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DIICOT: Three more weeks of protests against OUG 7; SIIJ - artificial, non-transparent, non-functional structure

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The Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT) prosecutors have decided Monday to prolong the protest against the adoption of OUG 7 on the laws of justice until 22 March, claiming that the Judiciary Crime Investigation Section (SIIJ) is an artificial, non-transparent and non-functional structure.

According to a press release, the General Assembly of DIICOT prosecutors adopted on Monday, by a majority of 163 votes out of a total of 218, the continuation of the protest with the change of the protest form, with the prosecutors of the Directorate to wear an armband during the work hours between 4 to 22 March.

A point of view was also adopted in which prosecutors express concern about the way in which the executive power, as delegated legislator, "understands to adopt by emergency ordinance amendments to the laws of justice, organic legislative acts on whose clarity and predictability depends the very proper functioning of the judiciary."

"These series of substantial amendments initiated within a few months have been and are likely to seriously affect both the CSM [Superior Council of Magistrates, ed.n.]'s work, the work of the Public Prosecutor's Office and the good functioning and stability of the justice system as a whole, with consequences on the way in which the act of justice is carried out," the DIICOT prosecutors say.

They argue that the draft amendment to Ordinance 7 is necessary and of a nature to partially remedy the "blockages, inequities and arbitrariness that the adoption of OUG 7/2019 has produced", but they are dissatisfied with the fact that no amendments are proposed in the draft in as regards the new paragraph (6) introduced at art.88 times with respect to art. 88 (8), paragraph 1, point. (d) of Law no. 304/2004.

"The General Assembly of DIICOT prosecutors declares their solidarity with the protests of the courts and prosecutors' offices in the country and supports their claims, which mainly aim at guaranteeing, not only by abstention, the political factors and associates, from any actions that may affect the justice's independence or intimidate the magistrates, but also the observance by the representatives of the other state authorities of the Constitution of Romania and the laws in force, as well as the jurisprudence of the Constitutional Court, including in the lawmaking process. In this context, we emphasize that the observance of strict and predictable rules as well as meritocracy and morality in joining the position of judge with the supreme court, are signs that guarantee not only the judiciary, but also the whole society the realization of a fair and equitable act of justice, as defined in Article 6 of the ECHR. From this perspective, the appearance of impartiality is as important as impartiality itself, being one of the pillars of a fair and credible act of justice," the DIICOT release reads.

DIICOT prosecutors are asking the Government to renounce the SIIJ-related regulations, which they deem as an "artificial structure, outside the operational rules of the Public Prosecutor's Office, and which do not provide guarantees of impartiality and compliance with rules on incompatibilities and conflicts of interest."

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