Justice Minister Catalin Predoiu said on Thursday that the Government and the Justice Ministry were still acting to abolish the Section for the Investigation of Judicial Crimes (SIIJ), but at this moment such an approach does not stand any chance of succeeding.
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"The government and implicitly the Ministry of Justice keep up this objective to abolish the Special Section, for this section to be abolished. You have mentioned a bill defeated in Parliament. It is a bill initiated by Save Romania Union (USR) lawmakers, a bill for which I voted in Parliament, as a lawmaker, but the rejection of this bill unfortunately confirms what I have been anticipating and have been saying for many days, despite some criticisms that I understand of some people of the judiciary who are eager to see this section abolished. I have anticipated that that is impossible at this moment, with this majority, to pass such a bill through Parliament," Predoiu told Realitatea Plus private broadcaster.
He said SIIJ cannot fight corruption in the judiciary because it consists only of a small core of prosecutors located in Bucharest, without a proper apparatus and without facilities.
"This section was not made to fight corruption but, somehow, to 'put the lid on the pot' as they say and this is my main concern. (...) By the way it was set up, this section is unable to do anti-corruption work in the judiciary, because that is what apparently it had been made for," he added.
Predoiu said the pressure on the judiciary started several years ago, through denigration and marring in the media legislative instruments, primarily criminal codes. In his view, an idea had been built up for years that the laws of justice were not good, that the entire system of public order and law enforcement was abusive, and that all defendants had, in fact, been the subjected to abuses, given that almost all the proceedings took place legally, and anti-corruption and law enforcement expertise had been required by colleagues elsewhere in the European Union.
"We have our bill, designed by the ministry and that is a very good one in my opinion, sent to the Supreme Council of Magistracy (CSM) for an opinion and that we will promote when we feel we have data that it stands a reasonable chance. If not 100%, at least reasonable chances. I do not rule out that these chances will emerge before the elections and the creation of a majority to support justice, and not demolish it, but at this moment there are no such chances," said Predoiu.