The elections for, but also the functioning of the Superior Council of Magistracy, should not be but under the aegis of the scandals, under the deliberate breach of rules and of misuse and abuse of the institutions in order to accomplish private interests. The lack of any ethical or self restraint in the engagement in such practices is affecting the image of the entire judicial system, induces disbelief, demoralises and endangers the balance of public trust and integrity that the judiciary needs to be based on.
We believe that the stability of the justice system must be assured, and also that the certitude of an activity beyond reproach should be ensured, as the foundation of optimal functioning not only for the CSM, but also for the entire judicial system. Therefore, we think it is necessary to openly discuss the ethical problems that have unfortunately marked the work of the old SCM, in order for the new SCM to avoid such situations in the future.
Some critical aspects:
In the past months, the procedure of appointment to the HCCJ was back on the public agenda. Undoubtedly, the SCM should guarantee, to the Judiciary and to the entire Romanian society, the fairness, the neutrality and the importance of the appointments. The criteria established and managed by the SCM itself cannot be transformed in an instrument of rewarding obedience, of strengthening the centres of influence or of creating the appearance of repaying the current members of the SCM or of its technical staff at the end of their office.
Recently, SCM has appointed a judge to the supreme court against all criticism, directed to such nomination, directly from its ranks, respectively from the position of general secretary of their institution. Also these days, a member of the SCM is running for the office of judge at the supreme court. The conflict of interests is obvious as long as this judge is member of the body with the exclusive competence to decide on this application. Similarly, at the last contest for promotion for executive positions organized by SCM, an actual and permanent member of the SCM had recorded his candidacy only to drop it after a vigorous the reaction of magistrates.
Even if both the Romanian judiciary and European bodies have strongly requested this, some members of SCM who occupy both leadership positions in particular courts, and also CSM positions, have not quit, leaving their courts / prosecutors offices in an extended interim management that affected their stability and efficiency.
Contrary to explicit rules established by the SCM itself into a regulation since 2005 and unchanged until present, and without consulting the magistrates body, SCM has decided to extend the mandates obtained after partial elections by some of itsmembers. The SCM refuses in this way to allow the judges and prosecutors the right to choose a new entire Council.
Although applicable law expressly prohibits this, we expect some the SCM to continue the same unethical attitude , and also to be some SCM members who will enrol for another term.
The decisional process of the SCM in respect of its present members applications for the future SCM, and the refuse of the current members to discuss openly with their colleagues from the judiciary such decisions, creates the impression of a closed caste, willing to do anything to maintain the power.
Under these circumstances, we think that the fall elections for the next SCM can reset the functioning of this institution on public integrity principles. We believe that there is a need for public commitment of candidates to a minimum set of standards of behaviour, a set which shall guide them as potential members of SCM for the next six years
These moral standards assumed as moral duties would be designed to avoid situations like the above. These standards would be a public and an honour agreement between the next members of the CSM and the whole judiciary which will be soon called to vote. Therefore, we propose to all the candidates to assume openly in front of the judges and prosecutors who will elect, and of society, at least the following:
1. the judge or prosecutor who is also president of a court or chief prosecutor, shall resign immediately after the appointment as a member SCM from her leadership position in a court or prosecution office;
2. the judge or prosecutor shall not aplpy, during the entire term of her mandate at the SCM for promotion to executive positions or to be appoint in an leadership position in courts or prosecutorial offices;
3. the judge shall not apply, during the entire term of her mandate as SCM member, to be appointed as judge at the High Court of Cassation and Justice;
4. not to encourage in a wrong way, during the entire term of the mandate as SCM member, the courts or prosecutor offices that they belong to;
5. At the end of their mandate as SCM members, the judges or prosecutors should not apply for a new mandate in SCM, whatever legislative changes would take place;
6. To not use the constitutional privilege of the secret of vote to avoid her personal responsibility towards the judiciary or prosecutors , and to not hide behind the anonymous and collective decisions of the SCM.
Our team members who have decided on June 30, 2010, to announce their intentions to candidate to became members in SCM in public, are agreeing with these commitments and expect from all candidates to join them or to supplement them
Horatius Dumbrava – Judge, Court of appeal from Tg.Mures
Adrian Neacsu – judge, County court from Vrancea
Cristi Danilet – judge, First instance court from Oradea