Once the UN Convention against Corruption and regional conventions establishing the ALAC Centres entered into force, TI advocacy efforts achieved considerable results, preparing the field for future efforts. In this direction, TI Romania continues its advocacy actions at central and local level, stressing the strategic aspect of advocacy and intending to actively involve in attaining the proposed objectives. TI Romania undergone various advocacy actions with a view to reform the judiciary, the public administation, fight against corruption and money laundering, which are some of TI Romania areas of concern
Transparency International Romania has repeatedly highlighted the importance of the High Council of Magistrates’ mission in reforming the judicial system and in ensuring its independence as an essential ground for offering a professional judicial public service in accordance with the European standards.
The 23rd of July 2008 European Commission’s Report raises attention on a series of vulnerabilities within the judicial system per se, but also within the High Council of Magistrates, which is supposed to be the guardian of the independence of the justice. As a consequence of the above mentioned report and as a measure for remedying the signaled deficiencies, the High Council of Magistrates has demanded Transparency International Romania for a series of proposals and observations that would support the High Council’s activity.
As a matter of fact, Transparency International Romania’s analysis documents released by now, as for instance the Study regarding the Magistrates’ perception on the independence of the judicial system 2007 or the National Anticorruption Report 2008, have already raised attention on the same shortages, but they haven’t yet been solved.
Under these conditions, TI Romania considered some recommendations and formulated a set of tools aiming at improving the High Council of Magistrates’ activity and at reforming the judicial system as a whole.
The measures proposed by TI Romania make reference to:
- Legislation aiming , first, at unifying of the judicial practice and conceiving of framing norms which would establish minimal standards concerning the drafting and statement of reasons of the judicial decisions. Secondly, at providing measures in order to clarify the constitutional status, the role and mission of the prosecutors and to encourage them to issue coherent solutions. Third, regarding the Courts’ administrative organization- employment, task sharing, and emplacement of minimal standards for a good administration in the archive, registration and graft departments.
- Human resources policy regarding combating corruption at the level of recruitment procedures and of promoting judges and prosecutors, changing the mechanism of designation and revocation of the Public Minister’s and General Prosecutor’s board, organizing training sessions, enlarging the application sphere of the 571/2004 Law.
- The impact of the new Codes of penal and civil procedures, in the sense of a constitutional analysis of the recently added dispositions; the necessity of a corresponding law on judicial functioning.
- Enforcement of the High Council of Magistrates’ capacity regarding the fulfillment of its responsibilities: transparence improvement, enhancement of its jurisdictional activities, independence guarantee.
Free legal assistance
The law aims at projecting and developing a new policy regarding free legal assistance in Romania, and also improving public administration and access to justice. Subsequent to the TI-Romania’s advocacy efforts, our country harmonized, by the Government’s Emergency Ordinance no 51/2008, its internal legislation in terms of free legal assistance with the 2003/8/CE directive of the Council of the European Union.
Fighting Money Laundering
Government’s Emergency Ordinance no 53/2008 regarding the modification and completion of the 656/2002 Law on preventing and sanctioning money laundering and on taking measures for preventing and combating terrorism financing. TI-Romania has run activities aiming at improving the application capacity of the law on combating corruption and money laundering and on diminishing the potential of corruptibility of the persons holding public offices.
Respecting norms of conduct by civil servants
Order no. 4500/2008
Transparency International Romania welcomes the National Authority of Civil Servants’ (ANFP) initiative for the establishment of a unique form to be filled and forwarded with data on the respect of deontological norms by civil servants. Accordingly, our organization gave a set of recommendations concerning the project of the above mentioned order, as for example adding in the respective form boxes regarding the whistleblowers. Another example would be the annexing of the recommendations given by the ethical infrastructures within the public institutions.
The National Anticorruption Strategy
As for the National Strategy on preventing and combating corruption in the vulnerable sectors and local public administration (2008-2010), Transparency International Romania has made a series of observations and recommendations. Generally, TI-Romania has supported the elaboration of a diagnosis analysis on the corruption in the public sector, and also the establishing of clear criteria for the prioritization of the domains that will be included in the next anti-corruption strategy, like the vulnerability at corruption threshold. With regard to the intervention domains afferent to the Strategy, TI-Romania suggested the labour and social protection sectors and the central public administration. Another suggestion consisted in taking the Strategy and the Action Plan as frame- documents on the basis of which to build sector anti-corruption strategies. Specifically, Ti-Romania considered that the Action Plan should also include four main objectives:
- • The increase of the public’s information and consciousness degree on the risks associated to corruption
- • The raise of the transparency in public service sector
- • The development of a human resources management system aiming to diminish the risks related to corruption.
