Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Romania Govt Backs Securitate Probe

06 February 2008
Bucharest _ Romania's government Wednesday approved a decree reversing a Constitutional Court decision to ban the agency probing the former secret police, the Securitate.

"The decree will allow the Council for the Study of Securitate Archives, CNSAS, to continue its current work. CNSAS will administer Securitate's archives although it will no longer have the right to determine whether an individual was an informer under communist rule", Marius Oprea, from the Prime Minister's office said.

Last week, the Constitutional Court ruled that parts of the law that created CNSAS were unconstitutional and, as a result, the Council needed to be abolished in its present form.

Although set up in 2000, it took five years for the agency to gain access to millions of Securitate files, when President Traian Basescu's new administration adopted a pro-active role.

Since then the CNSAS has concluded 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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