Romanian head of state Johannis has to dismiss corruption investigator

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Monday, 09/07/2018
11:46 clock

On pressure of the government has Romania State President Klaus Johannis dismissed the head of the anti-corruption unit of the prosecutor (DNA), Laura Kövesi.

Johannis bowed to a ruling of the Constitutional Court, which said that the head of state should not oppose the government’s proposal in this personnel question.

“In a constitutional state, the decisions of the Constitutional Court must be respected,” said a spokeswoman for the center-right politician Johannis.

Justice Minister Tudorel Toader had requested the deposition of DNA chief Kövesi several months ago. Among other things, he accused her of having damaged Romania’s reputation and violating the constitution by criticizing the reform of the judiciary. Kövesi supporters suspect, however, that the advance with their corruption investigations against members of the social leadership had to do.

Not Johannis’ first defeat

Johannis had until now refused to implement Kövesi’s dismissal by signing it. As a result, Toader turned to the Constitutional Court, which is mostly filled with pro-government judges.

REUTERS
Johannis and Kövesi at the presentation of the DNA report in February

According to the constitution, the Minister of Justice proposes the dismissal of leading prosecutors, but the head of state decides on it. However, according to the recent ruling of the Constitutional Court, the procedure does not mean that the head of state is allowed to assess the contents of the Minister’s application, but only to supervise its formal legality.

The work of DNA and her now dismissed boss Kövesi was most recently appreciated by the EU. Already in February, the parliament had decided that the DNA in the future can no longer be investigated against administrative officials. The driving force behind this is the head of the ruling party PSD, Liviu Dragnea, who is not allowed to become prime minister because he has a criminal record. He controls the government.

Dragnea is likely to benefit from a change in legislation from the end of June: Thereafter, in Romania Abuse will be punishable in the future only to a limited extent be. For this purpose, President Johannis wants to turn on the Constitutional Court.

Last year, Johannis failed to prevent restrictions on the independent judiciary. In contrast, despite mass protests, the government passed a new regulation, according to prosecutors personally liable for miscarriages of justice. In addition, their investigation steps can be canceled by their supervisors.

Johannis had warned against it that “as in the case of Poland” a criminal case under Article 7 of the EU Treaty against the EU member Romania could be opened because of a restriction of the separation of powers. Once he did not sign the bill, it nevertheless came into force following a new vote in Parliament.

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