Romania’s Superior Magistrates Council (CSM) rejected on Tuesday the justice minister’s bid to dismiss the head of the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) for abusing her authority.
Thousands of people took to the streets of several Romanian cities on Sunday to show their support for the country’s top anti-corruption prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi after the justice minister Tudorel Toader accused her of “non-constitutional, illegal [and] defamatory” methods in her prosecution of public officials accused of corruption.
In the capital Bucharest, 4,000 people gathered in front of the seat of government, despite heavy snowfall, chanting: “Bandits! bandits!” and “Tudorel, do something, resign!” and “Codruta, hold on!”
The CSM said said that it would provide an explanation for its rejections of the justice minister’s application at a later date.
Prior to Tuesday’s vote, 135 of the NDA’s prosecutors signed a letter to the Superior Magistrates Council requesting that the body defend their reputation and the independence of prosecutors.
In a press release, the prosecutors said that in recent years they have faced several attacks from people under investigation or referred to the courts, attacks that have directly affected their lives, because of the “negative emotional repercussions” on themselves, their families and their friends.
Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, who has the last word on the impeachment of prosecutors, came to Kovesi’s defence on Friday and accused Toader of not providing enough reasons for dismissal of the anti-corruption prosecutor.
“You know my opinion,” President Klaus said. “The current leadership of the DNA is doing a very good job,” said Iohannis on February 15. At that time, he said that some individuals with legal issues were trying to “discredit” the DNA”
According to Reuters, Toader said that the debate around Kovesi’s leadership would continue: “Toader stated that the debate over Kovesi’s leadership would continue “regardless of what the CSM decides, of what the president decides, of what the Constitutional Court decides.”
Since 2013, Kovesi has been running the DNA, which investigates MPs, ministers and other senior officials, and has revealed conflicts of interest, fraud and abuse of power in one Europe’s most corrupt countries. Dozens of senior officials have been brought to justice.