As many as 135 prosecutors with the National Anti-corruption Directorate (DNA) have decided to initiate and convey to the Supreme Council of Magistracy (CSM) a petition requesting the defence of the prosecutors' professional reputation and independence, following the affirmations made in the public sphere by people holding public or political positions which sustain the idea that anti-corruption prosecutors manage evidence by breaching the law.At the same time they voice their disagreement with regard to the Justice minister's demarche to propose the removal from office of DNA's Laura Codruta Kovesi.
The request was signed by 135 prosecutors out of a total of 183, the initiators of the move explaining that some of the investigators are in courts or on health leaves and have not been able to express their opinion so far.
"We, DNA's prosecutors, have decided to initiate a petition requesting the defence of the professional reputation and independence of prosecutors within DNA, under the provisions of article 30, paragraph 2 from law no. 317/2004, that we address the Superior Council of Magistracy, given the last days' events when, in the public space (televisions, newspapers, the internet, etc.) people holding public or political positions, starting from unsubstantiated claims made by a defendant prosecuted and convicted in first instance for corruption offenses, made generalising statements that fuel the idea that prosecutors within DNA manage evidence by breaching the law," reads a press release of the DNA sent to STIRIPESURSE.RO on Friday.
Investigators specify they have found "with surprise" that people who hold public dignity positions have launched unfounded allegations aiming at the entire professional body of the prosecutors within the DNA, as part of "a systematic attempt to tarnish" the entire activity carried out in the last years.
"We, DNA's prosecutors have been confronted in the last years, either directly or indirectly, with attacks smeared through the media of people we have investigated, prosecuted or who were convicted in cases we instrumented. We have endured, even if these attacks have had a direct impact on our lives through the negative emotional impact they had on our families, friends and social circle of acquaintances. We have all chosen to pursue the fight on corruption and follow our principles, being aware that the result of our work can represent a positive element in structuring the Romanian society, having as foundation the idea of normality, correctness, the desire for evolution and progress," reads the release.
In this context, DNA's prosecutors specify that on Friday they requested the Superior Council of Magistracy to take note that all these statements, "some, extremely serious," are unfounded, being made only to discredit them professionally, to induce in the public opinion the idea that they are "abusive, unprofessional, unethical."
"We do not intend, through this demarche, to grant support for any illegal act of a colleague of ours and we trust the justice system has developed the anti-bodies necessary to prove and sanction any deviation from the letter of the law of a magistrate prosecutor. What we desire is to request the only institution which has the authority to defend our independence and professional reputation, to do what it has among its obligations provided for by Law no. 317/2004 - to take note that all these defamatory allegations towards us and our work are not true and aim at intimidating those engaged in the fight against corruption and the impairment of the justice system," the anti-corruption prosecutors say.
At the same time, DNA's prosecutors express their disagreement with the Justice minister's demarche to propose the removal from office of Laura Codruta Kovesi and set off the alarm bells on the gloomy outlook of Justice's independence and the future of the anti-corruption fight.
"Indeed, as the Justice minister said, the anti-corruption fight does not reside in a single person, however we cannot accept, as free citizens of Romania and law professionals, to witness a removal from office request based on untruths, suppositions, and press information, unsubstantiated in any way, instead of on a legal, fundamental analysis. The only purpose is to remove Laura Codruta Kovesi for her only fault of having succeeded in managing this institution we are part of with a lot of courage, diplomacy and results appreciated by many Romanian citizens, but also by the European and international community," the release further mentions.
The initiators of the demarche specify they have felt for years "the constant, incorrect attack of defendants or people convicted for corruption on DNA."
"Nonetheless, all this time, the main target has been Laura Codruta Kovesi, in the minds of defendants or those prosecuted for corruption, and her removal was identified as the main way to destabilise and undercut the anti-corruption fight. And I don't believe we are far from the truth. Let us all imagine that this demarche of the Justice minister achieves its objective and, starting with next week or in two weeks' time, Laura Codruta Kovesi is removed from office. How could we continue doing what we are doing, how could we catch people involved in corruption deeds when we know that, based on the Justice minister's logic, we could stand accused at any time unfairly, incorrectly for the on-going investigations, for the difference of opinion or for the only reason that Romania's image in the international space is affected by the corruption phenomenon," the quoted source mentions.