DIICOT Head resigns two days after President Iohannis had asked him to

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The chief prosecutor of the Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT) Felix Bănilă has resigned today, after talks with the Justice minister and with the Romanian Prosecutor General.

His step back comes two days after President Iohannis had asked him to resign. Banila argued that he had not resigned because he had not achieved his tasks, but because he wanted his colleagues to work “in a climate lacking any pressure”.

The head of state Klaus considered that the investigation conducted by DIICOT in the Caracal case is generating major red flags.

“Although I am convinced I haven’t failed to carry out my duties as DIICOT chief prosecutor, and the Caracal case is not exceeding my level of knowledge and of my colleagues’ ability to solve it, following talks with the Prosecutor General, with the Justice Minister and with members of the Prosecutor Section within the Superior Council of Magistracy, but also, based on my own reasoning, I decided to file my honourable resignation from the position of DIICOT chief prosecutor,” Felix Banila announced in a press release.

“I consider that my resignation is absolutely necessary at this point to enable my colleagues to pursue their activity in a climate lacking any pressure. As I said it before, DIICOT’s activity is not limited only to the Caracal case and if this is the price that I have to pay for the directorate to continue its activity, although I consider it as an unfair price, I accept to step down (…),” the DIICOT resigning chief said.

President Iohannis’ discontent over the DIICOT leadership’s way of action in the recent crime cases, the one from Caracal and the latest murder case of a 11yo girl in Dambovita, has been also shared by Justice Minister Ana Birchall who had several talks with Felix Banila in the past months.

“I have voiced my discontent regarding several aspects, first of all that I have been demanding firm actions to counter criminality, human trafficking, exploitation of girls and woman, the cybercrimes for more than 2 months. (…) I have also asked  or measures including to fight criminal gangs. I won’t hide I expressed my deep discontent, including on Tuesday I had a discussion for I consider unacceptable the way of action at the house of Melencu family on Friday”, Birchall argued.

Monica Melencu, the mother of Luiza Melencu, the 18yo girl reported missing from April this year and who has been allegedly killed by Gheorghe Dinca, has claimed she had been forced and threatened to provide the DNA tests to the prosecutors, after she initially refused to give them.

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