Saturday

30th Apr 2016

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.

News in Brief

  1. Netherlands funds €1.3mn Russian media project
  2. Fake euros network dismantled in Bulgaria
  3. Inflation negative in eurozone in April
  4. EU economy registers 0.5% growth in first quarter
  5. Eurovision says No to Kosovo, Palestine, IS flags
  6. EU to decide on future of tobacco agreement 'soon'
  7. Russia blames Sweden for frosty relations
  8. UN chief warns of 'growing xenophobia' in Europe

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Roundtable of IndustrialistsDigitising European Industry
  2. Counter BalanceParliament Gets Tough on Control EU Bank's Funds
  3. ICRCSyria: Aleppo on the Brink of Humanitarian Disaster
  4. CESIWorld Day For Health and Safety at Work: Public Sector Workers in The Focus
  5. EFABasque Peace Process-Arnaldo Otegi Visits the European Parliament
  6. EscardioChina Pays Price of Western Lifestyle With Soaring Childhood Obesity
  7. Centre Maurits CoppetiersThe Existence of a State is a Question of Fact, Not a Question of Law
  8. Martens CentreJoin Us at The Event: Prospects For EU Enlargement After 2019
  9. ICRCSyria: Aid for Over 120,000 People Arrives in Besieged Town Near Homs
  10. Counter BalanceHighway to Hell: European Money Fuelling Controversial Infrastructure Projects
  11. EPSUResponds To Reported €300 Million McDonald’s Tax Bill in France
  12. Access NowAcademics and Privacy Groups Ask Obama to Reject Anti-encryption Law

Latest News

  1. EU fiscal rules, migrants and Belgium's trick
  2. EU should call out Bangladesh on workers' rights
  3. Kosovo: Living in a ghetto on the EU fringe
  4. War crimes law poisons Serbia accession talks
  5. Italy and Austria try to calm tensions on Alpine pass
  6. French MPs call to lift Russia sanctions
  7. EU sides with embattled Greek PM in bailout talks
  8. Former EU commissioners to testify in emissions probe