Hundreds of magistrates have protested on the steps of the Bucharest Court of Appeal

19 dec. 2017 English Section
A.S. (translated by Cosmin Ghidoveanu)
Hundreds of magistrates have protested on the steps of the Bucharest Court of Appeal

Approximately 700 magistrates from several courts and prosecutor offices in the country have gathered yesterday on the steps of the Bucharest Court of Appeal. The prosecutors and the judges have protested in silence for an hour and others have kept in their hands the Constitution or sheets which had the magistrates' oath written on them. Similar protests were held in several towns.

Judge Dragoş Călin, who yesterday protested on the steps of the Court of Appeal of Bucharest against the legislative drafts for amending the laws of the judicial system and the legislative initiatives for the amendment of the Criminal code said that the protests organized by the magistrates has nothing to do with politics, but rather seek to preserve the dignity of the judicial system in Romania, which concerns the citizens.

He explained: "They have nothing to do with politics, absolutely nothing to do with it. They concern our career as magistrates and concern the dignified Romanian judicial system, which concerns the citizens first, and not the magistrate. A well paid magistrate with a judicial system that is very well designed and stable from the point of view of legislation is far more important for citizens than any other matter".

When asked about the message that magistrates who attended the protest wanted to send to the members of the parliament by lighting their phone lamps, the judge responded that it represented a hope and an invitation to dialogue.

We are here, we are capable to debate, it is your turn to act and not change the laws concerning the judicial system unilaterally. In a democratic state, those laws, that concern the rule of the law, are not devised exclusively by the political power, but rather concern first of all a dialogue with the magistrates".

Prosecutor Antonia Diaconu said that the MPs should take into consideration what the magistrates as well as the people are saying.

"Hope lasts eternal and we are tenacious by nature, so we have hope. For now it is not all lost, I keep thinking that those who are in the parliament should take into account what we, the ones who do the job are saying, as well as what the people are saying", said Diaconu, when asked about journalists if there was any hope for the magistrates to still be listened to, according to Agerpres.

The prosecutor explained that she has chosen to protest in order for the magistrates to be allowed to do their job unimpeded.

"We have come here in the citizens' interest, not necessarily for us, because we are doing our job everyday, but we would like to be left alone to do our job like we used to do until now, and the tools we have used so far to enact justice need to remain the same, in order to continue our activity unimpeded. We are here for a set of principles, to be able to enact justice and first of all for the citizens", said Diaconu.

When asked what she is going to do if the laws get passed, Antonia Diaconu responded: "We are hoping that they don't, because that's precisely why we have ended up here. As you well know, I don't think that after the Revolution there has been any protest by magistrates. So, that is why we're here, because we hope that those who now have the possibility to listen to us and the citizens to do it in such a manner that things go in the right direction".

According to the prosecutor, the law grants magistrates the right to protest.

"Magistrates aren't allowed to go on strike. But that's not what we're doing, we are just protesting, we have gathered on the stairs of the Palace of Justice and we are just protesting in silence, we haven't gone on strike, but the law doesn't prohibit us from protesting".

The Supreme Council of Magistrates yesterday sent the president of the Special Parliamentary Commission for the laws of Justice, Florin Iordache, an open letter in which they say that "the judicial system needs to remain a power of the state, of the honest people".

"Magistrates are that part of society which, beyond their status, when they are unhappy with something and act on some imminent and major dysfunctions in the system, caused by the initiation of new regulations, need to make them known through methods that would not affect the profession, the prestige, the interests for which justice is served. The judicial system needs to remain a power of the state, of the honest people, for all of us", said the president of the Supreme Council of Magistrates, Mariana Ghena.

Judges and prosecutors have in doing so expressed their discontent for the fact that the members of the parliament have ignored the point of view of the Supreme Council of Magistrates - which issued a negative opinion - on the amendments to the Criminal Code of Law and the Criminal Procedure Code.

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