President Klaus Iohannis has urged the Government in a press conference at Cotroceni Presidential Palace on Wednesday to urgently come up with solutions regarding the controversial compensatory appeal that allowed thousands of offenders to get out of prison earlier, with many of them committing new crimes. The head of state argued that Romanians should not be afraid for their safety.
“I have to say very clearly and bluntly: the Romanian citizens’ safety is not negotiable. We must draw conclusions and come up with measures that can allow people at home not to worry and not to fear that an offender will come down upon him at his place (…) They are looking for someone to blame for this law. I tell you clearly: this is not the solution, to look for someone to blame in other government or majorities. I demand the Government to make an assessment as soon as possible and to come up with solutions. These solutions can come from the Government, from the Justice Ministry, the law can enter the legislative procedure in Parliament,” Klaus Iohannis stated.
In a press conference at 5 p.m., Justice minister Tudorel Toader announced he would talk to PM Dancila on Monday on the “legislative and non-legislative” measures that can be adopted after reviewing the law on the compensatory, yet stating that the number of people who benefited of the effects of the law and who have been released from prison earlier and got back behind bars is on the decline if the statistics from 2018 are compared to the ones from 2014.
The minister argues that 11,392 inmates were released on parole in 2014, while 8,859 were out of jail last year, so he concluded that “the number of those returning to prison is declining”.
“In 2014, 3,598 inmates returned behind bars, as against 448 in 2018″, he argued in a short press statement after he met PM Viorica Dancila.
PM Dancila had blamed the Ciolos Cabinet for initiating the compensatory appeal bill, calling it “an uninspired decision”.
Amid the Opposition’s calls for the abrogation of the law, the head of the Executive stated in Strasbourg on Tuesday that she would meet Justice Minister to take a decision in this regard.
“I will meet Justice minister to take a decision, to see what have been the effects of this law so that our decision should reflect the reality in Romania and that things that had happened should not happen anymore,” Dancila said.
On the other side, former PM Dacian Ciolos and former Justice minister Raluca Pruna explained the draft law had been adopted by the Grindeanu Government in January 2017 and later on in May the bill had been fundamentally amended in Parliament by the PSD-ALDE coalition.
Raluca Pruna argues that bill initiated by Ciolos’ technocrat cabinet had been amended so that the release conditions had become much more flexible. The former minister argues that in the initial form of the law, about 1,700 inmates would have been released from jail, while now over 11,000 are benefit of the pre-term release.
The compensatory appeal law was voted on May 9, 2017 by the Chamber of Deputies by 175 votes (from PSD, ALDE and UDMR) to 85 against (PNL and USR). The form the law ended up in Parliament was substantially amended by the incumbent ruling coalition.
Tens of crimes (robberies, rapes, assaults) have been committed by the recidivists released from prison earlier based on the compensatory appeal.
As for the Justice minister Tudorel Toader, asked to comment the USR’s call on the Government to issue an emergency ordinance to abolish the law on the compensatory appeal, he replied that he will review such a request when he gets it, though adding he is not the one to take such a decision. “What, is it the Justice minister’s business to adopt ordinances?” Previously, he said that ‘initiators and those who Okayed this law should take the responsibility of its effects.’