February, 1st, 2017
No. 122/VIII/3

Press Release

The Council of Prosecutors of the National Anticorruption Directorate, together with the chief prosecutors within the central structure of the institution met in an extraordinary session to analyse the risks and impact upon the activity of DNA, a situation created in the evening of January 31st, 2017 following the passing of the Emergency Ordinance amending and adding to the Law 286A / 2009 with regards to the Criminal Code and Law no. 135/2010 regarding the Criminal Procedure Code.

The following risks resulted from the analysis:

The provisions of the Emergency Ordinance, if it comes into force, favour the people who will henceforth commit acts of abuse of office- deeds assimilated to those of corruption.
Additionally, the people already accused/prosecuted for abuse of office will also take advantage of these provisions. Given that these provisions fall under a more favourable criminal law, its enforcement, even briefly, will be in the benefit to the people already investigated or prosecuted.
1. By decriminalisation, as it is regulated by the above mentioned Emergency Ordinance, the investigation of a great number of cases out of the 2,151 cases under investigation at the DNA concerning the respective offence is affected; in some situations a part of these cases will be closed.
2. As a result of the same measure, the criminal proceedings will be affected in a significant number of cases which are already under trial at the trial courts (the criminal proceedings will be closed or the courts will rule acquittal decisions).
The provisions causing the greatest impact relate to:
- the insertion of the quantitative threshold of the damage – LEI 200,000 (equivalent of 44.464 euro) – a threshold under which any deed of abuse of office can no longer be investigated (the limit of this threshold was established in an arbitrarily manner, without any justifications, being possible for certain people to be at advantage).
- reducing the statute of limitations to 5 years as a result of decreasing the punishments for the abuse of office (the punishment is decreased unjustifiably much from a maximum of 7 years to a maximum of 3 years, without providing any reasoning for it).
In the future, by introducing the following paragraph in the article regarding the abuse of office: "the provisions of paragraphs (1) and (2) do not apply in case of issuing, approving or passing legal texts", all the high and medium level civil servants who are authorized to issue, approve or adopt legal texts (Parliament, Government, local administrative bodies) are exempted from criminal liability. Therefore, any such legal texts could be passed regardless of the damage they would cause, since those issuing them would not risk to be held criminally liable.
Preliminary solutions: an assessment of each of the 2,151 criminal cases ongoing within DNA and of those criminal cases which are already on trial, in order to conclude to what extend the investigations will have a finality or not, in case the emergency Ordinance comes into force.