice Minister’s authority on the activity of the prosecutors.

The Court argues that as long as Klaus Iohannis had no objection regarding the regularity of the recall procedure, it means that the procedure is meeting the legality criteria.

The Constitutional Court of Romania (CCR) ruled a week ago  that there is an institutional conflict between the Government and the Presidency, after the Executive had notified the court over a disagreement prompted by the fact that president Klaus Iohannis denied to dismiss the DNA chief prosecutor, Laura Codruta Kovesi, as the Justice Minister requested.

Today, CCR had ruled by a majority of votes that there is a conflict on this issue, thus favouring the Government.

In the official press release, CCR argues that the head of state is to issue the decree to dismiss the DNA chief prosecutor from office.

According to the constitutional judges, the law 303/2004 says that the Justice Minister is acting within some legal strict restrictions which justify the action of recalling a prosecutor from office. ”According to article 94 of the Constitution, the Romanian President has no discretionary power within the recall procedure, but only the authority of checking the regular basis of the procedure. It results that the prerogative of the Romanian President to recall the prosecutor from the top position is exclusively circumscribed to a regularity check of the procedure. Therefore, the Romanian President has no constitutional authority to give opportunity arguments related to theecalling proposal, which is initiated by the Justice minister, according to the law. Under the current circumstances, Romanian President has refused to issue a decree to recall DNA chief prosecutor from office, on grounds of opportunity, and not on grounds of legality, which has prompted a gridlock on exerting the authority of the Justice minister on the activity of the prosecutors,” reads the Constitutional Court press release.

Before  the CCR ruling, President Iohannis stated that “no matter what the Court rules, I will wait for the motivation, I will read it and act accordingly.”

On the other hand, CCR Chairman, Valeriu Dorneanu, said in a press release issued on Tuesday evening that the CCR decisions should be respected exactly “by all public authorities, all public institutions, all citizens and the society as a whole”.

Justice Minister, Tudorel Toader, said on Tuesday that attacks on the Constitutional Court are inadmissible in a state governed by the rule of law.

“Such attacks on the CCR are absolutely inadmissible in a state governed by the rule of law,” said Minister Tudorel Toader, in the context of the Constitutional Court’s decision to notify European institutions of the attacks against the institution after the decision targeting Laura Codruta Kovesi.

Besides the reasoning of the decision, adopted by majority of votes, the document posted on the CCR website includes a concurrent opinion of the court judges Marian Enache and Simona-Maya Teodoriu and separate opinions signed by Livia Stanciu, Daniel Morar and Mircea Minea.

The President of Romania is to issue the decree on the dismissal of the DNA Chief Prosecutor. The CCR ruling is final and generally binding, CCR has argued.

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