duminică, 31 martie 2013

A different way of seeing Romania's justice I I

4. Is right to ask how the National Anti-Corruption Directorate and the Public Ministry work, why so large investigations take place not always, but at certain different moments seeming to follow a peculiar pattern and timing. For decades Romanian citizens had the bad habit to not purchase tickets when they usually travel by train. Unfortunately it’s a common practice very well known to all state officials (the railway company is a public one). Just before the last electoral campaign some two hundreds railway inspectors were inquired, roughly 80 detained by prosecutors (buses were used to carry them to the Court), but only 35 arrested with a judge’s approval. Previously there were similar massive prosecutors operations regarding customs staff and recently even “small” surprises appeared. After not supporting a prosecutor’s election as a president of the Superior Council of the Magistracy media informed that two of the judge members of the Superior Council of the Magistracy (Horatiu Dumbrava and Adrian Neacsu) are under scrutiny by the National Anti-Corruption Directorate and the National Integrity Agency.

5. So, does anyone verify how prosecutors (the National Anti-Corruption Directorate, the Public Ministry) do their work? Yes, it seems. There is the Superior Council of the Magistracy and the Judicial Inspection. Those regulatory and integrity organisms do a proper job according to CVM reports wrote by specialists. But some matters must be solved before declaring that they fulfill in the right manner their role of self-regulators. Turmoil is the right word that describes the Superior Council of the Magistracy for months now. But media intervention can not be the scape-goat this time. Rumors said that last year management team, Alina Ghica president and Oana Schmidt-Haineala vice-president, had a wish of switching their places in 2013. Partly the plan worked and prosecutor Oana Haineala Schmidt was elected president despite an already established tradition that stated a rule: the president of the Superior Council of the Magistracy is a judge, the vice-president a prosecutor. Romanian courts reacted and hundreds of judges voted for revoking Alina Ghica (her and another controversial figure Cristian Danilet) out of the Superior Council of the Magistracy. Oana Haineala Schmidt was asked to resign honorable but she refused. Media reported that in the past Oana Haineala Schmidt acted as a head prosecutor that approved the paper work of a subordinate prosecutor which led to an innocent’s preventive custody for thirteen months. Recently one of the judge members of the Superior Council of the Magistracy, Adrian Neacsu who showed some stamina is currently investigated by the National Anti-Corruption Directorate. Either guilty or not claims have been made that the inquest wasn’t conducted in the lawful and rightful manner. Meanwhile unofficial news said that the Judicial Inspection made an investigation regardind the National Anti-Corruption Directorate works. If the document exists it is not considered a public matter. The Judicial Inspection doesn’t communicate much. Although some other institutions (the National Anti-Corruption Directorate, the Public Ministry and the National Integrity Agency) use the names of judges and prosecutors for informative purposes, the Judicial Inspection utilizes anonymity for its controlling activities. A look at their site is convincing. For a young democracy and the whole judicial system wouldn’t be desirable also that dissuasion is applied to the judiciary members? Few days ago another scandal linked to the Superior Council of the Magistracy erupted. A phone used by several members of the Superior Council of the Magistracy and staff looks like a smoking gun that can prove the improper way of doing things inside the guiding institution of Romania’s justice. The phone appeared to be containing some vote directing short written messages sent by Oana Haineala Schmidt (then only vice-president) to a former owner, judge Bogdan Gabor. Till now neither the National Anti-Corruption Directorate or the Public Ministry or the Judicial Inspection reacted.

6. In 2011 Romania’s High Court of Justice sued the Superior Council of the Magistracy over the question of electing members of the High Court. What has to believe a Romanian citizen of that? Those “supreme” judges to whom ordinary citizen entrust their destinies cannot agree over some law questions. Soon after an ordinary instance admitted the complaint the Superior Council of the Magistracy withdraw it indeed, but uncertainties about the professionalism of judiciary remain in Romanian citizens minds.

7. In an interview broadcasted last summer president Basescu himself said that he knew the whereabouts of one of his political rivals. President Basescu gave details regarding senator Voiculescu discussions about president’s suspense that took place on a May holiday, somewhere in Greece before the event really happened. How can that be? It could have been a Romanian Watergate? A president has access to surveillance instruments and he uses those to spy on his adversaries? In September interesting news appeared. Some 165 mandates for taping suspects were issued by the Supreme Court in July-August 2012 at the same time that president Basescu was suspended and the referendum happened. For comparison purposes let’s mention that only two interceptions were approved in a similar period of 2011. In all, some 450 phone listening mandates were issued in the first half of 2012 (a time of political revolts in Romania) and merely 140 in Jan-July 2011. But let’s trust the judges of the Supreme Court. One of them, Miss. Rodica Aida Popa was generous enough to approve several interception warrants for “anyone who is involved” in a case regarding a corruption suspicion.

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