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Reactions to Constitutional Court's reasoning on anti-graft head Kovesi's removal from office

National Liberal Party (the Opposition's main party, PNL, ed. n.) leader Ludovic Orban on Thursday asserted that by the Constitutional Court of Romania (CCR)'s reasoning regarding the removal from office of the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) head, Laura Codruta Kovesi, the justice independence's constitutional principle is violated. 

'In the past months we have been witnesses to the fathering of a toxic majority within the CCR by a law-scolded political clan that has one single target: by using the CCR, to crush the justice independence and put an end to any activity of the prosecutors regarding the high-level anti-corruption fight. Following the CCR reasoning, I've voiced a point of view, and yet in exchange, after analysing the publicly presented today's reasoning. I'm triggering an alarm signal that things are a lot more serious in the motivation than in the decision itself. Practically, through the CCR argument, the constitutional principle of justice's independence is violated, the prosecutors' independence is violated, the prosecutors are turned into agents of the executive power and into menials of the Justice Minister that is politically nominated and can politically control, with the party interests' in mind, the Public Service Office, the prosecutors' offices and the prosecutors,' Orban told a news conference at PNL's seat. 

Orban sustained that by all the points in the CCR reasoning, Romania switches 'to the Soviet period, as well as to the time before its integration into the European Union.' 

According to him, the CCR annuls the constitutional role of the Superior Council of Magistrates (CSM) and puts it outside the gear of the judiciary's organization, 'basically, leaving the decisions linked to the prosecutors' activity at the minister's will.' 

The PNL president also reminded that Romania is still under the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism, whose reports clearly show the request for the prosecutors' and judiciary's independence, in their entirety. 

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Justice Cristi Danilet comments the CCR reasoning saying that an article of the Constitution 'is unearthed', according to which 'the prosecutors do their job under the authority of the Justice Minister', an article that has been there ever since 1991 based on which 'the prosecutors would be subordinated to the minister as we speak.' 

'The Justice Minister is the only one that can nominate and the President can reject once, respectively propose the revocation and the President cannot deny it, from now on, but on legality reasons; there is talk of a 'discretionary' right of the minister. I could swear that there is no such thing in the Constitution; I knew that it is only the court that checks the legality; the decision says the President is doing the verification, and even the CCR! It is a decision for the prosecutors; but they say the President is losing any capability to decide upon the appointment/repeal nominations on other positions; truly, I don't know what powers the President of the Republic has from now on. As regards the Kovesi case, there is no deadline to issue the repeal decree; but, they say the President can talk to the minister so the latter withdraw the proposal. I counted the votes: I found 4 to 5, and not 6 to 3,' justice Danilet said in his post on his Facebook page. 

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Former Prime minister Dacian Ciolos on Thursday night said that the CCR reasoning on the removal from office of the DNA head endangers the furthering of the anticorruption fight and Romania's EU membership, considering that ahead of its accession, the justice independence was an issues that was insisted on, and now the CSM turns into 'a background character' at the CCR's interpretation. 
Ciolos stressed that through the same interpretation of the CCR, the Justice Minister's role is strengthened, the latter thus subordinating the prosecutors, going beyond the exercising of an administrative authority. 
The former PM deems that President Klaus Iohannis's role is 'to defend the Constitution', in the light of the CCR's reasoning. 

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The CCR justice Daniel Morar believes that President Klaus Iohannis and the Justice Minister have exercised their competencies as provided for by the Constitution and the law, without a conflict between the authorities, according to a separate opinion in the case of the CCR's reasoning regarding the refusal of the head of state to follow through the proposal to remove from office the DNA head. 

'Each public authority has acted within their attributions and accomplished their attributions in accordance with the Constitution, so that the strife invoked by the Prime Minister regarding the refusal of the President of Romania to follow through the request to remove from office of the DNA head, Mrs Laura Codruta Kovesi, cannot be equated to a judicial conflict of constitutional nature between the Justice Minister, on the one hand, and the President of Romania, on the other hand,' says Daniel Morar in his separate opinion. 

According to Morar, the President carried out an assessment of the reasons for the removal from office invoked by the Minister of Justice from the perspective of their legality and firmness, and not from the opportunity of the removal measure. 

* * * 

The CCR justice Livia Stanciu says in the separate opinion through which she found that there is no conflict between powers in the case of rejecting the DNA's head's removal, Laura Codruta Kovesi that from the analysis of the answer sent by President Klaus Iohannis there results that the latter has carried out an assessment of legality and solidity of the reasons brought about by the Justice Minister. 

'We therefore find that both the President of Romania and the Minister of Justice have done their jobs as provided for by the Constitution and the law, without arrogating competencies which, according to the Constitution, belong to other public authorities, or rejecting the fulfillment of certain acts that were part of their constitutional attributions. Each public authority has carried through their attributions in compliance with the provisions of the Constitution, so that in this respect, the conflict conjured up by the Prime Minister regarding the refusal by the President of Romania to remove the DNA's head from office cannot be equated with a constitutional judicial conflict between the Minister of Justice, on the one hand, and the President of Romania, on the other hand,' said the CCR justice Livia Stanciu.


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