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Iohannis: Gov't has to mend prejudice to judiciary by enforcing European bodies' recommendations

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President Klaus Iohannis draws the gov't attention on the new alarm sent by the European Commission for Democracy through Law of the European Council (the Venice Commission) in the opinion referring to the successive changes of the Laws of Justice through emergency ordinances.

"The President of Romania emphasises that the message sent in the document adopted by the Venice Commission is as clearly as possible: the government has the duty to mend the prejudice brought to the judiciary by enforcing immediately and integrally the recommendations of the European bodies in the field," the Presidential Administration informs in a release sent to AGERPRES on Monday.

According to the source, the president says the Venice Commission's Opinion is a clear, judicially strong argued reconfirmation of the prejudice brought to the functioning of the judiciary through the abusive intervention of the Government to wrongfully legislate and in favour of some private or of group interests, and not in the benefit of the citizen, and this abusive intervention took place as the Commission's Opinion says subsequently the adoption by the Parliament of the package of changes brought to the Laws of Justice that concern the justices and prosecutors' status, the judicial organisation, as well as the organisation and functioning of the Superior Council of Magistrates through the adoption by the Gov't of five OUGs (Government Emergency Ordinances): OUG 77/2018, OUG 90/2018, OUG 92/2018, OUG 7/2019 and OUG 12/2019.

President Iohannis believes that the aspects signaled by the Venice Commission do consolidate the conclusion that the tool of the OUGs was completely distorted and abusively used by the Gov't, without assessing their impact, bypassing both an authentic debate in the Parliament of the measures wanted and an effective consultation of the judiciary representatives.

"Like the Opinion says, the out of the blue changes in a field so sensitive and the lack of an effective control of constitutionality of the OUGs not only confuses the entire system, but it also harms the very essence of the rule of law - the judicial relations' security and the law's predictability, as well as the principle of the separation of the powers in the state,|" the president stresses.

Moreover, president Klaus Iohannis finds unacceptable the government's behaviour which nor until this moment, after the Romanians vote of 26 May, have not implemented the Venice Commission's recommendations included in the final Opinion of October 2018 regarding the three laws of Justice, aspect stressed in the Opinion of 21 June 2019, too.

"Keeping the Section for Infractions Investigation in Justice as a tool of magistrates' intimidation, the maintaining in the legislation of the decisions referring to the magistrates' early pensioning, which endanger the very functioning of the judiciary, the curtailing of the role of the CSM concomitantly with the increase of the role of the Justice Minister in the appointment procedures of the high-ranked prosecutors are mere examples which in the Commission's viewpoint, need urgent remedy," says Iohannis.

The president specifies that the Opinion of the Venice Commission is aiming at the very general way of using the OUGs, regardless of the field they are endorsed for, and the instability they practically create.

"By further using the OUGs when lacking the extraordinary situations whose regulation cannot be postponed, in fields such as public administration or economy, is a profoundly wrongful way the Gov't understands the 26 May vote of the Romanians. It is an abuse spotlighted by the Venice Commission and clearly rejected by the citizens, through their overwhelmingly favourable answer to the second question at the referendum, that has thus demonstrated its righteousness," says he.

According to the President, the Venice Commission reasserts the principle according to which in a democracy, the parliamentary procedure to endorsing the laws must be the rule, and the enactment through Emergency Ordinances must be the exception allowed by the Constitution under certain conditions only.

"The use of the OUGs instrument in a way that is leading to turning the exception into rule was therefore sanctioned both by the citizens and the Venice Commission," the President asserts.

Klaus Iohannis reiterates the notification he sent to the current Gov't that this practice must come to an end.

"The significant participation in the May election shows one again that the citizens want a Romania firmly committed to observe the European values with the scope to strengthen democracy, because without an independent, functional justice the rule of law and the country's progress, that would reflect daily in a better life for the Romanians cannot exist," President Iohannis concludes.

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