Romania Names New Guardian of Justice

Judge Mircea Aron has been named the new president of the Superior Council of Magistracy, the body guaranteeing the independence of the judiciary in Romania.

Judge Aron1

Mircea Aron, 63, was elected head of the Superior Council of Magistracy, CSM, with 15 votes for and one against on Wednesday. At the same session, prosecutor Luminita Palade was elected vice-president.
The election of a new chief is seen as important because the CSM is the guarantor of the independence of the judiciary in Romania. Its task is to defend the professional reputation of magistrates and protect them from any act intended to curb or even to create suspicions about their independence or impartiality while administering justice.
A reputed magistrate, Aron rose through the ranks, serving as a judge at Romania’s main court, the Inalta Curte de Justitie si Casatie, for seven years before becoming a member of the CSM. In his application for the top post, Aron said he planned to run the Council in a transparent manner and ensure fair appointment procedures for senior positions with the Supreme Court and with the National Anti-Corruption Directorate, DNA. Aron said he also wants close cooperation with the European Union under the so-called Co-operation and Verification Mechanism, CVM, a monitoring mechanism set up by Brussels to help Romania to reform its legal system and combat corruption.
The EU, which Romania joined in January 2007, has long urged Bucharest to continue reforming the justice system – plagued by long delays in proceedings and alleged miscarriages of justice – and carry on the fight against corruption, particularly at the higher levels of the administration.

In recent years, the number of high-ranking officials investigated or sentenced for graft has increased significantly. In 2014, the DNA secured the convictions of 24 mayors, five MPs, two ex-ministers and a former prime minister, Adrian Nastase, not to mention more than 1,000 other individuals, including judges and prosecutors. Last year, another 15 MPs were investigated, four of them former ministers, including ex-Prime Minister Victor Ponta – plus the mayor of Bucharest, Sorin Oprescu, and many other low-ranking officials.

Balkan Insight 

07 January 2016