Update: Gov’t adopts GEO despite CSM’s negative opinion

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PM Viorica Dăncilă has announced at the beginning of the Government sitting on Tuesday that the GEO 7 on justice laws had been adopted, despite the Superior Council of Magistracy’s negative opinion.

We are adopting today the solutions agreed with the CSM and the representatives of the professional associations in the judiciary system last week. The new provisions reflect the magistrates’ proposals on the principle of separation of the judges and prosecutors’ careers, on the prosecutors’ assignment depending on the top position and on the advancement in the managerial positions of the prosecutor’s offices for which the appointment is made by the Romanian President upon the proposal of the Justice minister. At the same time, we are taking action for the proper waging of the specialists working in the judiciary system,” said the prime minister.

After the Gov’t sitting, Justice minister Tudorel Toader announced that the recently adopted GEO contains five amendments, among whom there is the one regarding the assignments for the managerial positions of the prosecutor’s offices. Therefore, the provision allowing judges to also run for the top positions of the prosecutor’s offices has been repealed.

The paragraph that banned assignments for the top positions in the prosecutor’s office for the proposals submitted by the President has been also repealed. The reason for which magistrates could lose their statute, namely the good reputation has been removed. The fourth amendment says that IT experts from the judiciary system will have the same wage and the fifth will adjust the distinction between the DNA and DIICOT experts and the ones from the Special section for investigating magistrates.
However, the most controversial provision of the ordinance, the one in the special section for investigating forces, remained in force.

Earlier on Tuesday morning, the plenary sitting of the Superior Council of Magistracy (CSM) had given negative opinion to the government emergency ordinance-GEO 7- amending justice laws. Previously Romania’s Prosecutor General, Augustin Lazar, said the GEO must get negative opinion and be completely repealed, as it is unconstitutional.

GEO 7 must be repealed as a whole as it is suspect of not being constitutional, according to the Public Ministry’s analysis,” Lazar told Hotnews.ro.

It should get a negative opinion,” PG said before the CSM sitting. „It would be the fourth emergency ordinance that would increase even more the incertitude of regulating justice laws. This comes after last year the justice laws gained a certain shape and were clarified in Parliament, now the Government comes with the fourth GEO to adjust the justice laws. Magistrates’ concern is determined by the incertitude of our legal framework. This fourth ordinance is the expression of the lack of any loyal cooperation with the judicial authority,” PG Lazar explained.

GEO 7 has been criticised by prosecutors and judges within CSM, by the magistrates’ associations, who reproached the Government they had not been consulted about the draft ordinance. Magistrates and the civil society have staged street rallies and protest actions countrywide, asking for the ordinance’s repeal.

Polish judges support Romanian magistrates’ protest

IUSTITIA association of magistrates from Poland has announced its support for the protests staged by the Romanian prosecutors and judges against GEO 7. Polish judges argue the protest action „has a legitimate interest”.

IUSTITIA Judge Association from Poland voices its solidarity with the Romanian judges who are opposing amendments of the Romanian judiciary system, which are jeopardizing the judiciary independence”, reads the association’s press release.

The protest of our Romanian colleagues has been organized in a legitimate interest of defending the judiciary legal framework. The latest amendemtns adopted by the authorities represent an imminent threat against the justice independence and against civil rights and liberties. Therefore, the judiciary system in Romania is fully entitled to criticise the amendments threatening the independence of justice”, Polish magistrates concluded.

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