17th Mar 2018

Romanian judges report death threats

  • The late, Communist-ear leader Ceaucescu's palace in Bucharest (Photo: steve_lynx)

The European Commission has expressed concerns that threats made against judges in Romania's constitutional court could undermine its independence.

EU justice commissioner Viviane Reding reassured Augustin Zegrean, the president of the court, that all political parties and government authorities are required to respect the independence of the judiciary.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"Let me recall that politicians must not try to intimidate judges ahead of decisions to be taken, nor attack judges when they take decisions they do not like," said Reding in a letter addressed to Zegrean on Tuesday (7 August).

Zegrean had told Reding in a previous letter on 3 August that a judge had complained about receiving death threats, targeting both the judge and the judge's family.

The court is to decide by 31 August whether a referendum, called by Prime Minister Victor Ponta, on ousting President Traian Basescu, was valid or not.

Aspazia Cojocaru, one of five judges at the court, also received death threats in early July ahead of another ruling.

Cojocaru filed a complaint about the threats at the prosecutor's office on 27 July.

The same day, the court adopted three decisions which Ponta did not like. The minister of justice then tried to get the judges kicked out.

The leader of the National Liberal Party, a Ponta coalition member, had also said in July the court is a sham and that parliamentary should throw out its members.

"Threats of removal and any other form of political pressure from the government can seriously affect the activity of the judges and of the Constitutional Court as a whole," wrote Zegrean in his letter to Reding.

The Venice Commission - an advisory body of the Council of Europe on constitutional matters - is following developments in the country and will adopt an opinion in October.

On Tuesday, commission chairman Gianni Buquicchio said he was "shocked" by the events.

The dispute comes despite promises by Ponta to Brussels to respect the rule of law. The European Commission will issue an updated progress report on Romania before the end of the year.

EU still unhappy with Romania's rule of law

Romanian ministers accused of corruption should resign and MPs should stop shielding themselves from anti-graft investigations, the EU commission plans to say.

EU told to create coalition against fake news

After almost two months of talks, a panel of experts set up by the EU commission have issued a series of recommendations on how to fight fake news or what they prefer to term 'disinformation'.

Poland defends judicial reforms, warns against EU pressure

Prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki presented the Commission with 94-pages of arguments backing Warsaw's controversial judicial reforms - while his EU minister warns that constant conflict with Brussels could stoke anti-European sentiment.


Why has central Europe turned so eurosceptic?

Faced with poorer infrastructure, dual food standards and what can seem like hectoring from western Europe it is not surprising some central and eastern European member states are rebelling.

News in Brief

  1. Sweden emerges as possible US-North Korean summit host
  2. Google accused of paying academics backing its policies
  3. New interior minister: 'Islam doesn't belong to Germany'
  4. Hamburg 'dieselgate' driver wins case to get new VW car
  5. Slovak deputy PM asked to form new government
  6. US, Germany, France condemn 'assault on UK sovereignty'
  7. MEPs accept Amsterdam as seat for EU medicines agency
  8. Auditors: EU farm 'simplification' made subsidies more complex

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceConmtroversial Turkish Azerbaijani Gas Pipeline Gets Major EU Loan
  2. World VisionSyria’s Children ‘At Risk of Never Fully Recovering', New Study Finds
  3. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMeets with US Congress Member to Denounce Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  4. Martens CentreEuropean Defence Union: Time to Aim High?
  5. UNESDAWatch UNESDA’s President Toast Its 60th Anniversary Year
  6. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Condemns MEP Ana Gomes’s Anti-Semitic Remark, Calls for Disciplinary Action
  7. EPSUEU Commissioners Deny 9.8 Million Workers Legal Minimum Standards on Information Rights
  8. ACCAAppropriate Risk Management is Crucial for Effective Strategic Leadership
  9. EPSUWill the Circular Economy be an Economy With no Workers?
  10. European Jewish CongressThe 2018 European Medal of Tolerance Goes to Prince Albert II of Monaco
  11. FiscalNoteGlobal Policy Trends: What to Watch in 2018
  12. Human Rights and Democracy NetworkPromoting Human Rights and Democracy in the Next Eu Multiannual Financial Framework

Latest News

  1. Brexit and trade will top This WEEK
  2. Dutch MPs in plan to shut EU website on Russian propaganda
  3. Four years on – but we will not forget illegally-occupied Crimea
  4. Evacuated women from Libya arrive newly-pregnant
  5. Merkel in Paris for eurozone reform talks
  6. Commission rejects ombudsman criticism over Barroso case
  7. Western allies back UK amid Russian media blitz
  8. Meet the European Parliament's twittersphere