Romania’s High Court of Cassation and Justice on Wednesday (April 3) removed the judicial control measure against the former chief prosecutor of the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA), Laura Codruta Kovesi. The decision is final, according to G4media.ro.
As a result, she is free to leave the country, a constraint that had previously complicated her candidacy to the European Chief Prosecutor post.
Kovesi was placed under judicial control on March 28 by the special section for investigating magistrates (SIIJ), which is investigating her for bribery, abuse of office and false testimony, in a case related to the extradition of a Romanian businessman from Indonesia in 2011 when she was Romania’s general prosecutor.
Laura Codruta Kovesi is one of the two candidates still in the race to lead the new European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO). Kovesi has the European Parliament’s endorsement for this position while the EU Council is supporting a French prosecutor for the same position. Negotiations between the EP and EU Council are ongoing.
The investigation against Kovesi and the judicial control measure, which prevented her from leaving the country, further strained the relationship between Romania’s Government and EU institutions.
The European Parliament’s president Antonio Tajani expressed again his support for Kovesi in the opening of the plenary session in Brussels, on Wednesday. He also urged the Romanian authorities not to hinder the participation of the candidate in all stages of the selection procedure for the position of EU Public Prosecutor.
Romanian prime minister Viorica Dancila and justice minister Tudorel Toader both reacted to this statement saying that EU officials can’t ask that a criminal investigation is stopped in Romania. “European officials ask us to stop criminal investigations. I tell them that Romania’s prime minister hasn’t intervened and will not intervene in the justice act,” Dancila said.
The Romanian Government has been lobbying against Kovesi’s appointment as European Chief Prosecutor and the SIIJ investigation against her started soon after she was shortlisted for this position by an international selection board made of independent specialists. The EU Council, which is currently presided by Romania, voted for supporting the French candidate while the European Parliament voted for Kovesi. The deadlock is to be settled in the following weeks.
(Photo source: Inquam Photos / George Calin)
Laura Codruta Kovesi, the former chief prosecutor of Romania’s anticorruption directorate DNA and one of the two...