PM Dăncilă invites magistrates to talks. The Judges’ Forum and the Prosecutors’ Association: Independence of justice is not negotiable

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Prime Minister Viorica Dăncilă has invited the representatives of magistrates’ associations and of the Superior Council of Magistracy (CSM) to talks about the amendments to the laws of justice on Monday at 15.30h. The announcement was made by the Government in the context in which the magistrates protested in an unprecedented gesture on Friday against the emergency ordinance to amend these laws.

“Given the opinions expressed in the public space by various professional associations in the legal environment, Premier Viorica Dăncilă invites, on Monday, February 25, 2019, at 15.30h at the Victoria Palace, a representative from each magistrates’ associations, as well as representatives of the CSM, for discussions on the legislation in the field of justice. At the same time, Premier Viorica Dăncilă assures the magistrates’ associations of the Government’s full willingness to support all institutions in the judiciary in carrying out a fair act of justice, by respecting the fundamental rights of the citizens.”

The Government’s announcement comes after Prime Minister Viorica Dăncilă has returned from the European Socialists Congress that took place in Madrid this weekend and where leader Frans Timmermans, who is also the First Vice-president of the European Commission, has sent a tough warning to PSD and had talks with leader Liviu Dragnea. Timmermans said that there can be no compromise in respect of fundamental values ​​and the rule of law.

Magistrates decline

The Judges’ Forum Association, the Movement for the Defence of Prosecutors’ Statute and the Initiative for Justice Association request the Romanian Government to immediately and completely repeal GEO no.7/2019, underlining that the independence of justice cannot be negotiated and the dialogue regarding the adoption of the emergency ordinance should have been initiated priongosr to its issuance, not post factum.

According to the NGOs, the only solution currently lies with the legislator (be it delegate) is the immediate and full repeal of the GEO no.7/2019.

They recall that the Romanian Government and the Romanian Parliament “have constantly refused to consider the constitutional arguments and solutions that would respect the international conventions to which Romania adhered” and “the adoption of some amendments to the legislation regarding the judicial organization, by Government Emergency Ordinances, without respecting the minimum rigor of decisional transparency and without real and effective consultation of the magistrates’ body is contrary to the international commitments of the Romanian state.”

The Government of Romania, the three NGOs say, had to “give a minimum proof of compliance with the recommendations of the European Commission’s report released in November 2018, of the conclusions of the Venice Commission in October 2018 and of the GRECO conclusions and the recommendations in March 2018, the implementation of which was possible in the course of legislative interventions that brought about changes to the laws of justice.”

“It is necessary that the legislative power and the executive power immediately repeal the provisions regarding the establishment of the Special Section for investigating the offenses committed by magistrates with an exclusive competence that no longer exists in the case of any socio-professional category. (…) We also ask the Romanian Government to immediately repeal GEO no.77/2018 as well as the provisions regarding the reorganization of the Judicial Inspection, which unjustifiably reinforce the duties of the chief inspector,” the communiqué of the three NGOs reads.

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