135 anticorruption prosecutors question Romanian justice minister’s report on DNA head

135 of the 183 prosecutors from the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) have shown their support for the DNA chief prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi in the recent scandal that led to the justice minister’s decision to request her dismissal. Moreover, the prosecutors said the minister’s request is based on untruths, assumptions, and unverified press information.

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The 135 prosecutors said in a press release that they’ve filed at the Superior Council of Magistracy (CSM) a request to defend their professional reputation and the independence of DNA prosecutors. Their statement comes after two local news stations presented alleged evidence that anticorruption prosecutors fabricate evidence. The recent allegations have triggered many political reactions, especially from members of the ruling Social Democratic Party (PSD), which have finally led to the justice minister’s decision to ask the dismissal of DNA chief Laura Codruta Kovesi. The DNA chief prosecutor held a press conference to dismiss the allegations presented in the media.

In their statement, the DNA prosecutors said they’ve faced many attacks in recent years from the people they have investigated or sent to court, attacks that have directly affected their lives through “the negative emotional impact” on them and their families and friends.

“We have all chosen to continue to fight corruption and to follow our principles, being aware that the outcome of our work can be a positive element in the structure of the Romanian society, based on the ideas of normality, fairness, desire for evolution and progress,” reads the prosecutors’ release, cited by local Hotnews.ro.

Thus, they’ve requested the CSM to “find that all of these statements, some of which are of special gravity, are unfounded, being made only to discredit us professionally, to induce the public the idea that DNA prosecutors are abusive, unprofessional, devoid of any ethics.”

In the same press release, the 135 prosecutors said they disagree with the justice minister’s request to dismiss DNA chief prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi, which they say is based on untruths, assumptions, and unverified press information.

“The only purpose is to remove Laura Codruta Kovesi for the sole fault that she managed to administer this institution we are part of with much courage, tact and performance appreciated by many Romanian citizens, but also by the European and international community.”

“Let us all imagine that this approach by the minister of justice achieves its objective and, next week or two weeks from now, Laura Codruta Kovesi would be revoked. How could we continue to do what we do, how could we catch people involved in corruption when we know that, based on the logic of the justice minister, we could, at any time, be unjustly accused for our inquiries, for crimes of opinion, just for the simple reason that Romania’s image in the international space is affected by the phenomenon of corruption.”

They conclude their statement by saying that they can’t let this happen, and that choosing to remain silent would just mean that all their work was in vain.

Justice minister Tudorel Toader announced last Thursday that he has started the procedure to revoke Kovesi. He also presented a long report, which was published the next day on the Justice Ministry’s website. In her turn, the DNA chief prosecutor said she will “follow the legal procedure and be present, whenever needed, to answer, point by point, to all statements presented by the justice minister.”

The CSM’s prosecutors’ section is to discuss the minister’s request on Tuesday, February 27, and Laura Codruta Kovesi was also invited to the meeting, according to the local media.

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Romania Insider

27 February 2018

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