Council of Europe anti-corruption body evaluates new justice legislation in Romania and Poland

The Council of Europe Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) decided last week to carry out ad hoc urgent evaluations of the draft laws concerning the judiciary in Romania, and on two draft laws on the reorganization of the Supreme Court and of the National Council of the Judiciary in Poland.

In both cases, GRECO will carry out the evaluations in January/February 2018 with a view to adopt the resulting ad hoc evaluation reports during its plenary meeting in March 2018.

It is the first time GRECO is using a recently introduced rule that allows an “ad hoc procedure in exceptional circumstances”. This rule can be applied when an institutional reform, legislative initiative or procedural change may result in a member’s serious violation of a Council of Europe anti-corruption standard which has been the subject of any GRECO evaluation round.

GRECO has requested the heads of Romania’s and Poland’s delegations to GRECO to submit, by January 15, 2018, information on these draft laws for the preparation of the ad hoc evaluation reports.

Romania’s Parliament has recently registered three legislative proposals concerning the judiciary, for adoption through emergency procedure. Serious concerns have been expressed by several institutions and actors in Romania and abroad that these proposals could put at risk the effectiveness of the fight against corruption and undermine the independence of the judiciary.

Similar concerns have been expressed on two draft laws on the reorganization of the Supreme Court and of the National Council of the Judiciary in Poland.

The Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) is a Council of Europe body that aims to improve the capacity of its members to fight corruption by monitoring their compliance with anti-corruption standards. It helps states identify deficiencies in national anti-corruption policies, prompting the necessary legislative, institutional and practical reforms. It comprises the 47 Council of Europe member states, Belarus and the United States of America.

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