Analysis 25 Oct 17

Romania Ruling Party Pushes Justice Bill Despite Opposition

The Social Democrat-led coalition’s justice bill has been handed to parliament despite warnings that it will curb the independence of the judicial system and could hurt the country’s standing in Europe.

Ana Maria Touma
BIRN
Bucharest
The Romanian parliament. Photo: Tim Adams/Flickr.

In the coming weeks, Romania’s parliament will start debating a controversial draft amendment to current justice laws, despite strong opposition from magistrates, civil society and diplomats, who warn that the bill threatens the justice system’s independence.

The proposed changes include removing the president from the process of naming chief prosecutors, subordinating chief prosecutors to the politically appointed justice minister and placing the Judicial Inspectorate - the main disciplinary body that controls the activity of magistrates - under the Justice Ministry’s control.

Such changes could be costly for Romania while its justice system and attitude to the rule of law are still being actively monitored by the European Commission.

The move could also be damaging for the ruling Social Democrats themselves, as they risk losing electoral ground by ignoring the mounting public pressure against the changes, analysts warn.

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