The European Commission’s Report on Romania’s progress under the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM) is one of the most critical of the last ten years. Given the repeated attacks of the PSD – ALDE government against the justice system, the harshness of the conclusions is not surprising.
The mandate of the former Justice Minister Tudorel Toader is sharply criticized. As is the activity of the CSM (Superior Magistrates Council), under the leadership of Lia Savonea, as well as the attempts of the Special Section for the Investigation of Crimes of Justice to abusively extend their competences, as well as the changes brought to the justice laws and criminal codes. And, on top of that, the verdict that Romania does not meet the conditions for the CVM to be lifted, whereas Bulgaria does!
In this context, it is important to remember that for a long time, especially between 2009 and 2017, the CVM reports were predominantly positive. For years, the Bulgarians were the ones who failed the exam, while we passed it cum laudae. It is something we should not forget, because it allows us to understand even better how much we have regressed in this field which, for a long time, provided spectacular results. But especially because it paves the way for the answer to an essential question: who was this useful for?
What the CVM report says is, to a large extent, what all those who have been watching the repeated blows to most justice institutions already know. From this point of view, the document is rather an inventory of the ‘war damages’ registered in the third year of a regime that has set itself as a goal, programmatically, to bring magistrates under the control of politicians again and to thwart their attempts to hold accountable criminals who belong to the ranks of politicians or their accomplices.
What the CVM report does not say, however, is who really benefits from the dramatic changes in the way the justice institutions function. This is because these changes were made with a purpose, and this has almost been achieved.
As the analysis published by Universul.net shows, the visible beneficiary of the reorganization of the institutional mechanisms of the justice system, from 2017 until now, is Lia Savonea, who “controls, or can influence to a considerable extent, the decisions of no less than six institution in the justice system: the SCM, the High Court of Cassation and Justice, the Constitutional Court, the Bucharest Court of Appeal and the Judicial Inspection and Special Criminal Investigation Section of Justice. „
But it is just the tip of the iceberg. Underneath, in the dark corners of the justice, politics and business fraternities set up by former intelligence officers, there is a whole army. There is no doubt that Savonea would not have been able to expand her network as much had she been on her own. She is assisted at all times by a whole network of politicians and former magistrates, who have lost their functions in the process of purifying the justice system which started after Romania’s accession to NATO and the EU. But also by former heads of the intelligence structures, who were removed from the institutions they had been running, most often for acts of corruption.
Regaining control over the justice system, which they have lost since 2005, would allow them not only to clean up their conviction records, not only to demand the return of the confiscated money, but also to become active again in the ‘power games’ and to reclaim their right to have a say in politics and in the country’s big decisions.
Do you think it’s an exaggeration? Read first how Lia Savonea and the commando behind her got their hands on almost every major justice institution, and understand for yourselves what the consequences would be if she manages to grab all the pieces on the chess board of the judiciary, on which she is currently moving as she pleases. Like a queen.
Lia Savonea’s ascension began when Vanghelie-Voicu-Mitica Iliescu’s network was entirely made available to Liviu Dragnea. In particular, that of the justice system.
We wrote in December 2018, „it is enough to look at the latest blows given by Liviu Dragnea to justice to see that they carry the signature of Lia Savonea, the former president of the Bucharest Court of Appeal, who heads the pro-PSD group of the Superior Magistrates Council.
Both the decision made against the companies set up by Gabriela Firea, Dragnea’s most vocal opponent in the PSD, as well as the one that blocked the activity of the five-judge panels of the High Court, were given by magistrates who had a very close relationship to Lia Savonea.
At first glance, the former head of the Court of Appeal looks like just another magistrate fallen into the net of the PSD chief who has dealt a blow to the head of the High Court simply to take her place. In fact, she has a strong position in a network that has long had an extraordinary influence on the justice sysyem. A network that is a center of power in itself. And that is in a partnership with Dragnea, probably temporary one, and not one of subordination.
Lia Savonea’s husband was a colleague of Cătălin Voicu in a law firm, the PSD senator sentenced to seven years in prison for corruption, but also of Cezar Bivolaru, Marian Vanghelie’s lawyer. In order to understand the strength of the network which he is a part of, we must go back in time. In 2009, when there was an unprecedented attempt to block the result of the presidential elections.
