Laura STEFAN – Count down. Seven days remaining – Romanian criminal system disaster

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    After the 1st of February, the new codes will turn the justice system upside down. Although this signal has been sent through all the channels, being integrated in the CVM report as well, the government is refusing to make the necessary changes to the new Codes. The situation is more serious than we can imagine.

    The full English version of this EFOR Policy Brief will be available soon at expertforum.ro

    If the 1st of February passes without any resolution for the highlighted problems, the Romanian criminal system will suffer serious damage. Since the beginning of the year, Justice Livia Stanciu, the head of the High Court of Cassation and Justice, has demanded the government to adopt as quickly as possible emergency decrees for changing the weak elements of the codes. Her request has remained hitherto without answer, being added to the written petitions that the National Anticorruption Directorate and the Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism have sent to the Ministry of Justice for modifying the deficient elements.

    Today’s urgency is the resolution of the highlighted problems before the enactment of the codes. If the codes are enforced just for a day, the damages to the justice system will be irreparable. This is because criminal law functions on the principle of applying the more favourable legislation. Thus, a law enacted after the enforcement of the codes will not be able to resolve anything for the criminal acts committed up until that time.

    Thus:

    • There are different opinions regarding the interpretation of the „more favourable law”, signaling the incertitude of the system.
    • The punishments provided for crimes against patrimony have been lowered. Thus more cases can be prescribed.
    • Intercepting phone calls becomes unproductive – both the National Anticorruption Directorate and the Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism have criticized the legislative solution that allows using interceptions only after starting a criminal prosecution, as this provision blocks the investigation of high level corruption.

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