Gov’t passes decree to declassify controversial SIPA archive

Gov’t passes decree to declassify controversial SIPA archive

PM Sorin Grindeanu announced on Wednesday that the Government had adopted the ordinance on declassifying the SIPA archive, as the topic was on the Government sitting’s additional agenda. SIPA was the justice ministry’s former secret service, and is currently amid huge scandal over who has studied this archive that was allegedly containing controversial information about magistrates.

According to the Government’s spokeswoman, Alina Petrescu, the Executive has adopted a decree on setting up a committee that will inventorize and deliver the documents in the SIPA archive to the institutions under the judiciary jurisdiction.

About ten days ago, Justice Minister Tudorel Toader has announced that he will publish the names of those who visited the SIPA archive and the number of visits, adding that the secret service’s documents are a ‘spot on the face of Romanian justice.’ And he did release them, you can read here and here.

As for the information actually enclosed in the archives, they will be revealed only in 2020, and only partially and under certain terms, as the Justice minister explained.

Minister Tudorel Toader stated that the SIPA archive contains more categories of information and the declassification will be conducted by a committee consisting in five members, which has a deadline of three years to conclude the inventory of all documents, but also to release the information to the Public Ministry, to the mass media and all interested persons, of course, considering the information category.

“There are a lot of information categories in the archive. We’ll treat them accordingly, the information on the magistrates’ private life, information considered top confidential, information on the activity of the National Penitentiary Agency’s staff, on the work secrets or on potential crimes,” the Justice minister said.

Toader explained that after the three-year period, the committee is to conclude the inventory, to release the information to the Public Ministry, to the mass media and to any interested physical or legal person, but with observing the regime of each category of information.

According to the minister, the regulatory document has all needed notices to be adopted.

On the other hand, judge Dana Gîrbovan, president of the National Judges Union from Romania, asked PM Grindeanu to not issue any government decree on declassifying the SIPA archive, voicing discontent that there has not been any public debate before the decision.

“I ask PM Grindeanu to not issue any government decree on the so called declassification of the SIPA archive, or, if has done it, to not send it to the Official Gazette. It’s not admissible for the Justice minister Tudorel Toader to propose a government decree related to this archive’s fate without previously consulting the magistrates and without a previous public debate,” Dana Gîrbovan posted on her Facebook page.

In retort, Gov’t spokesperson Alina Petrescu says that decree draft has been in public debate for almost a year.

“The decree on SIPA archive declassification has been on the Justice ministry’s website since last year, more precisely since July 25, 2016. The draft is still on the website, so the provision for public debate is met,” Petrescu said.

Former Justice minister Rodica Stanoiu makes controversial statement on a judge’s lover

On top of all this dispute, former Social Democrat minister of Justice, Rodica Stanoiu admitted during a TV show that she has received once an informative note, during her term as a minister, regarding a female judge’s extra-conjugal affair. Stanoiu, as a minister, wanted to promote that judge, to appoint her at the Supreme Court. Yet, Stanoiu has made conflicting statements, as she has claimed that SIPA archive didn’t contain such personal information on the magistrates or that she has received such compromising data about magistrates.

“I was informed one time. I met at the Court of Appeal a judge that I have been known since faculty, a very good student. And I told her, maybe I would propose you to the Superior Council of Magistracy for the High Court of Cassation and Justice (….) Soon after that, it was the only time, and it’s the only information of this kind that I have ever received from SIPA, I was informed that someone close to this lady judge would come and propose her to me for the Supreme Court, that, God forbid!, they were in some kind of relation,” Stanoiu said. Asked by the TV host if it was a love affair between them, the former minister answered she wouldn’t put it that way./IBNA