The Romanian Justice Monica Macovei minister replied to the critics of a draft law on control of politicians’ possessions from three NGOs that had accused the law of giving too much leverage to prosecutors and threatening Romania’s state of law.

The three NGOs – the Open Society Foundation, the Center for Judicial Resources and Transparency International-Romania – protested against the draft law on the creation of a National Integrity Agency, supported by the Justice Ministry that aimed at dealing with conflicts of interests.

Macovei answered all objections raised to the provisions of the law, in an attempt to show that the current draft law was better than the older one, which presented some shortcomings such as the inclusion of judges within the National Council of Integrity aimed at controlling the politicians, the financial independence of the Council but also the control exerted by the Parliament over the

Council. The conflict of interest was largely defined and allowed confusions to take place.

The new draft law covers and puts right all these aspects. The Integrity Agency will not answer to any institution whose members are under its supervision.

Moreover, it expands the categories of persons to submit possessions and interest declarations. The head of the Agency can also be dismissed if an annual evaluation shows he did not managed efficiently the institution.

The three organizations disagree with the possibility that prosecutors intercept electronic correspondence of people and wiretap phone conversations for 48 hours without a warrant, as mentioned in Justice Ministry-supported changes tot the Penal Procedure Code.

They also warn that instead of a justice reform that would strengthen the power and responsibilities of judges, the current provisions undermine the activities of magistrates while unfoundedly increasing prosecutors’ attributes.

On the other side, the Romanian Academic Society whose spokeperson is renowned sociologist Alina Mungiu, states that the draft law is good and accuses the NGOs of political interests.