President Klaus Iohannis has asked for the resignation of Justice Minister Tudorel Toader, following the opinion of the Venice Commission on Friday, which shows that the amendments of the Criminal Codes and the Laws of Justice in Romania weaken the fight against corruption and other serious crimes.
“President Klaus Iohannis firmly condemns the irresponsible behaviour of the Minister of Justice who, under the pretext of implementing the recommendations of the Venice Commission in the Emergency Ordinance 92/2018, has included provisions that have no connection with them, or are even contrary, which could increase the concern of the European partners.
The President of Romania mentions that this is a new episode of a long series of controversial decisions made by this minister during his term. In this way, the Justice Minister has definitively compromised his credibility, a good reason for his resignation,” a statement from the Presidential Administration reads.
In an Opinion adopted on Friday, the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission expresses concern that many draft amendments to the Criminal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code in Romania seriously weaken the effectiveness of its criminal justice system to fight corruption offences, violent crimes and organised criminality. The Venice Commission recommends that the Romanian authorities conduct an overall re-assessment of the amendments in both codes through a comprehensive and effective consultation process in order to come up with a solid and coherent legislative proposal.
Another Venice Commission opinion holds the temporary solution on the magistrates’ retirement issue by delaying the moment when that provision should come into force. The recommendation is to repeal that provision.
Latest news: Political sources told local media that the Romanian President intends to call the political parties for consultations on the justice laws after the Venice Commission’s opinion. The consultations are envisaged next week.
Tudorel Toader: It is unacceptable to request my resignation for issues not promoted by me
Justice Minister, Tudorel Toader, says President Iohannis cannot request his resignation for draft bills which were not initiated, elaborated o promoted by him.
“In a normal world, it is unacceptable that the President of the Republic to expect the Justice Minister’s resignation for draft bills which were not initiated, elaborated or promoted by the Justice Ministry – I mean the amendments to the Criminal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code. It is valid what I said yesterday, it is preferably to get documented and then talk!” Toader wrote on his Facebook page.
“The President of Romania, Mr. Klaus Iohannis, considers that the very serious aspects expressed by the Venice Commission regarding the amendments to the laws of justice and to the criminal codes are an unequivocal signal which the current governance and parliamentary majority must consider in order not to push Romania in a direction incompatible with the values of the European Union.
The two opinions of this European forum are extremely critical and confirm, as expected, all the irregularities noticed for more than a year by the President of Romania, the parliamentary opposition, the civil society, the Superior Council of Magistracy, by judges and prosecutors.
Threatening the independence of prosecutors and judges, harming the confidence in the judiciary, the negative impact on the effectiveness of criminal justice in combating various crimes, including corruption offenses, those committed through violence or organized crime, are essential issues the Venice Commission has drawn attention in its analysis.
President Klaus Iohannis points out that the Venice Commission finds in its conclusions that the amendments to the laws of justice and criminal law are upsetting the entire judiciary and generating negative effects, and a number of newly introduced provisions will have direct consequences on criminal proceedings and files in which politicians are involved.
The President of Romania considers as unacceptable that all legislation in this area essential to any authentic democracy is dramatically altered, only to protect some political leaders who have problems with justice.
In regard to the amendments to the criminal legislation, many of the aspects addressed by the Venice Commission were also highlighted in the objection of unconstitutionality raised by President Klaus Iohannis. The unjustified speed of adoption, the lack of real consultation and lack of transparency are elements that negatively affect the quality of legislation and lead to uncertainty. Moreover, some amendments ignore the international conventions Romania is part to or far exceed some of the Constitutional Court’s rulings.
The President of Romania considers that the PSD-ALDE coalition irremediable damage the rule of law and the citizen’s confidence that no one is above the law, regardless of the position, but also all the efforts of an entire nation for which European fundamental values are incontestable – in order to favour those who have problems with the law.
President Klaus Iohannis firmly condemns the irresponsible behavior of the Justice Minister who, under the pretext of implementing the Venice Commission’s recommendations in the Emergency Ordinance 92/2018, has included provisions that have no connection with them or are even contrary, which could increase the concern of European partners.
The President of Romania mentions that this is a new episode in a long series of controversial decisions made by this minister during his term. In this way, the Justice Minister has definitely discredited his credibility, a good reason to resign from office.
President Klaus Iohannis requests the Parliament of Romania to take into account the views expressed in the Venice Commission report and to reassess the changes made to the laws of justice as well as to the Criminal Code and Criminal Procedure Code as quickly as possible in order to stop the negative impact on the judiciary and the rule of law.
The President of Romania considers that the overall reassessment of the amendments in question will have to be achieved through an ample and real consultation process, so as to result in improved legislation, which will benefit from a broad support from the Romanian society and, at the same time, to guarantee respect for the rule of law and for all international standards in the field.”