US embassy criticizes Romania's planned judicial changes

AP News
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Posted: Aug 29, 2017 2:43 PM
US embassy criticizes Romania's planned judicial changes

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — The U.S. embassy in Romania has criticized proposed changes to the country's justice system that critics say will slow efforts to root out corruption.

The embassy said Tuesday that "establishing rule of law requires a strong and independent judiciary, as well as independent prosecutors who can pursue criminal conduct without political interference."

It noted that proposed changes leave "concern for the independence of the justice sector" in Romania. It urged Romanian institutions "to work together to maintain the country's fight against corruption and to ensure the credibility of its institutions."

Last week, Justice Minister Tudorel Toader recommended having the president no longer appoint the general prosecutor and the chief anti-corruption prosecutor, one of the office's main functions. He also suggested a process to punish prosecutors and judges for erroneous rulings and prosecutions.