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Venice Commission: opinion on amendments to criminal codes to be adopted at Oct. 19-20 session

President Klaus Iohannis welcomed a delegation of the European Commission for Democracy through Law of the Council of Europe, the Venice Commission in short, at the Cotroceni Presidential Palace on Thursday, with the members of this body mentioning that the commission's opinion on the amendments to Romania's Criminal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure is to be adopted at a plenary session on October 19-20, according to a statement from the Presidential Administration.

The Venice Commission delegation and President Iohannis praised the commission for its technical expertise as well as the importance of its views expressed both on Romania's justice legislation and on the Criminal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure.

Iohannis reiterated the main issues raised by the new form of the criminal legislation as voted by Parliament. "In this context, the President of Romania has shown that the amendments to the criminal codes diminish predictability and unbalance the judiciary, as one of the effects envisaged is to benefit politicians implicated in criminal cases. President Klaus Iohannis argued that destroying legislative coherence is unacceptable. He stressed that the amendments proposed by the current parliamentary majority risk compromising the efforts of late to strengthen the judiciary," the Presidential Administration showed.

Iohannis pointed out that the involvement and support of the Venice Commission's experts is meant to help Romania get modern and efficient legislation. The meeting took place during the preparation of the commission's opinion on the recent amendments to the Criminal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure passed by the Romanian Parliament. In this case, the Venice Commission was notified by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

În turn, the head of the special committee for justice laws, Florin Iordache, on Thursday stated, after meeting the representatives of the Venice Commission, that he reiterated that the expertise of this body was very good and that the experts' observations must be taken into account, while also mentioning he will immediately respond to all the unclear aspects or observations that they would have.

Iordache also added that he was invited to the October meeting of the Venice Commission.

He underscored that the only conclusion he heard from the experts was that all CCR resolutions must be transposed. He underscored that there was an opinion at the meeting, according to which the preliminary report regarding the justice laws had "certain imperfections."

Justice Minister Tudorel Toader on Thursday after the meeting with the Venice Commission said that: "Talks were carried out on the draft laws for the amendment of the Criminal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code. It is certainly the Justice Ministry's contribution as regards the transposition of the Constitutional Court's decisions - the acceptance decisions, the interpretive decisions - and also for the consolidation of the presumption of innocence and extended powers of confiscation. This is how you know that the draft projects were sent through the Government, were sent in Parliament, Parliament added other legislative solutions as well and now they were adopted. The draft laws are with the Constitutional Court, that will debate them on 17 September," the minister at the seat of the Justice Ministry.

He added that he explained to the Venice Commission some of the adopted solutions, and on 16 and 17 October, he will participate, as full member, in this body's plenary session.

A delegation of the Venice Commission is in Bucharest, Thursday through Friday, so as to ready an opinion concerning the recent amendments brought to the Criminal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code by Parliament. The opinion was requested by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.