Creating a more favorable legal regime as regards the suspension of public servants sent to court is not justified, the Constitutional Court of Romania (CCR) said in the reasoning to the January 23 decision to admit the constitutional challenge filed by President Klaus Iohannis.
"Since for ministers, judges, prosecutors, assistant magistrates, Constitutional Court judges, the Ombudsman, members of the Court of Auditors and external public auditors, insolvency practitioners, members of Romania's diplomatic and consular corps, customs officers, employees under individual employment contracts or lawyers, the law provides for the suspension of the contract, the employment or the work relationship, as the case may be, based on the assumption that the case will be sent to court on criminal charges, and the suspension operates de jure or voluntarily, as the case may be, there is no justification for creating a more favorable legal regime as regards the administrative measure of suspending civil servants, who are equally bound to observe a code of conduct of complete legality and integrity," reads the reasoning published on Friday on the CCR website.
In the opinion of the constitutional judges, the standards of professional integrity and deontology stay in place both in the situation where the civil servant is handed down a final conviction by a court - and the presumption of innocence is removed, and in the situation where the civil servant is sent to court for offences of particular severity, in which case the presumption of innocence is not lifted.
"When the criminal conviction sets in, ie there is certainty that the offence has been committed, the presumption of innocence is removed and the work relation ceases de jure. When the indictment or preventive arrest sets in, there is a reasonable suspicion that the offence has been committed, the presumption of innocence is not removed, but there is no merit for affecting the authority and integrity of the public office, which is why the legislator has established the rule to suspend the official in question," Court said in its reasoning.
On January 23, the CCR plenum admitted by unanimity of votes the constitutional challenge filed by President Klaus Iohannis and found that the provisions of Art. I, 14, 18 and 22 of the Law amending and supplementing Law No. 188/1999 on the Civil Servants Statutes are unconstitutional.