The Council of Europe’s Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) mentions the classified protocols concluded between the General Prosecutor’s Office and the Romanian Intelligence Service in the compliance report on Romania released on Tuesday, a CoE spokesperson told AGERPRES on Tuesday, in response to a statement by Chairman of the Romanian Senate Calin Popescu-Tariceanu.
Tariceanu, who is also the national leader of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE), minor at rule, wrote on Facebook that GRECO experts „had nothing to say about revelations of the last years,” mentioning secret protocols or court cases built on order.
In the compliance report assessing progress in implementing measures recommended in 2015 to prevent corruption in respect of MPs, judges and prosecutors, released on Tuesday, GRECO is concerned over the continuing political tensions in Romania over the reforms in the justice system, with its potentially detrimental consequences to combating corruption.
In a footnote to this conclusion mentioned by the CoE spokesperson, GRECO notes with regret that the recent publication of classified protocols concluded between the National Prosecutor’s Office and the Romanian Intelligence Service raised questions as to the independence of the prosecution and the admissibility of evidence obtained in numerous anti-corruption cases, thus undermining the credibility of previously highly-praised anti-corruption efforts.
GRECO refers to the Constitutional Court decision No. 26/2019 of 16 January 2019, where it is noted that such practices infringe upon the legal security of citizens and ordered all prosecutors’ offices and courts of the land to verify in all pending trials if criminal procedural rules have been observed and ‘to take appropriate legal measures’.
Romania has made very little progress to put in place measures to prevent corruption among parliamentarians, judges and prosecutors and to address the concerns raised by its controversial judicial reform, says GRECO in two reports published on Tuesday, adding that it is deeply concerned by the fact that the authorities have disregarded the recommendation to abandon the setting-up of the section for the investigation of the offences in the judiciary.
Consequently, GRECO calls on the Romanian authorities to take determined action to achieve tangible progress as soon as possible. It welcomes, in this context, that on 4 June the Romanian Prime Minister announced the intention to abandon the controversial judicial reforms.
In its report assessing Romania’s progress with implementing measures recommended in 2015 to prevent corruption in respect of MPs, judges and prosecutors, GRECO concludes that Romania has only fully complied with four of thirteen recommendations, whilst it has partly implemented three and not implemented six.
In a follow up report evaluating compliance with the recommendations issued in an ad hoc report concerning the judicial reform prepared under its urgent evaluation procedure in 2018, GRECO finds that the Romanian authorities have only implemented one out of five recommendations.