PM Ponta denounces President Basescu to EC, diplomatic corps in Bucharest over Justice interference

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PM Victor Ponta sent a letter to the U.S. diplomatic corps, the European Commission as well as to all European Union member states on Friday, accusing President Traian Basescu of serious attack on Romanian justice’ s independence and asking the foreign diplomats to convey “a public message to support the independence of the Superior Council of Magistracy (CSM) and of justice on a general basis”. “Justice must be independent, politicians should protect justice when it does its stuff, and the part of our U.S. and EU partners is to precisely support an independent and efficient justice system. And politicians must be sanctioned when they make a mistake. I used to make mistakes as well and I have been noticed. Yesterday it was the President’s turn to make a mistake and he was wrong when he attacked magistrates and I think he will be admonished”, Ponta said. “I address this letter to you to underline how serious President Basescu’s Thursday attack to justice was, but also to appeal to you to publicly step in and support CSM, which was directly targeted by the head of state’s official statements”, reads the beginning of the premier’s letter. Ponta also said President Basescu threatened a CSM members through his statements, using “denigrating words” and highly criticizing magistrates’ activity.

After CSM vice-president Horatius Dumbrava accused Traian Basescu interfered with an ongoing investigation regarding Microsoft licenses case, but also PM Ponta over Lukoil’ s row, the head of state called the statement an abuse against the Romania’s President, maintaining the information he gave on this case did not come from the anti-corruption prosecutors’ file.

U.S. Embassy in Bucharest was first to react on the same day, saying the officials’ comments about ongoing judicial investigations are inappropriate. “The U.S. Embassy took note of CSM press release regarding Lukoil case and political statements regarding magistrates’ activity. The officials’ comments on ongoing investigations are inappropriate and lead to an apparent interference, intentionally or not. Justice’ s independence, free of any external actor’s influence, is vital for democracy,” reads the U.S. press statement.

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