Seven NGOs call for the „immediate” resignation of Minister Cătălin Predoiu and claim „an attempt to cover up a political intervention in justice” after G4Media revealed that he met with a judge in the Hosu case
Seven member organizations of the „NGOs for Citizens” group have published an open letter calling for the „immediate” resignation of Justice Minister Cătălin Predoiu, according to a press release. The NGOs complain about „a series of facts that indicate a possible involvement of the Minister of Justice, Mr. Cătălin Predoiu, in a corruption case under discussion in court”, referring to the case of the husband of the former head of DIICOT, Giorgiana Hosu.
„We believe that Mr Predoiu has gone far beyond his duties as a minister, and the whole development of the facts raises reasonable suspicions about an attempt to cover up political interference in the justice system. In these circumstances, we consider that Mr Predoiu is morally incompatible with the position of Minister of Justice and we call for his immediate resignation,” the signatory NGOs say.
Their position comes after G4Media revealed that Predoiu met at the Ministry of Justice with Claudia Jderu, one of the judges in the Hosu case.
Read the open letter of the 7 NGOs below:
Over the past two weeks, we have been following with attention and concern a succession of facts that point to a possible interference of the Minister of Justice, Mr. Cătălin Predoiu, in a corruption case that is being debated in court.
On 18 January 2023, in an interview, Mr Cătălin Predoiu, Minister of Justice, stated that the sentence in the case of Mr Dan Hosu (husband of former DIICOT chief prosecutor Georgiana Hosu) would be acquittal. However, the Minister made a mistake, as the case is still pending and the next trial is scheduled for 7 February 2023.
The next day, on 19 January, Mr Predoiu made a public apology, saying he had learned the information „from unofficial sources”, but without explaining why the Justice Minister ends up discussing „unofficially” cases before the courts, especially a highly political case.
Subsequently, G4Media revealed that also on 19 January, Mr Predoiu had a meeting at the Ministry of Justice with one of the judges in the case, whom he had summoned under the official motivation of discussing the presence of the magistrate from the Bucharest Court of Appeal on the list of proposals approved by the Government for the post of Romanian judge at the European Court of Human Rights. However, the result of this selection had been made public by the Romanian Government three months earlier, on 19 October 2022.
In a reply to the same publication, sent on 31 January, the Ministry of Justice states that the decision on the list of candidates for ECHR judge was taken at the Government meeting of 18 January 2023, which would justify the summoning of the judge to the Ministry on 19 January.
G4Media journalists continued their investigation and revealed on 1 February that there was no document related to these appointments to the ECHR on the agenda of the publicly communicated government meeting of 18 January. Furthermore, on the Government’s website, the announcement of the meeting of 19 October 2022 was changed so that it no longer included the memorandum on the ECHR. However, the information remained in that day’s press pick-up.
On the same day, the Government came back with clarifications that the 19 October decision would have been postponed and that the then announcement was a „material error”. And at the meeting of 18 January, the memorandum on judges for the ECHR was reportedly discussed in the confidential documents section. The government did not provide any explanation for the sudden secrecy of the document, although it was public in October.
In view of the facts set out above, we note the following:
– There are reasonable suspicions that the Minister of Justice, Mr Cătălin Predoiu, had access to information from a pending file, a highly politically significant file.
– Mr Predoiu has not provided any reasonable explanation for the „unofficial sources” of his information.
– Coincidentally or not, Mr Predoiu entered into a direct dialogue with one of the judges in the case the day after he publicly admitted having information from the case.
– The Ministry of Justice and the Romanian Government have altered information in official communications, apparently in order to cover up the pretext invoked by Mr Predoiu for summoning the judge in question.
We believe that Mr Predoiu has gone far beyond his duties as a minister, and the whole development of the facts raises reasonable suspicions of an attempt to cover up political interference in the justice system.
In these circumstances, we consider that Mr Predoiu is morally incompatible with the position of Minister of Justice and we call for his immediate resignation.
Signatory organizations, members of the NGO Coalition for the Citizen
Centrul pentru Inovare Publică
CeRe: Centrul de Resurse pentru participare publică
Donează lunar pentru susținerea proiectului G4Media
Donează suma dorită pentru susținerea proiectului G4Media
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