The President of the High Court of Cassation and Justice (ICCJ – Supreme Court), Judge Cristina Tarcea, explained that the interception notices issued by the Court had legal basis, despite the contrary opinions, the magistrate stressing that she has already requested an opinion on the declassification of the protocol both from the Prosecutor General’s Office and to the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI).
“I have asked for a declassification opinion from the Prosecutor General’s Office and the SRI. It cannot be declassified without these opinions. I do not know what is the story before being concluded, but I have learned relatively recently about its existence, and I have tried to find a logical argument to justify it. It is a misinterpretation that the Court’s interceptions approvals did not have a legal basis. The legal basis was the ECHR decision, which is part of the domestic law and which prohibits opinions handed by prosecutors, as it was provided by Law 51. The issue was that, in the absence of an internal norm, there is no procedure. But I repeat, that is my interpretation, my belief,” said the ICCJ president.
Regarding the information that the ICCJ reportedly has two protocols signed with SRI, the judge said: “It is not true, it is only one, concluded between the ICCJ, the Prosecutor General’s Office and the SRI, signed in 2009. We haven’t found a second one, is not archived at the Court.”
Cristina Tarcea specified that the document was most likely concluded after a decision of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in 2007 regarding the violation of the right to private life after conducting national security interceptions by the prosecutors.
“The ECHR decision was issued in 2007, following the ECHR decision that is mandatory in the domestic law, it would have been normal to adopt a law amending Law 51/1991 providing for the procedure to be followed and the judicial competences of a court. I believe this is the reason why that protocol was concluded in 2009, because after the ECHR decision there was no legal framework to guide the courts on the authorization to register, not by the prosecutor’s office. (…) It is no longer valid since February 1, 2014, because by the Law 255/2013, which came into force with the new criminal code, the procedure is regulated by law in terms of granting the interception authorisation by the ICCJ in the case of national security crimes, Cristina Tarcea told Antena 3 TV.
Another protocol was made public on Sunday evening by Antena 3 TV, a collaboration agreement between the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the Prosecutor’s Office upon the High Court of Cassation and Justice (PICCJ). According to the source, the document was signed in 2011 by the head of the Army’s General Intelligence Directorate and by the PICCJ first deputy prosecutor.
According to the document, the protocol was reportedly approved by the Romanian Prosecutor General at the time, Laura Codruta Kovesi, and the then Defence Minister, Gabriel Oprea, the date of sealing the deal being April 4, 2011.
The plenary sitting of the Superior Council of Magistracy (CSM) examined in March the answers received from the judiciary institutions regarding the protocols concluded with the intelligence bodies.
The council agreed to send the Supreme Defence Council (CSAT) a request to explain the resolution dated 2005 that underlie the protocols. CSM also asked to see the protocol concluded between SRI and PNA (the former name of the National Anti-corruption Directorate) in 2003, but also a point of view of the Justice Ministry on the SRI-Public Ministry protocol.
CSM was to ask the Prosecutor’s Office upon the High Court of Cassation and Justice if its protocol concluded with SRI in 2009 (which was declassified) has been formally denounced and through which document.