Analysis 22 May 17

Move to Publish Intelligence Files Divides Romania

Plans to declassify secret files that belonged to the Justice Ministry have caused a dispute - with some claiming they should be destroyed as they contain forgeries and inaccuracies.

Ana Maria Touma
BIRN
Bucharest
Romanian Justice Minister Tudorel Toader. Photo: Romanian government

Last week’s announcement by Romanian Justice Minister Tudorel Toader - that he intends to declassify the secret archive of an intelligence agency that operated within the Justice Ministry in the past - has triggered hot debate among politicians and judges.

Toader made the statement on Monday. After it generated heated public discussion, he explained on Friday that only those documents classified as “restricted access” would be made public, not those labelled “secret” and “top secret.”

The files belong to the Independent Service for Protection and Anti-corruption, SIPA, which was set up in 1991 to keep track of illegal activities in Romanian prisons. In 1997, the agency was placed under the direct control of the Justice Minister, who wanted SIPA to handle the protection of magistrates.

However, after the media revealed that former communist secret police officers had been running the service, and claimed the service had been blackmailing judges, the Justice Ministry moved to reorganise SIPA in 2004.

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