A delegation of the Venice Commission, the advisory body of the Council of Europe, came to Bucharest for talks meant to clarify aspects related to the justice system.
In order to prepare an opinion regarding the recent modifications brought by Romania’s Parliament to the Criminal and Criminal Procedure Codes, a Venice Commission delegation came to Romania for 2 days, to meet with Romanian officials and representatives of the justice system. The opinion was requested by the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly which is interested in the impact of the aforementioned modifications.
These modifications were strongly contested, in the street, by the civil society, the rightwing opposition, the Romanian President and a large part of the magistrates. After talks with the representatives of the Venice Commission, the president of the parliamentary committee for justice laws, Social Democratic MP Florin Iordache, said that the modification of the Codes had to be operated to comply with the decisions of the Constitutional Court and the European Directives. In another development, he gave assurances that he would urgently answer all questions related to unclear things or observations made by the Venice Commission, a body whose preliminary report includes, according to Florin Iordache, certain inadvertences.
The opposition representatives said that the Venice Commission expressed certain concerns related to whether these legislative changes were made based on an impact study that should have highlighted the effects generated by the newly reformed criminal policy in Romania. They also referred to the consequences these changes might have on the cases currently dealt with by courts and also on those cases in which a definitive sentence was ruled.
President Klaus Iohannis has drawn attention to the fact that the changes to the codes unbalance the judiciary, one of the targeted aims of these changes being to favor certain politicians prosecuted for various crimes. According to President Iohannis the changes proposed by the current parliamentary majority risk compromising the effort of the past years meant to consolidate the judicial system. Klaus Iohannis also said that the involvement and support of the European experts are meant to help Romania have a more efficient and modern legislation. The report of the Venice Commission will be passed next month in this boy’s plenary session.
In a preliminary opinion on the Romanian justice laws made public in July, the Venice Commission asked the Romanian authorities to rethink the manner of appointing and dismissing the chief prosecutors of the National Anti-Corruption Directorate, of the Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism and of the General Prosecutor’s Office, in the sense of maintaining the role of Romania’s President and of the Superior Council of Magistracy in this process.