"I declare war on criminality", Romanian PM Viorica Dancila said on Wednesday as her government struggles with increased criticism over the incapacity of authorities to prevent, then solve a murder case in Caracal, south Romania, which has shaken the nation. But her war on criminality, coming from the leader of a party that has been largely blamed for rising criminality in the country, started with a plan to move the 112 emergency service from a special service to the Interior ministry. Both institutions have been blamed for massive failures in the murder case.

Viorica DăncilăFoto: Guvernul Romaniei
  • Government bodies, along with prosecutors and other institutions, have been trying hard to deal with rising criticism over their long series of failures in the Caracal case. Last week, a teenage girl was abducted in the Southern Romanian town of Caracal. She managed to call 112 repeatedly to say she had been raped and beaten an to call for help. Authorities failed to reach her, and her suspect captor later confessed he killed her, as well as another teenager.
  • Despite his confession, no real proof has been found so far to confirm the murders definitely, which only increased pressure and criticism on authorities, who are accused of having established a failed state that cannot serve its citizens.

Criticism was high on Dancila's governing Social Democrats, who for years have moved to subdue the judiciary and put an end to the fight against corruption.

Dancila came forward on Wednesday evening to say that the fight against criminality took the second row in Romania, behind the fight against corruption. She claimed that while the fight against corruption would continue "away from the area of spectacle, of exclusive resource and focus allocation to the area of prevention".

She said, instead, that she declared "war against criminality", "without mercy".

She listed ten "measures" she adopted in the wake of the Caracal tragedy. Among these:

  • the dismissal of leaders of institutions involved in the process and the resignation of tbe heads of the Special Telecommunications Service and of the Interior ministry
  • charging the Interior minister to coordinate the inquiry personally
  • demanding a thorough report on what happened in Caracal
  • establishing a special group to put up a plan of emergency measures due to be adopted through emergency ordinances
  • naming a new interim Interior minister.

This new minister, Miai Fifor, was the one to announce a first measure after Dancila's declaration of war against criminality - plans to move the 112 emergency service from the STS to the Interior ministry. Both institutions, but especially the police, have been fiercely criticised over their failures in the Caracal case.