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President Iohannis rejected to remove from office Laura Codruta Kovesi as Chief Prosecutor of DNA

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President Klaus Iohannis announced on Monday that he does not remove from office Laura Codruta Kovesi as Chief Prosecutor of the National Anti-corruption Directorate (DNA). "The reasons for the removal from office presented by the justice minister were not such as to convince me. Moreover, for the most part, they do not even correspond to the applicable legal provisions. In conclusion, I will not follow through the justice minister's proposal to remove from office Mrs. Kovesi, Chief Prosecutor of DNA," Iohannis stated at Cotroceni Presidential Palace.

At the same time, the head of state specified that the Justice Ministry and CSM had "completely opposite conclusions" on this matter. "Mid-February, the justice minister forwarded me a proposal, the proposal to remove from office DNA [National Anti-corruption Directorate]'s Chief prosecutor, alongside the report regarding DNA's management activity. This proposal is just a first step of a procedure wherein, according to the law, the President has the last say. (...) Mid-March, I also received CSM [the Superior Council of Magistrates]'s opinion, CSM however reached a completely different opinion than Mr. minister's so-called report. CSM's opinion (...) was a negative one. Through CSM's constitutional role, as a guarantor of the Justice's independence, this opinion cannot be treated as a simple optional, additional element. Even if the opinion is not binding, on no account can it be ignored. I therefore notice that in the analysis of the same actions or lack of actions and in enforcing the same legal texts, two state authorities, the minister/the Justice Ministry and CSM, respectively, reach diametrically opposite conclusions," Iohannis showed.

He also said that once notified of the justice minister's proposal and after receiving CSM's opinion, he requested an analysis and several proposals from the specialist Departments of the Presidential Administration. 

"Examining the reasons why the justice minister is requesting the removal from office of the DNA's head, I have found that the author of the report which accompanied the proposal considers the document to be, I quote 'a stance' as to last year's public debates, which clearly conveys the perception that the justice minister's assessment can be subjective. This perception is also strengthened by the presence in the so-called report of certain aspects regarding the justice minister's professional career," Iohannis added. 

According to the head of state, some of the reasons substantiating the proposal for the removal from office rely on "data and information which are either not relevant, or are outside the interval announced by the minister as being under assessment."

"Some of the Judicial Inspection's reports, CSM's or the Constitutional Court's rulings have been interpreted and used by the justice minister in a sense at least different from their content," Iohannis showed.

He also said the document that will be sent to the Justice Ministry will feature more about the technical speciality rationale behind his decision. 

In this document, also placed at the disposal of the media by the Presidential Administration, the head of state says that "the systematic assessments carried out by internal authorised institutions as well as by the European or international ones positively appreciated the DNA's activity and management, covering a far longer interval than the one subject to the report regarding the National Anti-corruption Directorate's management activity.

Justice Minister Tudorel Toader announced on 22 February that he would launch the procedure to remove from office the Chief Prosecutor of the National Anti-corruption Directorate, Laura Codruta Kovesi for "acts and deeds intolerable in a rule of law."

The Section for Prosecutors of the Superior Council of Magistracy (CSM) issued a negative opinion on 27 February to Justice Minister Tudorel Toader's proposal to remove from office DNA's Chief Prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi.



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