Monday, June 25, 2007

Romania Justice Minister Rejects Corruption Charge

Source: BIRN

25 06 2007 Bucharest __ Romania’ Justice Minister, Tudor Chiuariu, on Monday accused his former colleague, Monica Macovei, of “positioning herself against Romania’s real interests” following her criticism of the alleged lack of real reform in justice.

Chiuariu’s comments came after Macovei, a former justice minister who lost her job in April due to bickering among top politicians, on June 24 presented an independent study accusing the authorities of delaying fraud trials, and of “institutionalised corruption”.
Chiuariu said that Macovei’s comments were wrong, recalling that in early May parliament unanimously adopted a law to establish a National Integrity Agency, ANI, whose main aim is to monitor the wealth of politicians. “This type of institution is unique in Europe and shows the country’s commitment in fighting corruption,” the Justice Minister said.

The disputes between Chiuariu and Macovei have come at a critical time for Bucharest, which is anxiously waiting a monitoring report from the European Comission. The EU report, the first on Romania and Bulgaria since they joined the bloc on January 1, is scheduled for Wednesday.

While previous comments suggested Romania risked crossing EU justice tripwires if it did not register more progress in fighting corruption and consolidating the legal system, a today report from Radio France International, RFI, suggests the contrary.

RFI quoted excerpts from the EC document, which said that despite clear shortcomings, “Romania has made progress in reforming its judiciary”.

The EC Commission is concerned mainly about the independence of ANI, which should function as of October. Other worries voiced in the report concerned property restitution.

Reforming justice was the most important pre-requisite for Romania before it joined the EU. In recent years, the Balkan country has taken important measures of fighting crime and corruption and carrying out administrative reforms.

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