US Department of State sends tough warning: Proposals affect the independence of the judiciary

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“The United States notes with concern that the Parliament of Romania is considering legislation that could undermine the fight against corruption and weaken judicial independence in Romania. This legislation, which was originally proposed by the Ministry of Justice, threatens the progress Romania has made in recent years to build strong judicial institutions shielded from political interference. We urge the Parliament of Romania to reject proposals that weaken the rule of law and endanger the fight against corruption,” a US Department of State release, posted on the official website, reads.

It is part of the press statement titled ‘Romania – proposals affecting the independence of the judiciary’ filed by the US State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert.

The message comes hours after the warning from US Ambassador Hans Klemm who said, in an interview for ‘Express de Banat’ that the US is watching closely the amendments the Parliament brings to the laws of justice. The most serious concerns were related to the initial form of the package law made by the ministry of justice, the US envoy said.

“The initial package initiated by the minister of justice – we are watching very carefully to see how the parliament modifies if, what comes out of the discussions. We have serious concerns, at least about the initial proposals made by the ministry of justice. The reason behind our concern is that, in our view, in the past 15 or so years, Romania has mounted increasingly fight against high and mid-level corruption. It has created judicial independence, has created special units to focus on discovering crimes and corruption. We are talking specifically about DNA. When we look at the region, in our estimation, Romania is doing the most credible fight against corruption. Much more can be done in terms in prevention and education, but in terms of prosecuting those who were stealing from the state, Romania is unparalleled in the world. (…) Our concern with the initial package, which represented a rolling back of the traditional independence, of the strength of the prosecutorial effort against corruption, we are watching very carefully to see what emerges,” the US Ambassador said.

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