Romania’s justice minister asks for the dismissal of the chief anticorruption prosecutor

Judicial Inspection

Romania’s justice minister Tudorel Toader announced he started the procedure to revoke the chief prosecutor of the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) Laura Codruta Kovesi.

He presented a 36-page report on the DNA chief’s activity during an 80-minute press briefing. The report included 20 “acts and facts” related to the DNA chief prosecutor’s activity, all of them negative. Some of them were based on the Constitutional Court’s decisions on the conflicts between the DNA and the Parliament and Government. Others were based on media reports and interviews that Kovesi gave to the local and international media. Tudorel Toader said that Kovesi’s statements in these interviews damaged Romania’s image abroad.

The justice minister criticised the DNA chief prosecutor for her authoritarian management style and her involvement in investigations, for trying to get convictions at any price, for the higher number of defendants acquitted following DNA investigations and the higher costs of DNA investigations, and for delaying the investigations in some cases. However, he didn’t answer the journalists’ request for examples based on which he formulated these critics.

At the end of his presentations, Tudorel Toader acknowledged DNA’s results in fighting corruption and said the fight against corruption should continue in Romania. However, he added that the DNA must continue to function legally and that the institution does not identify with its chief prosecutor, whose actions “have demonstrated that they can endanger the very institution that she has been managing”.

In the end, he summed his critics on Kovesi’s activity in several words: “excess of authority, discretionary behaviour, defying the Parliament, challenging the Constitutional Court’s decisions and authority”.

“For these acts and facts that are intolerable in a rule of law, I start the procedure to revoke the DNA chief prosecutor,” Toader concluded.

The report will be sent to the Superior Magistracy Council (CSM) and to President Klaus Iohannis, the only one who has the authority to revoke the DNA chief. President Iohannis said last week that he was satisfied with DNA’s activity and that he saw no reasons to revoke the DNA chief.

The justice minister started presenting his report on the management of the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) at 18:00. “Justice must be good. Justice mustn’t be bad,” the justice minister said at the start of the press briefing.

He said the report was not an evaluation of DNA’s activity, which would be presented to the Parliament together with the reports on the activity of the Public Ministry and the Anti-Organized Crime Directorate – DIICOT.

He added that the report he would present was strictly on the activity of DNA’s management. The report has 36 pages and the minister warned the journalists it would take a while for him to present it.

He said the conclusions of the report were based on 20 acts and facts related to the DNA chief’s activity between February 2017 and February 2018.

The justice minister’s report will also be published on the Justice Ministry’s website after his presentation. However, the website crashed during the evening.

The justice minister refused to answer the journalists’ questions, saying that he would let the media and public opinion analyze his report and then organize another press conference to clarify the things that would remain unclear.

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