The government’s intention to reform the justice sector is commendable, but the way it’s carried out creates dangerous precedents, says Alexandru Tănase, former chair of the Constitutional Court.
Alexandru Tănase praises the government’s intention to rid the system of corrupt and compromised people, but he thinks the government needs to do more to keep professional and honest judges on board.
“The intention to reform the justice sector is alright. The question is how this is being done. Because every action creates precedents. There are more than 300 young judges in the system, who are not corrupt, mostly professionals, who would like to work in a society where justice does justice. Unfortunately, the reckless actions of the government scared these young professionals away, discouraging them from playing an active role in bringing about change. There is no one in the current government, neither in the Ministry of Justice, nor in Parliament, who represents a moral authority, who is able to convey to the judiciary the vision of the reform. It’s easy to make abstract accusations of resistance by the system, without offering concrete examples of such resistance”, Alexandru Tănase said on a Vocea Bessarabiei talk show.
The former Constitutional Court justice says that the reform is taking place in a non-transparent manner, without consensus, and with often critical expert opinions from the Venice Commission.
“Lots of abuses have been committed in the process of the so-called reform. Just pick up the opinions of the Venice Commission from the past three years and you will see there is no clean opinion. That is, an opinion that would have given the green light to the reforms without many recommendations that, in fact, substantially modified the concepts presented. Look at the Supreme Court of Justice, where most of the judges resigned. Everybody heard that the government wants to reform the SCJ. Has anyone seen this project? Apart from a small circle of people with the highest level of clearance. We’ve ended up without judges at the Supreme Court without the bill being even approved in the first reading. To start reforming the judiciary with the SCJ is the right thing to do; after all, a fish always rots from the head down. But in three years we have not seen a clear plan on the reform. It’s hard even for the lawyers to understand what’s going on, let alone for the business community, which are confused about the current rules of play”, said Tănase.
At their latest General Assembly on March 17, judges interrupted the meeting before delegating any member to the Superior Council of the Judiciary. In reaction, the government says that in order to unblock the system, Parliament will appoint CSM members from among civil society as soon as the pre-vetting commission completes its work.