Romanian Constitutional Court rules the President should dismiss chief of anticorruption directorate

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Series Details May 2018
Publication Date 31/05/2018
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On 30 May 2018, the Romanian Constitutional Court decided that Romanian President Klaus Iohannis must dismiss Laura Codruta Kovesi, chief of the Anticorruption Directorate (DNA).

Under Kovesi, DNA has investigated Romania’s lawmakers, ministers, mayors, magistrates and businessmen in recent years, exposing conflicts of interest and abuse of power in the country, whose corruption is seen among the highest in the EU. For her work against corruption, she has been praised by the EU Commission.

Justice Minister Tudorel Toader asked for the dismissal of Kovesi saying in her investigations she has exceeded her authority and her power.

According to Romanian legislation, the President has his final say on the approval or dismissal of the chief of the directorate in question. In this case, the President decided not to dismiss Kovesi since the accusation against her were deemed too thin.

The justice minister then went to the Constitutional Court and invoked a constitutional conflict between the Presidency and Government. On May 30th, the Constitutional Court said that it is not in the right of the President to deny the dismissal when the request comes from the Minister of Justice, as in the current case. Since the ruling from the Constitutional Court are binding, the President is supposed to issue a decree dismissing Kovesi.

The ruling has been criticized since it takes powers from the President, giving the Justice Minister the possibility to exercise more control over prosecutors.

Related Links
EurActiv, 31.05.18: Romania Constitutional Court orders President to sack chief anti-graft prosecutor
Reuters, 30.05.18: Romania's top court orders president to dismiss anti-graft prosecutor
Politico, 30.05.18: Romanian court rules president should dismiss corruption watchdog
Deutsche Welle, 30.05.18: Romanian court rules president must fire anti-corruption chief
Romania Insider, 30.05.18: Constitutional Court rules that president can’t refuse to revoke chief anticorruption prosecutor

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