Romanian President Klaus Iohannis has signed a decree dismissing the head of the National Anti-Corruption Directorate (DNA) – Laura Codruţa Kovesi, who had been in the crosshairs of the government for several months for criticising its controversial judicial reforms.
In firing Kovesi, Iohannis acted in accordance with a decision by the Romanian Constitutional Court which had ordered him, at the end of May, to lift his veto to the dismissal of the prosecutor, demanded by the government, despite the protests of the opposition and the international community.
Considered by her supporters as a symbol of the fight against corruption in Romania, Ms. Kovesi, 44, was head of the national anti-corruption prosecution since 2013. She was confirmed in 2016 by Mr. Iohannis for a final term three years.
This institution has challenged and sentenced in recent years hundreds of political leaders, ranging from local officials to a prime minister.
The Minister of Justice, Tudorel Toader, opened the procedure in February to dismiss her, accusing the magistrate of “violating the Constitution” and “harming the image” of Romania abroad. Declaring himself “unconvinced” by these arguments, Mr. Iohannis was opposed to this procedure and is in turn threatened with being dismissed by the Social Democrat government which accusing him of obstruction.
At the end of February, Ms. Kovesi announced that despite “unprecedented attacks” by the government, her prosecution had sent a thousand people to the courts in 2017, including three ministers, five deputies and a senator.
Thousands of protesters marched in Romania this winter to express their support for the prosecutor. The European Commission and the Council of Europe also criticised the dismissal proceedings against Kovesi.
Romania has been a member of the European Union since 2007.