Executive Summary

Many of the methods used by the Communists in Romania pre-1989 to create a politicised system of justice and law enforcement are still in existence in contemporary Romania.

The control of judicial institutions and the subordination of the rule of law by the Romanian executive and its agencies continues to present a major challenge to attempts at reform.

In particular, the use of the justice system by the Romanian executive, and its agencies, to destroy political opponents remains a serious and ongoing problem.

EU-led external pressure to separate the judiciary and politics has failed, with the executive, including the Ministry of Justice, retaining considerable de facto power and political instruction of judges remaining commonplace.

Judicial independence came under sustained attack from 2012 onwards with the arrival of Prime Minister Victor Ponta. His administration presided over frequent political challenges to judicial decisions, the undermining of the constitutional court, the overturning of established procedures, the removal of checks and balances, and the manipulation of members of the judiciary through threats and intimidation.