Constitutional Court’s decision against secret service wiretaps impacts criminal investigations in Romania

A recent decision of the Constitutional Court changes the rules for criminal investigations in Romania and may impact thousands of ongoing corruption and organized crime investigations as well as cases already sent to court.


The decision will also force local prosecution bodies hire more people and spend millions of euros on setting up their own technical surveillance departments and may delay some investigations until these departments become functional.

The Constitutional Court recently ruled that the Romanian Intelligence Service – SRI’s involvement in local criminal investigations was illegal. The Court’s motivation was that SRI’s role was only to ensure national security and that the service had no prerogatives in criminal investigations.

The main consequence of the Constitutional Court’s decision is that all the wiretaps the SRI made for ongoing investigations will become inadmissible as evidence in court. The wiretaps included in the files already sent to court that haven’t been judged yet will also become unusable.

The country’s biggest secret service has been providing technical support to the investigations carried out by anti-corruption and anti-organized crime prosecutors. The wiretaps made by SRI have provided the prosecutors with essential evidence for their cases.

Last year, SRI carried out almost 47,000 technical surveillance mandates, some 2,000 of which were related to corruption cases, according to Digi24 news station.

No law enforcement institution in Romania has the technical means and the necessary personnel to perform the wiretapping tasks that SRI has been doing.

The National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) and the Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT) both reacted saying that they needed more men and additional funds to carry on the technical missions that SRI has been doing.

DNA asked the Ministry of Justice to approve the move of 130 police workers to the directorate’s structure and extra budget of EUR 10.4 million to cover their training for technical surveillance missions as well as the logistics to carry out such missions. DNA made these estimates assuming that it would still be able to use SRI’s technical infrastructure for wiretapping, otherwise the costs would be much bigger.

DIICOT also announced that it needed 200 police workers to join its structure and some EUR 20 million to cover the costs related to technical surveillance. The directorate said that it didn’t have any technical means or specialized personnel for such operations.

The Romanian Police General Inspectorate (IGPR) also needs some 1,000 new people and EUR 30 million for technical surveillance. IGPR provides support for most of the structures subordinated to the Ministry of Justice in their investigations.

Romania Insider

9 March 2016