Special committee debating the justice laws tightens up rules on magistrates-intelligence services relation. PNL boycotted the sitting

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The special parliamentary committee led by SocDem Florin Iordache, set up to reconcile the criminal codes to the Constitutional Court’s rulings, has passed on Wednesday several amendments to the magistrates’ statute, deciding that protocols signed by the Supreme Defence Council (CSAT) and the intelligence services regarding the justice are considered public information. The committee also decided that magistrates are banned to defame other state institutions.

The amendment referring to the CSAT and intelligence services’ protocols had been filed by the National Union of the Judges, but it has been taken over by the PSD-ALDE coalition and endorsed by UDMR and the minorities group.

MPs in the committee have also passed an amendment saying that judges, prosecutors, magistrates and the staff in courts and prosecutor’s offices cannot be operative or undercover agents of any intelligence service.

Another amendment says that magistrates will have to give a solemn hand-signed statement to show they weren’t or are not operative or undercover agents, informers or collaborators of any intelligence service. The statements are to be filed and archived at the human resources department.

The MPs also established that CSAT and the parliamentary committees for the control of the intelligence services should check the truthfulness of these statements on an annual basis, by default or anytime it is requested by the Justice Ministry, by the Superior Council of Magistracy or by the judge/prosecutor himself.

At the same time, the intelligence services are banned to recruit magistrates to be their operative or undercover agents. “Breaking this interdiction is considered a crime against the justice independence and is punished by prison from five to ten years,” the special committee decided.

PNL boycott the committee’s sitting, to notify CCR

Liberal lawmakers have decided on Wednesday to leave the meeting room of the special committee where the justice laws were debated, in protest against the “unfair” way the debates are conducted and arguing that the opposition is not allowed to voice its opinion.

The leader of the PNL group in the Chamber of Deputies Raluca Turcan argued that PSD and ALDE leaders had vetoed the PNL’s request to wait for the Venice Commission’s consent on the justice laws.

“Liviu Dragnea and Calin Popescu Tariceanu have unjustly denied the PNL’s request to wait for the Venice Commission’s note on the justice laws. PSD, through his leader and ALDE, through Calin Popescu Tariceanu, are uncompromisingly refusing that these important laws for the judiciary system to be debated in a wide framework,” Turcan said.

She argued that the PSD-ALDE denial represents a new proof that the Parliament’s role and the European Commission are defied.

Turcan added that Dragnea is preoccupied with his corruption files and he is interested in immediately drafting and voting the justice laws in Parliament “without the consents or impact studies”.

The Liberal leader also accused Justice minister Tudorel Toader that he behaves like “a simple ambassador of his party chief” and that he adopts a double language before the European Commission on the issue of the Venice Commission’s advice.

On the other hand, PNL chairman Ludovic Orban announced that his party would challenge to the Constitutional Court of Romania (CCR) the Parliament’s resolution that amended the regulations of the special committee on the justice laws.

“Today, the joint standing bureaus have vetoed our request for the debates to be postponed until we have the Venice Commission’s stance, as it is also noted in the CVM report and as the European officials have stated. We’ll address the Venice Commission to ask from its point of view and maybe to send a mission to Romania, if possible. At the same time, we’ll notify the CCR over the Parliament’s resolution that amended the regulation of this special committee, which was turned into a firing squad against the justice independence,” Orban said in Parliament on Wednesday.


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