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A controversial Supreme Court ruling

A Supreme Court ruling could definitively put an end to famous pending cases in Romania

A controversial Supreme Court ruling
A controversial Supreme Court ruling

, 26.10.2022, 13:50

The Higher Court of Cassation and
Justice in Romania on Tuesday made a ruling with major effects on cases
subjected to a limitation period. Under the court’s ruling this limitation is
to be applied retroactively according to the most favourable law. The court ruled
that there were no interruptions in limitation for four years between June
2018, when the first ruling of the Constitutional Court (CCR) had come into
effect, and May 2022, when the Penal Code was amended also under a CCR ruling.




The special limitation allowed
prosecutors to interrupt its course on the base of new evidence or by bringing
the offender to court as a defendant. According to some legal sources, the
Supreme Court ruling is going to affect thousands of cases pending in courts or
under investigation allowing the culprits to avoid sentences or charges thanks
to this limitation. The list includes famous cases such as that of former
minister Elena Udrea, who has been a constant presence in courts for the past 8
years, since the end of the second term in office of former president Traian
Basescu, considered her protector.




Currently serving a prison sentence
on corruption charges, the former minister has also been involved in another
two pending cases. The first case concerns the funding of president Basescu’s 2009
election campaign, when Udrea got an 8 year prison sentence for bribery
incitement and money laundering. The former president’s eldest daughter, Ioana
Basescu, has also been given a five year prison sentence in the same file. The court dealing with this pending case
adjourned until December this year, one month after the Supreme Court ruling. Udrea
is also being tried in the ‘Hidroelectrica’ file on several charges, such as
influence peddling and money laundering for having allegedly received five
million dollars from a businessman. Among
the offenders benefitting from limitation are the former Liberal president of
the Chamber of Deputies, Bogdan Olteanu and Adrian Mititelu, owner of Romanian
football side UCraiova 1948.




Courts adjourned in many other cases
until the aforementioned ruling and these cases will probably be closed. Among
those to benefit the latest ruling on limitation are the former mayor of the
city of Pitesti, in southern Romania, Social-Democrat Tudor Pendiuc, the ex-PSD
now Liberal mayor of the city of Iasi, in northern Romania, Mihai Chirica, or
the former PSD minister Constantin Nita.




The latest ruling on limitation has
made some people very happy. These are usually business people, mainly charged
with embezzlement and misappropriation, as well as leading political figures
accused of influence peddling, bribery and abuse of office with aggravating
circumstances. Most of the cases likely
to be closed after the latest Supreme Court ruling, have been dragging on for
years. Is this only the merit of lawyers or the consequence of the investigators’
incompetence?


(bill)

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