22nd Oct 2016

Strasbourg court waives immunity in Romanian corruption case

  • Gabriela Birsan is accused of taking jewellery for verdicts (Photo: suziesparkle)

The European Court of Human Rights on Wednesday (30 November) decided to waive the diplomatic immunity of its Romanian member, Corneliu Birsan, whose wife is being investigated for corruption.

Following a request from Romanian prosecutors, who had already searched a villa of the Birsan couple, the Strasbourg court decided to split Birsan's immunity and only waive the part that applies to his wife, Gabriela, "to the extent strictly necessary for the conduct of the investigation."

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Gabriela Birsan, a judge in Romania's supreme court, is being investigated for allegedly taking bribes, including jewellery and expensive trips abroad, in exchange for favourable verdicts.

Mid-October, prosecutors obtained a waiver of her national immunities from Romania's top magistrate council and subsequently searched one of the Birsans' homes. Her husband promptly invoked his diplomatic status as a judge with the European Court of Human Rights to block the inquiry. The court initially backed him and expressed its "concern" for not having been consulted on waiving his privileges.

The waiver does not apply to the Strasbourg judge himself, nor does it have a "retroactive effect", meaning that evidence gathered during the house search cannot be considered legal. It is unclear whether prosecutors will be able to search any of their joint property or bank accounts.

"We take note of the court's ruling. Our prosecutor dealing with the case is now analysing how to proceed further," a spokeswoman for the Romanian anti-corruption office told this website.

Romania's anti-corruption efforts are being closely monitored by the European Commission. Its report in February on this issue will be the main argument for the Netherlands to keep or lift its veto on Bucharest joining the border-free Schengen area.

News in Brief

  1. Canada and Wallonia end talks without Ceta deal
  2. Juncker hopes for Canada accord in 'next few days'
  3. Romania drops opposition to Ceta
  4. Difficulties remain on Ceta deal, says Walloon leader
  5. Brexit could lead to 'some civil unrest' in Northern Ireland
  6. ECB holds rates and continues quantitive easing programme
  7. Support for Danish People's Party drops, poll
  8. Spain's highest court overturns Catalan ban on bullfighting

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EFADraft Bill for a 2nd Scottish Independence Referendum
  2. UNICEFCalls on European Council to Address Plight of Refugee and Migrant Children
  3. ECTAJoin us on 9-10 November in Brussels and Discover the new EU Digital Landscape
  4. Access NowCan you Hear me now? Verizon’s Opportunity to Stand for Global Users
  5. Belgrade Security ForumMeaningful Dialogue Missing Not Only in the Balkans, but Throughout Europe
  6. EASPDJoin the Trip! 20 Years on the Road. Conference & Photo Exhibition on 19-21 October
  7. EuropecheEU Fishing Sector Celebrates Sustainably Sourced Seafood in EU Parliament
  8. World VisionWomen and Girls Urge EU Leadership to Help end Gender-based Violence
  9. Dialogue PlatformIs Jihadism Blind Spot of Western Intellectuals ? Wednesday 26 October
  10. Belgrade Security ForumGet the Latest News and Updates on the Belgrade Security Forum @BelSecForum
  11. Crowdsourcing Week EuropeMaster Crowdsourcing, Crowdfunding and Innovation! Conference 21 November - 10% Discount Code CSWEU16
  12. EJCEU Parliament's Roadmap for Relations with Iran a Massive Missed Opportunity