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The link between Toader’s Decree and Dragnea

The link between Toader’s Decree and Dragnea

With the newly adopted emergency decree, Liviu Dragnea takes one of the last steps towards the takeover of the Prosecutor’s Office, setting a specific deadline for the completion of the operation: 45 days. The media and pundits have veered into technical explanations, but the purely political nature of the emergency decree is worth highlighting.

We are a little past mid-February and the Government has created all the necessary premises for the following: in the first part of April, less than two months before the European Parliament elections, the leadership of the General Prosecutor’s Office and the DNA will be under the control of the PSD-ALDE majority .

By limiting interim appointments to 45 days, by moving the procedure for the approval of the positions of Chief Prosecutor from the SCM Prosecutor’s Office to the SCM plenary, by introducing the “novelty” that judges who used to be prosecutors are now able to run for the Prosecutor’s Office, Dragnea created the framework necessary for appointing his people at the head of institutions that check the freedom, money, and power of high profile (corrupt) individuals.

An indication that prospective chief prosecutors have already been selected is to be found in the amendment that allows judges who used to be prosecutors to run for a prosecutor’s office. A seemingly meaningless change, contradicting current procedures and theory, which insisted on the idea of separating judges’ career from that of prosecutors.

The only plausible explanation for this development is that ideal candidates for the General Prosecutor’s Office, for DNA, or other senior management office in the prosecutor’s offices are already identified among the judges, and the positions are opened. It would not be the first change operated with a particular person in mind. Also, by yesterday’s decree, Tudorel Toader changed the seniority requirements for promotion to the Supreme Court so that judge Alina Ghica, for example – who is friendly to Dragnea’s files – could get there.

Since the publication of the Emergency Decreein the Official Gazette, the prosecutors’ independence has 45 days left to live. After that, prosecutors will officially enter the Dragnea era. The clock is ticking and President Klaus Iohannis will be obliged to appoint the proposals tabled by Tudorel Toader at the end of this term. The PSD leader stressed on Tuesday that „the president must exercise his prerogatives,” stating that he had discussed with Tudorel Toader the options to be followed in case of a new refusal to sign the appointment decrees for the head of the Prosecutor’s offices.

However, the minister of justice will be only Dragnea and Tariceanu’s postman. The PSD and ALDE leaders will tally their positions in the Prosecutor’s Office, just as Băsescu and Ponta did in 2013. Note Liviu Dragnea’s satisfaction on Tuesday evening, as he qualified Tudorel Toader’s decree as „good” and ‘necessary’.

„What is the connection between that decree and me?” Dragnea asked, commenting President Iohannis’ criticisms. The head of state said, in a Facebook post, that „the PSD Government wants to create emergency decrees with a special status for those who have legal problems.”

Why does this decree still help Dragnea in a very direct way? Prosecutors operate on the principle of hierarchical control. The Government did not operate by chance. Yesterday, it adopted yet another dedicated change through emergency decree, which blocks the possibility for the General Prosecutor to refute the acts of the special section, that are considered unlawful or ungrounded.

The Special Investigation Section for the magistrates has already requested three times the take-over of the Tel Drum file, on the grounds that magistrates involved were suspected of irregularities. By way of example, if the special section were to classify this file, the general prosecutor still in office or the next one, would not be able to intervene in any way, based on the principle of hierarchical control. This is also valid in the case of prosecutor Adina Florea’s procedures in the Kovesi case.

The change made by Toader’s OUG clearly violates a decision of the Constitutional Court of January 2018, which clearly established that the special section is not an autonomous structure, and the Chief Prosecutor of the Department is hierarchically subordinate to the Prosecutor General.

However, the Government has established through the Emergency Decree that „whenever the Code of Criminal Procedure or other special laws refers to the hierarchically superior prosecutor for offenses under the jurisdiction of the Section for the Investigation of Criminal Offenses, this means the Chief Prosecutor of the Section, including decisions made in a period previous to the decree”.

So, let us recapitulate: Prosecutors appointed within 45 days by Dragnea and Tariceanu, usurping the authority of the SCM’s Prosecutor section, which has hitherto rejected the proposals from the Ministry of Justice, and more autonomy granted to prosecutors from the special section that already acts as a weapon at the hands of the powers that be.

What is still needed for the Government Emergency Decree adopted yesterday to qualify as „Dragnea’s prosecutors”? The Decree sanctions the official end of fight against corruption and the beginning of the Era of Revenge, especially if the PSD leader gets to appoint his stooges at the top of the prosecutor’s office. He would no longer need amnesty or pardon, nor any other changes to the Penal Codes. Criminal justice will be at his feet, through direct control over the Prosecutors’ Offices and through the infernal pressures exerted on the courts with the help of the Judicial Inspection and the Special Section for the Investigation of Magistrates.

Even Tariceanu should not rejoice at the Government Emergency Decree adopted yesterday. He will be among the first to be hit by Dragnea’s prosecutors. The PSD leader only needs a single move on his way to absolute power: the dismissal of the SRI chief, Eduard Hellvig, and taking control of the secret service.

If he is going to take this step, who can stop them from massively cheating in the elections, since there will be no institution to fear? Today, we no longer talk in literary tropes. The advent of a Republic of Thugs is a clear and present danger.

Unfortunately, everything is happening in an unfavorable external context for Romania, when the response capacity of the Western partners is very low. Brussels is preparing for elections and the Trump administration has completely changed the approach in relation to the autocratic regimes in Eastern Europe, showing more tolerance to deviances in Hungary or Romania.

Traducerea: Ruxandra Stoicescu

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