Everything for Dragnea, short of amnesty and pardon
The good news is that Tudorel Toader did not provide the much dreamt of amnesty and pardon ardently fantasized by Liviu Dragnea. Did he force its adoption anew? Did he amp up the pressure on the Minister of Justice summoned at the party HQ in the dead of the night? Very likely. Only the nuclear option would provide the guarantee that he would get rid of all trials and possible new convictions. The good news stops here, though. Toader and Dăncilă’s refusal to press the red button of the emergency decree is the full part of a glass which is quickly running empty. Henceforth, only bad news.
In summary, today, entire institutions in the Romanian state operate at the behest of a single man, who uses them in order to try to solve his personal problems. Last week he delegated his duties to Florin Iordache who had to perform as a temporary chairman of the Chamber of Deputies and sent to the Constitutional Court a referral on the issue of an alleged conflict between the Parliament and the Prosecutor General’s Office on Protocols in the Judiciary.
This move has unfortunately gone far too unnoticed and uncommented, although it is a grave abuse committed before our very eyes. Liviu Dragnea tries to destroy the protocols in the judiciary, hoping to remove a series of evidence from his files. He is free to do this in court, with lawyers, or to have his dogs from the party barking at them from morning till night on television.
Yet, when key state institutions are put to work for the personal benefit of a double criminal convict, the problem is serious. Since Dragnea, as chairman of the Chamber of Deputies, is entering a conflict of interest too obvious to personally sign a referral to the Romanian Constitutional Court from which he profits directly, he has asked a subordinate to do so. The subterfuge does not completely eliminate the discussion of abuse. The public and the opposition’s reaction to this mishandling was anemic.
Then came the Romanian Constitutional Court’s decision on the Criminal Procedure Code amendments, 64 of which were declared unconstitutional in whole or in part by a court which is quite indulgent with the majority of the SDP-ALDE. Yet, 64 articles did not make the constitutionality criteria, with the unanimous vote of the 9 judges. This tells everything about the lack of professionalism of the special committee in the Parliament, the superficiality and bad faith it has worked with.
The Court’s filter has however let many legal horrors pass, which weaken the powers of prosecutors and will work to the benefit of the big defendants in criminal investigations, such as Liviu Dragnea. Even when the Parliament has mutilated the Code of Procedure, society has not found resources to react. Only the PNL leader proclaimed his „almost total victory” at the Constitutional Court, unjustifiably hurrying to count on an illusory gain.
Finally, the Government Emergency Decree contains at least one written provision for the satisfaction of one man. The extension of experience requirements from eight to ten years for prosecutors working in Anticorruption Directirate is primarily aimed at Alexandra Lăncrănjan, a prosecutor investigating the Tel Drum case file. She was also targeted when they initially increased the seniority requirements in the special commission from six to eight years but, tough luck, in the meantime, she had accrued the years required by law. As a consequence, the Government increased the requirements again from eight to ten years.
How does the Justice Minister, a former judge of the Constitutional Court, justify the urgency of such regulations made by the Emergency Decree? What does the other former Constitutional Coiurt judge in the Government, Toni Grebla, say about such provisions with dedication to certain prosecutors given by emergency decree? And what more would be added when the text sent on Friday to the SCM did not contain these provisions, introduced by hand overnight, as …? They can fill in the blanks
Note that these unacceptable contorsions no longer stir up rebellion. The public is demobilized, especially after August 10, it has lost the hope that the lider maximo can be easily removed from his leadership position, as internal coups fail one by one; it also sees how the judiciary for which it took to the streets for a year and a half has also reduced its engines under the storm of blows administered by the powers that be.
This is the worst time for resignation. The public has played a crucial role in saving thejudiciary from certain death for a year and a half, has drawn the attention of Western partners that Romania deserves to be saved from falling into autocracy and illiberalism, and has given many reasons to resist. The public, let’s not forget this, refused to enter Liviu Dragnea’s game by taking the step to the side.
There could not have been a more unfortunate context for the High Court’s decision, which admitted on Monday an appeal in the interest of the law and established that there is an obligation to announce public meetings when they are held in markets or public roads – public road, and pavements – or in places in the immediate vicinity of the premises or buildings of legal entities of public or private interest.
What should the public do in the case of an Emergency Decree on amnesty and pardon? Should it designate a representative to let the authorities know that the population will get angry on the streets? And if no one can find him/her, will the gendarmes amend the thousands or tens of thousands of demonstrators in Victory Square?
We return to the Colectiv case, in October 2015: The day we give in is the day we die.
It’s been three years since then, only three years, and we should not forget so quickly that the big tragedies in this country have a very precise cause.
Traducerea: Ruxandra Stoicescu
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