The Romanian Constitutional Court (CCR) ruled on Wednesday that President Klaus Iohannis should endorse the decision of the Minister of Justice, and dismiss the chief prosecutor of the Bucharest Anti-Corruption Prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi.
The decision of the Romanian Constitutional Court could have very serious consequences, not only by weakening the fight against corruption, but also by striking a blow to the independence of the judiciary.
On 22 February, Justice Minister Tudorel Toader called for the dismissal of Chief DNA Prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi, citing 20 intolerable acts and events related to her activity at the head of this important institution.
The prosecutors’ section of the Superior Council of Magistracy then issued a negative opinion on the request of the Minister of Justice and President Klaus Iohannis announced that he will not dismiss the head of the DNA. He justified his decision by saying that the arguments of the Minister of Justice were not convincing.
The Minister of Justice then went to the Constitutional Court and provoking a constitutional conflict between the presidency and the government. He argued that the Minister of Justice has the authority and the tools to make decisions about prosecutors and that the President had no way of assessing prosecutors’ activity.
The presidency had made it clear that it was the president who appointed the Chief Prosecutor of the DNA, at the proposal of the Minister for Justice. The President has the right to refuse an appointment that he considers unfit and therefore has the right to refuse to dismiss the DNA.
In Bucharest, thousands of people protested against the decision of the Constitutional Court, which asks President Klaus Iohannis to issue a decree of dismissal of the head of the National Anti-Corruption Directorate. The participants in the demonstration chanted slogans against the Constitutional Court and the main party of the government coalition, the PSD, which they accuse of wanting to stop the fight against corruption and subordinate the magistrates. Similar protests took place in Timisoara and in Sibiu.