The Superior Council of Magistracy decided to notify the Judicial Inspection to probe into Romanian PM Victor Ponta’s statements regarding the judiciary made during a TV show Monday night. CSM fears the premier’s assertions might affect the independence of justice.
PM Ponta was invited at Romania TV on Monday night. Questioned on Liviu Dragnea’s sentence in the referendum file, the prime minister said he is not allowed to talk about judiciary. Yet, he ironically commented after that there is one power at present, “and the rest of us, Government, Parliament, Presidency, we are doing our best.” Ponta went on saying: “Did you see what the two judges from the Court of Appeal got for acquitting Mrs. Rarinca (the woman who allegedly blackmailed the Supreme Court’s president Livia Stanciu)? They forged them transcripts (…) You can imagine the judges who ruled in Dragnea’s case, if somehow they acquitted him, I guess they have already been arrested by now. They gave only a sentence of one year with suspension, as it was not only us in the impeachment action, but also the National Liberal Party,” PM Ponta stated.
He also tackled Dan Sova’s case (the social democrat senator investigated for corruption, in whose case the Senate denied the immunity lifting procedure that would allow his prosecution and pre-trial detention). “It’s about one thing here, a man, named Sova, who asks to be judged. Nobody can understand why the prosecutors want him arrested. They could prosecute Sova this evening, but they don’t want that, they want to break china,” PM Ponta said.
Following his statements, a CSM member, judge Alexandru Serban asked for the Judicial Inspection’s notification. After CSM adopted the judge’s opinion and officially notified the inspection, PM Ponta made one more comment this time on Facebook: “Judge Serban from CSM is upset and reclaims me for commenting the ruling in Dragnea case! Mr. judge, your colleague in CSM Danilet repeatedly commented on Mariana Rarinca’s case on TV! Obviously, you acted the goat! So, to understand better – who is your friend and colleague (meaning acting inside the “system”) is allowed to do that, the others of us aren’t.”
Justice minister Robert Cazanciuc also retorted in this row, suggesting politicians to be more reticent when talking about justice. “There have been a lot of public statements about judiciary lately. Analysts, magistrates, politicians, everybody is talking about justice. This definitely won’t always help the dialogue among institutions. I have constantly appealed especially to politicians to be reticent when they are talking about judiciary. On the other hand, it’s very difficult to ask for this discretion when, for instance, a CSM member is slamming the other state powers- the Parliament, the Government- by saying they are issuing too many emergency ordinances,” Cazancius replied.