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Update3: More than 1,400 magistrates urge Justice Minister to ‘immediately abandon’ the PG’s revocation procedure. DNA prosecutors join in

More than 1,400 magistrates support the request addressed to Justice Minister Tudorel Toader to immediately abandon the revocation procedure of the Prosecutor General.

The magistrates argue that the Venice Commission has recommended that the high ranking prosecutors should be revoked only accompanies by the positive opinion of the Superior Council of Magistracy (CSM).

The request has been signed by prosecutors, judges and judicial auditors with the National Magistracy Institute. The document was initiated by two professional organisations on Thursday.

The associations Judges Forum in Romania and the Movement for the defence of Prosecutors’ Statute firmly urge Justice Minister, Tudorel Toader, to immediately abandon the revocation procedure of Prosecutor General, Augustin Lazar.

The General Assembly of National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) prosecutors has also informed on Friday it supports the document signed by the Judges Forum in Romania and the Movement for the defence of Prosecutors’ Statute, requesting Minister Tudorel Toader to abandon the procedure for the dismissal of the Romanian Attorney General, Augustin Lazar.

The General Assembly of DNA prosecutors met on Friday at the request of over a third of all DNA prosecutors, the institution informs in a press release.

The DNA General Assembly also adopted the following message: “The DNA prosecutors express their attachment to the values ​​of the rule of law and respect for the principle of the independence of the judiciary as a whole, involving clear, strong and effective guarantees of respect for the independence of prosecutors in exercising their mandate provided by law.

In this respect, the procedures for the dismissal of prosecutors in leadership positions must be thoroughly justified on the basis of objective criteria and to avoid the risk of disproportionate decisions and fueling a climate of intimidation and pressure on prosecutors.”

The initiators say that the Venice Commission has recommended that the revocation of high ranking prosecutors should be done with the mandatory opinion of the CSM, a provision that should be introduced in the amendments to Law no. 303/2004 on the statute of judges and prosecutors, ziare.com reports.

Until this is clearly defined, “it is necessary that any revocation procedure of high ranking prosecutors is avoided and, as the case may be, abandoned, the two associations inform in a release.

“Such procedure, which actually evades the guarantor of justice independence, i.e. CSM, makes it role purely decorative and disregards the right of defence for the prosecutor subject to revocation, has been criticized by the Venice Commission, GRECO and the European Commission and endangers Romania’s path in the European Union and the Council of Europe, the democratic essence of the Romanian state, not to mention the negative and discouraging signal sent to an important part of magistrates,” the quoted source reads.

The associations argue that, in the context of amending the package of laws on the functioning of the judiciary in Romania, the Venice Commission underlined, in the Notice no.924/2018 “the need to ensure the autonomy of prosecutor offices in terms of appointment and revocation from office of the chief prosecutors, so that protection of the magistrates is ensured against political involvement.”

The associations stress once again the need that the CSM opinion becomes mandatory in terms of revocation.

Justice Minister, Tudorel Toader, announced on Wednesday that he is kicking off the procedure to dismiss Romania’s Prosecutor General, Augustin Lazar. Minister Toader presented an assessment report of Lazar’s activity as the PG, containing 20 reasons to have him revoked.

General Prosecutor Augustin Lazar said Wednesday evening that Toader’s assessment report is actually the answer of the Executive to the Venice Commission’s opinion.

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