- • The simplification of the bureaucratic procedures in order to improve public services
The National Integrity Agency
Transparency International Romania has supported the adoption of a legal and institutional framework and of public policies regarding the verification of conflict of interest and of incompatibilities, and also the control of wealth. Accordingly, during the period 2004-2007, TI-Romania offered technical expertise to the Ministry of Justice, organized public debates and made evaluations of the National Integrity Agency Law. As a result, the Romanian Parliament adopted the Law no. 144/2007 on the National Integrity Agency and the Government’s 49/2007 Emergency Ordinance for the modification of the above mentioned law.
The harmonization of the legislation on the prevention and combating of money laundering
During 2007, TI-Ro has set up a policy project regarding the harmonization of national regulations and the effective implementation of the new norms. Furthermore, TI-Ro drew up, along with the National Office for Preventing and Combating Money Laundering, a legislative project for the modification of the Law no. 656/2002 and for its harmonization with the afferent Commission’s Directive. TI-Ro also participated at consultations organized by the Ministry of Justice with regard to this Law. The respective project has been integrated in the present form of the Law.
Prosecutors’ status in Romania
From 2005 onwards, TI-Ro raised constant attention, throughout the three editions of the study on “Magistrates’ perception on the independence of the judiciary system”, on the implications that might have the dual status of the prosecutor In 2007, TI-Ro organized, along with other partners, an international conference on the topic of the prosecutor’s status, to which were invited important Romanian decisional factors. As a result, other discussions on finding solutions for the clearing up of prosecutors’ status were organized.
The Action Plan requested by the European Commission
TI Romania supported and promoted the following points of action for meeting the benchmarks set out in the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism:
- • Legislation regarding the set up of criteria in order to guarantee a good administration.
- • Legislation on the transparency in the budget execution.
- • Legislation which would make more transparent the institutional mechanisms for administrative complaining.
- • Adoption of a Cod of administrative procedure
- • Annual Audit regarding the public institutions’ vulnerability to corruption; the activity coordination will be carried out by the ethics/conduct councillor
- • Control on the legality of the process leading to administrative normative regulations
- • Declarations of interests, which would include the contracts concluded by natural persons, authorized persons, free lancers and companies where they possess shares or companies they administrate.
The Code of Administrative Procedure
The project aims at the standardization of the legal solutions already existent in the current legislation, but also at regulating in premiere judicial states of affaires signalled in the administrative practice. TI-Romania has made a series of observations on the content of the mentioned Code. Firstly, a series of procedures have been omitted, as for example those from the economic and financial spheres, or those regarding the relationship between public institutions when taking into consideration public procurement, local budgets, public policies. Secondly, the norms were not clear and accessible enough.
The comments and the observations made by TI-Romania were transmitted to the Ministry of the Interior and of the Administrative Reform, which announced that it would abandon the absorption, in the Code of Administrative Procedure, of the 544/2001 Law regarding free access to public information and 52/2003 Law on the decision transparency in public administration.
2006 was a major success of TI-Romania in the advocacy activity, taking into consideration the fulfilment of all the commitments taken on by Romania subsequent to the last round of 2002 GRECO evaluation.
The last achieved objective is the harmonization, by the Law no. 356/2006 of the Code of Penal Procedure with the provisions of the Penal Code on the penal liability of the legal person.
Organization of set of public debates on the topic “public policies regarding the National Integrity Agency” on the 6th of July and on the 24th of October, in partnership with the deputy in office mister Bogdan Olteanu. Both were expected to be the frame for discussing the basic principles underlying the public policy regarding the National Integrity Agency. The aim was the identification of the most efficient mechanisms of control of wealth, of conflict of interests and of incompatibilities.
The events brought together leaders of the political groups from the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies, representatives of the Executive- the prime minister’s chancellery, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Administration and Internal Affairs, parliamentarians, civil society, mass media, and also the support of Transparency International Secretariat. Yet, no legislative document could be adopted subsequent to those debates, even though the Ministry of Justice had drawn up a law project.
The adoption of a normative act which would establish a competitive manner of dealing with grant funds for NGOs. The project was based on the Commission’s 1605/2002 Regulation and on the Government’s 60/2002 Emergency Ordinance, consequently, Law no. 350/2005 resulted.
The harmonization of the regulations regarding the organization and functioning of the ministries with the dispositions of Law no. 571/2004. Despite of a failed deadline, the Ministries answered to the request of harmonization requested by TI Romania.
The continuation of the efforts for setting up a National Integrity Agency.