DNA chief prosecutor, Laura Codruta Kovesi, said the greatest challenge for Romania is keeping the independence of judges and prosecutors, in a speech delivered at the United Nations in New York.
“There have been repeated attempts to amend the anticorruption legislation in order to limit the legal instruments used by the anticorruption prosecutors and decriminalize some offenses. Several times the lifting of parliamentary immunity was turned down for politicians charged with corruption deeds. Besides, the entire justice system faced attacks with false news or by statements meant to weaken the confidence in the judiciary. The greatest challenge for Romania is keeping the independence of judges and prosecutors and legislative stability, as they are vital for anticorruption prosecutors in order to be effective,” the National Anticorruption Directorate chief prosecutor told the UN Convention Against Corruption on Wednesday, according a DNA release.
Kovesi said Romania signed the Merida Convention in 2004, when corruption was a generalised phenomenon and a systemic problem, in the meantime things have changed dramatically.
Kovesi said that, during the past five years, DNA has prosecuted more than 68 dignitaries, of which 14 ministers and former ministers and 53 MPs, with seizures of more than USD 2.3 billion.
She mentioned three recommendations from the Convention that helped the radical change: an effective criminal legal framework, the setting up of a specialised prosecutor office and an independent justice system.
“Only an independent justice system can ensure fair trials. Only an independent justice makes the law equal for everybody,” Laura Codruta Kovesi said.
The DNA chief prosecutor, Laura Codruta Kovesi, was invited to deliver a speech to a high level summit organised by the UN General Assembly in New York, on Wednesday.
The summit marks 15 years since the adoption of the UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC), also known as the Merida Convention, signed and ratified by Romania and other 182 states in 2004.
The summit was attended by the President of the UN General Assembly, Miroslav Lajčák and by the UN Secretary General, António Guterres.
DNA’s Kovesi was invited to open the first session of debates titled ‘15 years since implementing the Convention – trends, achievements and challenges’.