On Thursday evening, Romania’s Justice Minister Tudorel Toader announced the decision to dismiss the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) chief, Laura Codruta Kovesi, for “acts and deeds incompatible to a state of law”, as cited on romaniajournal.ro.
Minister Toader said: “Under the provisions of article 54, paragraph 4 in conjunction with 51 (2) (b) of Law 303/2004 on the Status of Judges and Prosecutors, I initiate the procedure for the dismissal of the DNA chief prosecutor. The report, accompanied by the proposal to revoke the DNA Chief Prosecutor, will be forwarded to the Superior Council of Magistracy (CSM) and to the President of Romania to analyze and decide in accordance with the constitutional competencies”.
He added that “the DNA does not identify with its chief prosecutor, Laura Codruta Kovesi, whose actions have shown that can endanger the institution, through excessive authority, discretionary behaviour, defiance of Parliament’s authority, the role and powers of the Government, contesting the decisions of the Constitutional Court and its authority.”
“Only mutual respect can lead to the establishment of mutually accepted practices that are in line with the European constitutional heritage, which allows a country to avoid and to overcome the possible crises – the Venice Commission has said in one of its opinions. Both the prevention and the fight against corruption must continue. The rule of law is the state in which the action of each public authority is regulated by law, is subject to the law, and observes the spirit of democratic values and of respect to human rights. No one is above the law. Good things do not justify the bad ones”, the competent minister added.
The opposite side – Prosecutor General Augustin Lazar
According to the Romanian Prosecutor General, Augustin Lazar who supports chief prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi, “there is no grounded reason to recall” her.
Speaking to RFI, Lazar noted that, “There is no grounded reason to recall DNA chief prosecutor, who is clearly working within the law. It’s obviously the most exposed position. She is the spearhead of the Public Ministry in the fight against corruption and due to this, it’s easy to understand that all criticism is against the helm of DNA. We notice that defendants with resources, people who have considerable financial resources and who are called to answer for their deeds, have the capacity of publicly speaking at TV shows, in the attempt of producing a certain emotion and to somehow influence those who should solve files. There are files that are ready to be judged in first court, some are getting to appeals and to final rulings. They are taking a gamble on their last chance. Therefore, the activity of the DNA leadership is clearly performing”.
Only a week ago, other headlines read, “Romania anti-corruption chief hits out at critics” (FT) and “Romania’s Anti-Corruption Boss Vows to Fight On” (Emerging Europe).
Laura Codruta Kovesi had held an extraordinary presser on February 14 explicitly saying she would not resign or kneel down under the political pressure against her.
“I have no reason to resign,” Ms Kovesi told journalists (Emerging Europe). “The justice system has been under attack for a year. And look who is attacking it: the accused, those sent for trial. People with the money and the resources to discredit this institution. These people want to bring the justice system to its knees, and to humiliate Romanian society and the Romanian people.”
Seven days later, there are headlines such as the two that follow: “Romania corruption battle exposes the limits of EU’s influence” read the Financial Times, whereas business-review.eu reads “Kovesi’s future at the helm of the DNA, in the hands of president Klaus Iohannis”.
Indeed, her future lies in the hands of the country’s President, Klaus Iohannis who, from the very beginning of the proposed anti-corruption bills, was against them. What lies ahead remains to be seen… .../IBNA