Romania’s future majority to replace, not dismantle, controversial prosecution office
Nicolae Ciucă, the Liberal Party’s candidate for prime minister seat, announced on Saturday (November 20), at the end of negotiations with Social Democrats and ethnic Hungarians (UDMR), that the three parties agreed that the Special Section for Magistrates (SIIJ) must be abolished by law until March 31, 2022.
But its functions will be transferred to another special prosecution body “that will comply with the requirements of the Court of Justice of the European Union and the recommendations included in the Cooperation and Verification Mechanisms,” he explained, quoted by G4media.ro.
UDMR leader Kelemen Hunor slightly amended the statement, adding that the functions (and the files) of SIIJ must be transferred - but there shouldn’t necessarily be a new body set up for this. The final solution was not yet agreed over, he said.
The opposition reformist party USR objected to both the deadline for abolishing the SIIJ (March 2022) and the plans to set up a new body charged with investigating magistrates’ deeds.
SIIJ was set up during the Social Democrats’ regime, and it came under criticism for its alleged political bias. The logic behind SIIJ is that prosecutors may threaten judges with the aim of getting favorable rulings in their cases against third parties.
The small number of cases opened by SIIJ can be invoked by those claiming that it is not complying with one of CJEU’s recommendations 9serving a purpose), but it doesn’t mean that properly managed SIIJ wouldn’t serve a legitimate and necessary function.
In essence, CJEU asked Romania to decide whether SIIJ should exist based on two principles: to serve a purpose and to remain out of the political influence.