European anti-corruption body calls Romanian judicial reform ‘global unsatisfactory’

Romania has made some progress in implementing judicial reform  but overall its performance remains “globally  unsatisfactory,” a European anti-corruption body said.

In a  report looking at Romania’s level of compliance with anti-corruption recommendations published Thursday, the Council of Europe’s anti-corruption body, GRECO,  said Romania has only implemented five of 18 recommendations from a 2015 evaluation  on issues related to the judicial reform.

Corruption

“Given the importance of these recommendations for the prevention of corruption among parliamentarians, GRECO underlines that more determined action is required implemented them,” a news release said.

It added that “some measures have been taken and more promising initiatives are underway which have the potential to rectify many of the pending shortcomings.”

Among the reforms is draft law on the status of Romanian magistrates envisages a more transparent procedure and more objective evaluation criteria for the appointment of prosecutors to the most senior posts, and deals with judges’ liability.

Judicial independence

The report said that the Supreme Council of the Magistrates should play a role and the  justice minister’s role in the appointment or revocation of the most senior prosecutors “should be diminished in order to provide for  judicial independence.”

It said that objective and clear criteria, based on merit and qualification, for the promotion of judges and prosecutors to higher positions need to be established.

GRECO

GRECO said it welcomed further strengthening of the supervisory powers of the Magistrates Council and of the Judicial Inspectorate and the carrying out of training and awareness-raising initiatives aimed at reinforcing, strengthening judicial integrity and providing for more uniform and swift disciplinary procedures in the judiciary.

GRECO asked Romanian authorities to provide an update on measures taken to implement the pending recommendations by 31 March 2022.

The Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) is a Council of Europe body that aims to improve the capacity of its members to fight corruption by monitoring their compliance with anti-corruption standards.

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