After Felix Banila, the head of Romania’s main Directorate for Investigating Crime and Terrorism, DIICOT, has stepped down, all the main prosecutor’s offices across the country are being headed by interim chief prosecutors
Romanian president Klaus Iohannis
on Wednesday signed a decree on the resignation of Felix Banila, the head of
Romania's main Directorate for Investigating Crime and Terrorism, DIICOT.
Banila announced his intention to step down after the president had called for
his resignation in a prime time broadcast.
Klaus Iohannis: "DIICOT's
involvement in the Caracal case should have added a plus of professionalism and
credibility, but this failed to happen with Mr. Banila as chief prosecutor and
the investigation still has to provide answers to several questions. The way in
which things have gone so far has raised a series of suspicions and eroded
people's trust in authorities. Such an approach could lead to poor results only.
So I have called on Mr. Banila, to step down from the position of DIICOT chief
President Iohannis has blamed the
former chief prosecutor for the way in which the investigation in the Caracal file
has been conducted - this being a difficult file with a heavy public emotional
payload. In this case, prosecutors must establish whether two minor girls were killed
by an alleged human trafficker.
What the Romanian president said he
witnessed so far was only the authorities' inability to respond and react
promptly as well as a series of outrageous public gestures coming from these
authorities, including from DIICOT. In the president's opinion these are
tantamount to a lack of concern for both the victims and their families.
Banila says he doesn't feel guilty
but he decides to step down to prevent his colleagues from working under pressure.
The president's latest move concerning the resignation of the DIICOT chief has
been perceived by many as a pure electoral maneuver. We recall that Iohannis is
presently running for a second term in office and his involvement in the
Caracal case so far was almost next to nothing.
Furthermore the president has been
accused by his opponents of having endorsed an unprecedented situation in
Romania's legal system, because after Banila's resignation, all prosecutor
offices across the country are being headed by interim chief prosecutors, which
could bear on the activity of the aforementioned institutions.
The General Prosecutor's Office has
been functioning without a chief prosecutor for half a year now and the
National Anti-corruption Directorate has been led by an interim
chief-prosecutor for more than a year, after the former Justice Minister's
appointee was turned down by president Iohannis.
(translated by bill)