JusMin Ana Birchal has announced on Tuesday that the inter-ministerial working group coordinated by the Justice Ministry has reached the preliminary conclusion that the existence of the Special Section for Investigating Magistrates is not justified anymore, at least in the existing form.
Ruling Social Democrat Party (PSD) has dismissed Ana Birchall from the minister position, but, in the absence of President Iohannis’ approval for the successor proposed by PM Dancila, namely Dana Girbovan, Birchall remains in office.
Ana Birchall has endorsed since she had taken office the abolition of the section set up by the ruling coalition this year to investigate alleged abuses committed by magistrates.
Birchall argued that the inter-ministerial working group had gathered the opinions of all judiciary institutions on this topic, from the professional associations and it had also included the recommendations voiced by GRECO , CVM and Venice Commission.
Following these discussions, Birchall revealed that the preliminary conclusion is that the special section for investigating magistrates cannot function anymore in this form.
The minister also announced she had technical discussions in Brussels regarding the upcoming Cooperation and Verification Mechanism report.
“I inform you as a first that I had technical discussions in Brussels, so, I also announce you as a first that this report will be concluded in maximum two weeks and, according to preliminary conclusions, there are two pretty interesting conclusions and none of them is endorsing the activity of this institution in this form anymore,” Birchall stated.
The minister will make the report public in maximum two weeks.
Ana Birchall announced in mid-July this year that she had asked for the opinions of prosecutors and judges sections within the Superior Council of Magistracy (CSM), but also of the magistrates associations regarding the GRECO reports on Romania released on July 9.
One of those reports asked for the abolition of the special section for investigating magistrates, while the other GRECO document warned public perceptions of low levels of corruption in certain countries, including Romania, may lead to underestimating the need for measures to combat corrupt practices.
A day later, on July 10, President Iohannis asked the Government to come up with a draft law to amend “the anomaly” represented by the special section for investigating magistrates.
PSD hardliners want Birchall ousted from the party
Birchall’s statements against the special section for investigating magistrates has been slammed by several PSD members who are part of Dragnea’s group.
SocDem deputy Catalin Radulescu has revealed that several party members, such as Lia Olguța Vasilescu, Florin Iordache, had been discontent with Birchall’s statements. “Most probably, the Executive Committee meeting (due this evening) will ask for Ana Birchall’s dismissal from the minister office and even her ousting from the party”, Radulescu said.
He argued that Birchall is delegitimising the authority of the PSD chairwoman, Viorica Dancila, as her statements are not politically validated by PSD and “are affecting the mobilizing path of the PSD members in the wake of the upcoming electoral campaign for the presidential election“.