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Kovesi: the immunity from prosecution "for life" extended to current and past ministers is unusual

Chief prosecutor with the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) Laura Codruta Kovesi tells Agerpres in a recent interview that the immunity from prosecution "for life" extended to current and past ministers is unique and legislative changes are needed at least to somehow balance their immunities versus other professional categories. 

The statement comes amid an impasse reached after the request for lifting the immunity of some MPs or ministers were not heeded to, which made some investigations stop or precluded prosecutors from taking measures. 

"Unfortunately, there is a political vote that blocks judiciary inquiries, which should not happen. And maybe it does not happen elsewhere in the European Union. I believe legislative change is highly important. If we were to consider people with a certain status in Romania - for instance the status of magistrates, who also qualify for immunity - a warrant has to be obtained prior to them being searched or remanded. But when I say the life immunity accorded to current and past ministers, that is unique," said Kovesi. 

She explained that without the approval of Parliament, no current or former member of government who is also an MP can be investigated. 

She said a legislative change would be welcome so that public office holders sentenced for offences while in office may no longer hold the offices. 

About the fact that certain dignitaries, locally elected public officers or organisational leaders return to office despite being on pre-trial detention or indicted, Kovesi said that is a loophole in the legislation allowing it to happen. 

About politicians' statements on DNA deemed by the Supreme Council of Magistrates (CSM) as hurting justice independence, Kovesi said nothing happens besides the CSM verdict, and no punishment is applied.