Magistrates in silent protest against justice law amendments

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About 100 prosecutors and judges have staged a silent protest on the stairs of the Bucharest Court of Appeal in Bucharest on Saturday afternoon, to voice their disagreement against the justice laws which are being amended in Parliament and against the start of the legislative procedure without having the Venice Commission go-ahead.

The protest comes after the prosecutors of the Prosecutor s Office upon the Brasov Court have also asked on Friday the adjournment of any debates on the justice laws (in parliament or at thge Constitutional Court) until the Venice Commission gives its opinion and if GRECO recommendations are observed.

Magistrates have gathered on the stairs of the Bucharest Court of Appeal on Saturday starting 5 p.m., displaying banners reading: ”For an independent justice”, ”The opinion of the Venice Commission”, ”The separations of powers principle”, ”Mandatory compliance with GRECO recommendations”.

The silent protest has been organized by the Judge Forum. The Judge Forum Association in Romania has announced in a press release on Tuesday that it is withdrawing from the sessions of the special parliamentary committee, aka Iordache committee, set up to amend the justice laws, accusing that the committee’s aim doesn’t seem to improve justice laws, but it is rather „am ample process of weakening judiciary”, which is now considered “guilty for the numerous criminal convictions among politicians in the past years.”

As for the prosecutors in Brasov, they also asked on Friday the adjournment of any Constitutional Court decisions or debates of the other actors involved in the legislative process on the justice laws until the Venice Commission gives its opinion about the laws. The Brasov prosecutors also urged that GRECO recommendations should be observed, arguing the international treaties that Romania is part of are mandatory are enforceable as a priority ahead the national legal provisions and thus, the GRECO recommendations are mandatory for the Romanian legislator.

After justice minister Tudorel Toader told the Senate’s plenary sitting  ten days ago that GRECO latest report must be considered ‘as a guide and that it cannot impose any rules to the Romanian legislator.’, the Group of States Against Corruption (GRECO) has replied that the report is not a guide, and that its recommendations are not optional, in any way.

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