Iordache committee in Parliament passes GEO 92 on justice laws

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The emergency ordinance no 92 revising the justice laws has been adopted by the Iordache committee with new amendments on Monday. Born out of the request to harmonize the justice legislation in Romania with the Venice Commission recommendations, the ordinance yet still contains controversial provisions.

The amended ordinance has passed by 12 votes to 3 and no abstention.

One of the amendments operated by the Iordache committee refers to the abrogation of the article on the continuation of the deployments of the prosecutors and judges during the period that Romania holds the rotating Presidency of the EU Council.

The committee has also repealed the article by the votes of all parliamentary groups, in order to observe the Constitutional Court ruling no 45/2018.

A month ago, Prosecutor General, Augustin Lazar sent  to the Ombudsman, the request to refer the Emergency Ordinance on the laws of justice to the Constitutional Court. The request is reasoned by the unconstitutionality of article VII of the ordinance. Meanwhile, Ombudsman Victor Ciorbea had left on vacation, refusing to give clear information about the delegation of authority to the deputies.

Most of the amendments through the GEO 92 have been operated on the law 303 regulating the activity of the Prosecutor’s Office, of DNA and DIICOT.

The GEO includes such new provisions as the assignment of the prosecutors or that the Justice minister is allowed to notify the Judiciary Inspectorate.

The seniority for the magistrates increases, for those aspiring for the positions of Prosecutor General and for the top positions of DNA and DIICOT, the minimum seniority is 15 years. So, it increased from 8 to 15 years,” JusMin said.

At the same time, if one wants to be a prosecutor within DNA or DIICOT he or she has to have a ten-year seniority. The provision is controversial, as many of the current anti-corruption or anti-organized crime prosecutors don’t have such a seniority and it could affect ongoing files.

Another amendment refers to the appointment of the high ranking officials. Thus, the ordinance introduces interviews broadcast live for the chief prosecutors, which will be archived and anyone can see them.

As for the assignments of the prosecutors, the novelty is that the Prosecutor General will not be the one to decide the assignments, but the Prosecutor Department within the Superior Council of Magistracy.

The emergency ordinance also refers to the delay of the magistrates’ early retirement. If the initial version of the GEO proposed the delay until December 31, 2022, the form adopted by the Executive today hold the delay only by the end of 2019.

Another amendments relates to the appeals that will be judged by a three-judge panel, but this provision will be also enforced as of 2020, as there is already a deficit of judges in the system.

The European Commission said after the GEO has been adopted by the Government that it is closely following, with concern, the changes made to the Romanian justice laws and will analyze them all very carefully.

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