Monday

26th Jun 2017

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.

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.

"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.

Border management going virtual

EU leaders at a summit in Brussels are set to endorse new border control measures, while the head of a Tallinn-based EU agency predicts a future where border management goes virtual.

Interview

EU visa waiver unlikely to import Ukraine crime

Visa-free travel, which began last week, unlikely to prompt a Ukrainian crime wave, an EU police expert has said, but Ukraine itself is seeing increases in lawlessness.

Opinion

Why Schengen deserves to be saved

Far-right parties around Europe have managed to turn the passport-free Schengen area into a game of political hot potato despite its numerous benefits.

News in Brief

  1. Seasoned finance minister takes over Dutch coalition talks
  2. British PM closes government deal with Northern Irish party
  3. Merkel on collision course with US at G20 summit
  4. Schulz outlines German election strategy, hits out at Merkel
  5. Berlusconi's party sees comeback in Italian local votes
  6. Low turnout in Albanian election set to mandate EU future
  7. Merkel and Macron hold symbolic joint press conference
  8. Juncker has 'no' clear idea of kind of Brexit UK wants

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Malta EU 2017Conservation of Atlantic Tunas: International Measures Become EU Law
  2. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceCan Statin Therapy Interfere With a Physically Active Lifestyle?
  3. EPSUOn Public Services Day, Stop Austerity! Workers Need a Pay Rise!
  4. EGBAOnline Gambling: The EU Court Rejects Closed Licensing Regimes In Member States
  5. World VisionFaces of Today, Leaders of Tomorrow: Join the Debate on Violence Against Girls - 29 June
  6. ECR GroupThe EU Must Better Protect Industry from Unfair Competition
  7. Malta EU 2017Better Protection for Workers From Cancer-Causing Substances
  8. EPSUAfter 9 Years of Austerity Europe's Public Sector Workers Deserve a Pay Rise!
  9. Dialogue PlatformGlobalised Religions and the Dialogue Imperative. Join the Debate!
  10. UNICEFEU Trust Fund Contribution to UNICEF's Syria Crisis Response Reaches Nearly €200 Million
  11. EUSEW17Bringing Buildings Into the Circular Economy. Discuss at EU Sustainable Energy Week
  12. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceCan an Ideal Body Weight Lead to Premature Death?