CSM report on the vulnerabilities of the Romanian prosecutor’s offices reveals more acquittals and politicians’ attacks

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The lack of legislative predictability and the repeated attacks of the politicians are revealed among the main vulnerabilities in the latest 2018 report by the Superior Council of Magistracy (CSM). The report also says that, as against 2017, prosecutors had pronounced more acquittals and had more files sent back to courts in 2018.

The report points that last year prosecutor’s offices faced instability and lack of legislative predictability  last year, as well as acute under-finance, the lack of proper offices to carry out their activity and above all, increased attacks launched by politicians and mass media against magistrates. The CSM also argued that prosecutors lacked efficient tools to voice their opinions on the need of adopting, amending or repealing some legal provisions regarding the judiciary system.

The report also mentions several measures to rectify these vulnerabilities, such as adoption of stable, coherent and predictable laws, adapting the budget to the needs of the prosecutor’s office, allotment of funds to buy new headquarters and to undergo rehabilitation works on the existing offices, increase of the independence of the judiciary through the Superior Council of Magistracy.

There were 1,290 acquittals across the prosecutor’s offices countrywide last year, more than in 2017, when there were 1,036 acquittals, which means a 24.5% increase. Among those acquitted, 63 were put on preventive arrest.

„The number of defendants sent to court in 2018 was 58,737 (as against 59,839 in 2017), meaning a decrease by 1.8%. The number of defendants placed on preventive arrest stood at 5,900 (down by 3.2% compared to 6,092 in 2017). Only 10 per cent of the total defendants were sent to court. There were 203 defendants who were not indicted anymore (compared to 165 in 2017”, reads the CSM report.

Criminal prosecution was dropped in the case of 30,657 defendants, while 236 files were sent back to courts to remake the criminal prosecution in 2018, compared to 215 cases sent back in 2017, which means a 9.8% rise.

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