Judiciary institutions in Romania continued their protests against an emergency ordinance the Government adopted last week, which brings new changes to the country's justice laws, with significant impact on the functioning of the local justice system (OUG 7/2019).
Justice minister Tudorel Toader said on Monday, after a meeting with representatives of several magistrates' associations, that the Government would eliminate one of the articles from the ordinance, which allows judges to be appointed at the helm of leading prosecution units, such as the National Anticorruption Directorate - DNA or the Anti-Organized Crime Directorate - DIICOT.
However, a large part of the magistrates in Romania continue the protests, asking the Government to repeal the whole ordinance.
Cristi Danilet, a judge at the Cluj Court and former member of the Superior Magistracy Council (CSM), said he and his colleagues would continue their protest, which includes delaying the hearings in court cases, which could lead to completely blocking the court activity, according to Digi24.ro.
Several dozen judges from the High Court of Cassation and Justice also signed a letter on Tuesday asking the Government to revoke some of the provisions in OUG 7.
Meanwhile, the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) posted a full-screen banner on its website saying that its activity, namely combatting top-level corruption in Romania, is in danger of being blocked by OUG 7. DNA's reaction came one day after the DIICOT announced that it would partially suspend its activity in the next two weeks to protest against OUG 7.
Politicians of the ruling party - the Social Democratic Party (PSD) - criticized the magistrates' protests. PSD MP Eugen Nicolicea said that magistrates who temporarily suspended their activity are breaking the law and could go to jail. The law states that judges and prosecutors can't go on strike, he added, according to Digi24.ro.
Judge Cristi Danilet reacted saying that the magistrates' actions are not a strike, as they don't ask anything for themselves. "When the other powers mount justice, magistrates are obliged to react, including using radical and extreme means," he said, quoted by Hotnews.ro.
The dispute around OUG 7 also brought to the surface the divides among magistrates, as some magistrate associations asked the Government to repeal the whole ordinance and refused the prime minister's invitation to talks on the ordinance while others only asked for minor changes, which they got after the meeting on Monday with PM Viorica Dancila and justice minister Tudorel Toader.
There are several organizations in Romania that claim to represent local judges and prosecutors, some of which are against the justice reform undertaken by the ruling coalition while others support it. It's not clear, however, which of them are more representative for the justice system as a whole.
Opinions among members of the Superior Magistracy Council (CSM) are also split and CSM president, judge Lia Savonea, is being contested by the magistrates who oppose the changes to the justice laws.
The Romanian Government's emergency ordinances that bring changes to the justice laws have determined an unprecedented...