On December 10, 2009, the PSD submitted to the Bucharest Court of Appeal a request to suspend the minutes drawn up by the Central Electoral Office regarding the outcome of the presidential elections. At that time Lia Savonea was vice-president of the Bucharest Court of Appeal, while the president was Dan Lupașcu, another PSD magistrate.
Cătălin Voicu acknowledged that he had an important contribution to that action in court which was meant to invalidate the election of Traian Basescu. On December 11, Voicu was „summoned” to the DNA, where he was asked questions about the influence trafficking he exercised in court.
Later, the transcript of a discussion in which the PSD senator boasted about his own performance appeared in the press: “F..k Geoana and all his Americans who he brought to the Supreme Court, on grounds that many have files (…) Many! Yes sir, I solved them all, and where I couldn’t solve them, I suspended them, so they did not end with prison sentences.”
It;s not even possible today to say precisely what would have been the result of the request made by the PSD at the court led by Lupașcu and Savonea, if Voicu had not been seized in the streets on December 11 and taken to the DNA. Certainly, it would be just as absurd a decision to block the election of Traian Basescu as it is today the one through which Bucharest Court of Appeal blocked the five-judge panels from the High Court, in violation of the decision of the Constitutional Court.
Was Mircea Geoana the head of Voicu – Vanghelie network? No way. And neither is Dragnea the head of Voicu – Vanghelie – Savonea network. He is an employer who has promised that he will pay good money for the services he benefits from. But the fact that the PSD chief has resorted to his enemy’s commando of mercenaries in robes to escape condemnation is very relevant.
It shows that the will of these criminal networks to defeat the state has reached its peak. That nothing is above this common cause. Neither the pride, nor the resentments. They would do anything to save their skin and beat their opponents. Since 2009, Dragnea and Vanghelie have permanently been in opposing camps. Dragnea was with Oprea, Maior, Coldea, Vanghelie wanted to dominate them and he got to be hunted by them. Today, they are on the same side of the fence brought together by a set of common enemies.
The brotherhood of Dragnea and Vanghelie is relevant because it shows the whole landscape. One scary thing: the brotherhood of all the networks that have been kept at bay in the last 13 years. Internal and external. That is where the force of Dragnea comes from, apparently inexplicably. Through his hand, thousands of other hands deal blows to the rule of law and justice. That is why, even if he wanted to, he could not stop (…) ”
Dragnea is in prison, but the assault on justice continues. Savonea is marching towards her final goal, the seizure of all key institutions, as if the conviction of the former PSD leader was just the corpse of a hamster in the path of a Panzer.
The thousands of hands, seen and unseen, that temporarily supported Dragnea will not stop striking the justice system and the rule of law, no matter how harsh the CVM reports are. Remember that in their glory days, they did not give a damn about what the Europeans or Americans said.
Just as Rodica Stănoiu defied the US Embassy when Ambassador Michael Guest condemned the complicity of magistrates with the corrupt officials, Lia Savonea does not care that Ana Birchall is strongly supported by the US Attorney General. From this point of view, after 15 years, we are back at square one.
And more concretely, we went back to the point that was so painful for Cătălin Voicu when he said “F..k Geoana and all his Americans, who he brought to the Supreme Court.” Geoana went to NATO, but Cătălin Voicu is here among us. And the next target of the envoy that he and others sent to the justice frontline, the mafia Panzer, is exactly the total recovery of the most important stronghold they lost after 2009: the High Court of Cassation and Justice.
In such a case, as the analysis published today concludes, „by 2020, at the end of four rounds of elections, if the current opposition reaches power, it could find, helplessly, that one of the powers of the state, the judicial one, is already a state within a state. With Lia Savonea as Empress.”
Dan Cristian Turturică is the Editor-in-chief of Universul.net. He has been working as a journalist for 30 years. During the last 19 years, he was the editor-in-chief of ”Evenimentul zilei” and ”Romania libera” daily newspapers, and of Digi24.ro news website. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org