CVM draft report appreciative of DNA and ANI, critical of Parliament, sees CCR as major arbiter

The National Integrity Agency (ANI) and the National Anti-corruption Department (DNA) are the judicial institutions that earned commendation in the draft CVM report of the European Commission due for release on Wednesday, January 22, while Parliament is subject to criticism and the Constitutional Court Romania (CCR) is seen as „a major arbiter at the heart of the rule of law.”

„The challenge to the authority of the Constitutional Court of Romania in summer 2012 has not been repeated, and [the institution] has rather consolidated its role as an important arbiter. The Court will continue to have a key role in defending key principles like the separation of powers, including any future discussion on Constitutional change,” reads the CVM draft report .

The document also mentions the debate over the amendment of the Constitution, underscoring that the opinion of the Superior Council of the Magistracy must be taken in consideration.

„With the Constitutional debate expected to return this year, it will be important to ensure that the Superior Council of the Magistracy has the opportunity to comment on all areas relevant to the judiciary. In particular, care will be needed to exclude changes which increase the opportunity for politicians to influence the judicial leadership or challenge judicial independence or authority. For this reason, the commitment of the government to consult the Venice Commission in particular is an important sign of Romania’s commitment to base any future Constitutional change on European norms,” notes the document.

In connection with the observance of court rulings, the draft report remarks that since July 2012, the judiciary has more than once had to refer to the Constitutional Court, following unwillingness of the Parliament to terminate mandates as a result of final court decisions on incompatibility of a parliamentarian. The document cites the most recent CCR ruling on this subject, handed down in November 2013, but which has still not been followed by any action by the Senate.

With regard to the National Integrity Agency (ANI), the document reads that over the past year, the institution has continued to consolidate its track record, but mentions that „ANI and its management have faced a series of attacks and criticisms, which have often seemed to coincide with ANI cases against senior political figures. The National Integrity Council has proved its value as an oversight body capable of explaining ANI’s mandate and intervening publicly when required.”

ANI has become more established as an institution, with the government supporting improved resources to ensure its effective functioning. Its relations with other government agencies are key, and ANI has put in place a series of working agreements to govern these relations — even if some of these bear more fruit than other, the draft report further reads, adding that ANI’s rulings are often challenged in court, and there have also been cases where „Parliament has proved unwilling to implement an ANI ruling even when supported by a court decision.”

„A government proposal to amend the ANI law would therefore need to strengthen and consolidate ANI’s role as an important test of political willingness to maintain an effective integrity framework in place,” reads the document.

In connection with the National Anti-corruption Department, the draft CVM report remarks DNA investigations having picked up speed, in the context of substantial improvements in court practice. (Agenţia Naţională de Presă AGERPRES)

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