A Romanian judge who won a landmark case at the European Court of Human rights which ruled she had been unfairly disrobed on Wednesday called it „a historic victory for justice in Romania.”
The court ruled that Camelia Bogdan who was suspended from the judiciary in 2017 had been denied the right to defend herself in a case involving a media mogul who was handed a 10-year prison sentence for money laundering and fraudulently privatizing a state institute.
She sued Romania at the Strasbourg-based court after being disrobed and won her case on Tuesday.
„The victory…. is a historic moment for justice in Romania. The European Court of Human Rights found that I had no way to challenge my suspension which came about through a procedure brought by Dan Voiculescu (the media mogul), through the Facias Foundation,” she said Wednesday.
„In the history of the rule of law, I don’t think there has ever been a case of a judge being held accountable by the criminal that she convicted to prison and who confiscated 100 million euros from the state budget,” she said in a statement released by the Ratiu Forum.
Camelia Bogdan won the Ion Ratiu prize for democracy offered by the Ratiu Family Charitable Foundation in 2018 for services to democracy.
In 2016, the Judicial Inspectorate asked the Supreme Council of Magistrates to disrobe Ms Bogdan saying she was disqualified from making a judgment in the case against Mr. Voiculescu, the then owner of the Antena media group.
Magistrates said that Ms Bogdan had been done paid work for the agriculture ministry which was one of the parties in the case against Dan Voiculescu.
The mogul was sentenced for money laundering and fraudulently privatizing an agricultural institute in 2014. As he was over 60 he was freed on parole after serving one-third of the sentence.
Ms Bogdan, 39, initially sued her dismissal in Romania and the Supreme Court ruled in her favor. However, she was disrobed a second time in 2018 after taking on a case for a colleague who was on leave and not giving him the case after his return. She has sued her second dismissal at Romania’s Supreme Court.
Camelia Bogdan said the damages in the fraudulent privatization came from 60 million euros in damages from the fraudulent sale_ he paid a fraction of the real value. The property that Mr. Voiculescu obtained in the sale was worth almost 40 million euros, she said. The state has recovered a fraction of the losses.
The prize she won in 2018 is given in honor of late Romanian politician Ion Ratiu and his „deep commitment to democracy” in Romania and globally. T
The prize includes a month’s grant at the Woodrow Wilson Center, giving the prize winner the chance to meet academics, and political and non-governmental figures.