Ex-Romanian justice minister concedes he’ll be dropped from justice commission after damning ruling from European rights court

Foto: INQUAM/Octav Ganea

A former Romanian justice minister says he will be removed as one of the country’s two representatives at the Venice Commission, calling the request for his dismissal a politically motivated move.

The ex-minister Tudorel Toader said his impending removal came after a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights last month that Romania’s former anti-graft chief had been wrongly dismissed.

Toader engineered the dismissal of Romania’s then chief anti-graft prosecutor, Laura Codruta Kovesi.

Romanian Prime Minister Ludovic Orban last month said Toader was an  “embarrassment” as a member of the commission, the Council of Europe’s advisory body which help states wishing to bring their legal and institutional structures into line with European standards.

But Toader on Tuesday  called his forthcoming dismissal “a political request” by the current minority Liberal government.

Toader, a judge at the Constitutional Court, is one of Romania’s two members at the Venice Commission.  It is unclear who will replace him.

Reacting to the European court’s ruling in May, Toader said that he had merely carried out a job performance review and proposed Kovesi’s dismissal.

Critics however said Toader was politically motivated and acted as a tool of the then ruling Social Democrats who opposed her anti-corruption drive.

Toader distanced himself from her actual firing, saying that the Constitutional Court had ruled that she be removed and President Klaus Iohannis had signed off on the court’s ruling.

The European court said the Kovesi’s removal in 2018 had „defeated the very purpose of maintaining judicial independence” and must have had „a chilling effect” on the ability of magistrates to engage in public debate on legislative reforms.


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