– Conditional publication of judges’ and prosecutors’ hearings is dangerous and discredits external evaluation
– Civil society organisations: Vetting of judges and prosecutors must remain as transparent as possible
Several civil society organisations have issued a joint statement calling on Parliament to ensure the transparency of the external evaluation process of judges and prosecutors. The document is a reaction after MPs voted in first reading on a draft law on the process, stipulating that hearings of those evaluated will only be published online with their consent.
According to the signatory organisations, the provision is dangerous and may jeopardise the work of the evaluation commissions, and the lack of transparency of this process may discredit the external evaluation of judges and prosecutors.
“Individuals with integrity issues will not agree to the publication of the hearing, and if the interviews cannot be publicly watched, it will be difficult for the evaluation commissions to combat attacks, and such situations will contribute to discrediting and lack of confidence in the process,” the statement reads.
At the same time, the signatories of the statement consider the non-publication of the video recordings as meaningless, as the reports of the evaluation commissions will be debated in the meetings of Superior Council of Magistracy (SCM) and Superior Council of Prosecutors (SCP), which are public, according to the law. Moreover, such an approach by the legislators appears to be discriminatory in relation to persons already evaluated by the Pre-Vetting Commission, as well as in relation to judges and candidates for the Supreme Court of Justice, whose hearings and records are public.
Thus, civil society representatives ask the Parliament to revise Article 16 (3) of the draft law on external evaluation of judges and prosecutors in order to exclude the provision on non-publication of the recordings of hearings without the consent of the person evaluated and to maintain the publication on the Internet of public hearings of persons subject to vetting.
At the time of publication, the declaration had been signed by 12 non-governmental organisations and the list of signatories remains open. The document was sent to the Parliament, the Pre-Vetting Commission, the External Evaluation Commission of the Supreme Court of Justice, the Ministry of Justice, as well as the self-administration bodies of judges and prosecutors – the SCM and the SCP respectively.
The statement is available on this link (in Romanian).