Europe’s top rights body urges Romania to fight graft

January 18, 2018

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — The Council of Europe’s anti-corruption body on Thursday called on Romania to do more to prevent and combat high-level corruption.

The anti-corruption arm of Europe’s leading human rights organization said Romania should redouble its efforts to prosecute lawmakers, judges and prosecutors suspected of graft.

It called on the National Integrity Agency, where public officials declare their assets, to sanction cases where there is a conflict of interest. It also said the appointment and removal of senior prosecutors should be transparent and objective.

Romania’s Parliament is currently debating laws to restructure the justice system, including some moves that the Council of Europe report said “were perceived as an attempt to undermine the independence of the judiciary.”

Separately, Romanian President Klaus Iohannis wrote to the president of Romania’s Constitutional Court, Valer Dorneanu, on Thursday alerting him to what he said was unconstitutional legislation that would allow lawmakers and other public officials to own businesses.

Iohannis said the legislation approved in December “diminished the standards of integrity” expected of officials and undermined the rule of law. He evoked a European Union report that urged Romania to ensure that officials were not exempt from laws on the conflict of interest and unjustified wealth.

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