Monday, February 4, 2008

Romania Court Rules on Secret Files

01 February 2008
Bucharest _ Romanian civic activists have criticized a Constitutional Court ruling that limits the authority of the agency that oversees the files of Romania's communist-era secret police, the Securitate.

The Court said that on Thursday eveningn that parts of the law that established the Council for the Study of the Securitate Archives, CNSAS, were unconstitutional and, as a result, the Council needs to be abolished in its present form.

It found in favour of a legal challenge from Dan Voiculescu, a businessman and founder of the small Conservative Party, whom the CNSAS in 2006 declared to have been a Securitate informer.

"The Constitutional Court decision is blocking access to Romania's past, as the CNSAS would have a say only in whether files are published, but would no longer be able to disclose the names of Securitate collaborators", said Ioana Lupea, columnist at leading daily newspaper Evenimentul Zilei.

"This is not the first attack on the integrity of the authority. Over the past two years, there have been constant attempts to discredit this institution", Lupea added.

Although set up in 2000, it was not until five years later that the CNSAS began to receive its millions of Securitate files, after President Traian Basescu’s then new administration adopted a pro-active role.

Since then the CNSAS has ruled that a number of public figures, including former ministers, members of parliament, top clerics and journalists, had been Securitate informers.

The agency’s critics say its decisions have been politically motivated.

According to the constitution, parliament has 45 days to draft a new law in accordance with the Constitutional Court's ruling.

The much-feared Securitate relied on an estimated 700,000 informers to keep tabs on Romanians and foreigners.

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