Romanian President Traian Basescu criticized Justice minister Tudor Chiuariu publicly for his stance on a series of Justice issues on Tuesday, saying his attitude was degrading and a threat to the credibility of Justice and the Government.

Basescu explained at the end of a Supreme Defense Council meeting today that his public intervention was necessary as he wanted to be a “President who protects the judicial system”.

Speaking of a series of cases involving members of the government, for which the National Anti-corruption Department (DNA) has been continuously requesting approval of inquiry from the Presidency, Basescu said that all people was considered innocent until proven guilty in court.

Minister Chiuariu, who is himself the subject of a graft case at the DNA, was quoted by Realitatea TV news channel on Tuesday retorting that the whole situation was absurd, abusive and aimed at discrediting him.

Also on Tuesday, he said legislation on naming magistrates should be changed so that they be named by the Superior Council of Magistracy at the recommendation of the Justice minister and not of the head of state as it currently happens. He made the statement as a proposal in this regard is currently debated in a parliamentary commission after being rejected in the House.

Chiuariu has been at loggerheads with top DNA prosecutors after he fiercely attacked one of them shortly after being named Justice minister in spring this year in a major government reshuffle that saw his predecessor, popular Justice minister Monica Macovei, removed from the Government.

Chiuariu learned this month that he was subject of a new case in which he is accused of abuse in office. For his part, he said he was suing two top DNA prosecutors in a huge scandal that has been seriously affecting the Romanian judiciary.

His last move was to attack Freedom House for an audit report more than two years ago based on which the management of the Anti-corruption Department -DNA was changed in 2005. He alleged that the bidding for the audit report on the 2001-2004 strategy to fight against corruption was faked.

Freedom House promptly rejected the allegations. And on Tuesday, FH representatives said Chiuariu’s main allegation, that it submitted an offer prior to receiving an invitation to the bidding, was faked. The organization published the relevant documentation to support its stand on Tuesday.