The Higher Council of Magistrates approved the nomination of Laura Codruta Kovesi for a new term in office as DNA chief
Brussels – The independent journalist Faycal Cheffou, the only person arrested and charged with involvement in the Brussels attacks, was released on Monday for lack of evidence. The man was initially suspected of being the mystery third man seen in a footage of the bombers. What’s sure is that the three suicide bombers at the Brussels metro station and airport were also involved in November’s attacks in Paris. The Islamic State (IS) militant group claimed the attacks in both countries.
MESSAGE - Romania's head of state Klaus Iohannis sent his condolences to the Pakistani President Mamnoon Hussain, following Sunday’s terrorist attack in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore, which left more than 70 people dead and hundreds wounded. Iohannis voiced the Romanian people’s compassion and solidarity with the Pakistani people and the victims’ families. Romania’s Foreign Ministry reiterated the country’s firm commitment to fighting terrorism and the need to strengthen international efforts to curb all its forms. The UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, also condemned the suicide bombing, which he described as an “appalling act of terrorism.” The attacks were perpetrated in a park where Catholic Christians were celebrating Easter. A Pakistani Taliban splinter group claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it had targeted Christians. A mostly Muslim country, Pakistan has a roughly 2-million strong Christian community, accounting for some 1% of the total population.
SRI - The Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI) cannot offer any information, for the time being, regarding the use of Romanian prepaid phone cards by the terrorists who commited attacks in Europe. The SRI has said, however, that it has information according to which such cards are being used in conflict areas such as Syria and Egypt. As the identity of the people using these cards cannot be established, there is a chance that they belong to Romanian citizens living in Syria or in other conflict areas but also to people in conncetion with terrorist activities, the SRI announced. The statements come after Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos said in a TV show that prepaid phone cards from Romania have been used in preparation for the attacks in EU member countries. Ciolos pleaded for a more thorough control of the prepaid phone cards sold, which in Romania can be purchased without checking the buyer’s identity
ANTI-CORRUPTION – The Higher Council of Magistrates on Monday approved the nomination of Laura Codruta Kovesi for a new term in office as head of the National Anti-Corruption Directorate. She said that over the past three years, during her term, the number of indictments had increased by 50%, and the number of dignitaries indicted in corruption cases had risen 6 times. She added that the investigation of high-level corruption and recovering the losses incurred by the State remained her main priorities. Also on Monday, Justice Minister Raluca Prună said the decision to nominate Kovesi was based on the remarkable performance of the institution under her leadership. The chief prosecutor of the National Anti-Corruption Directorate is nominated by the justice minister, approved by the Higher Council of Magistrates and appointed to office by the president, for a three-year term. The Directorate has been constantly praised in the reports issued under the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism, an instrument used by the European Commission to monitor the Romanian judiciary.
FOOTBALL – Romania’s football team ended the match against defending champions Spain in a goalless draw. The game, played on home turf in Cluj, was part of the training stage for this summer’s European Championship in France. On Wednesday Romania had defeated Lithuania, also at home, 1-nill. In Euro 2016, the Romanian team will play the opening game of June 10th against France, in a group that also includes Switzerland and Albania. Romania last took part in a continental final tournament in 2008, when it left the competition in the group stage.
(Translated by Elena Enache)