miercuri, iunie 29, 2022

Servants of the State: suppression, threats, silence…

I had once the opportunity to collaborate directly with Judge Cristi Dănileț, at a debate organized by ELSA, Bucharest: „How do we read the CNSAS documents? Do historians need jurisprudence?”. The debate started with art. 253 paragraph. 1, respectively art. 163-165 of the (old) Penal Code, in particular the case of the conviction of the historian of religions Ioan Petru Culianu in 1974, two years after his leaving the country. We therefore met on 17 December, Stoicescu Hall of the Faculty of Law, University of Bucharest. In fact, the judge contributed a very substantial excursus on the subject. The debate was attended by researchers from the Romanian Academy (Institute of the History of Religions), CNSAS and Cristi Dănileț – judge, at that time member of the CSM [National Council of the Magistracy]. I was trying, at all costs, to understand whether Culianu’s conviction, handed down by a Military Tribunal in 1974, was correct given the Romanian-American trade agreements of 2 April 1974 as well as the agenda of the negotiations, which included humanitarian issues, more related to free movement and migration. The U.S. President called on Congress, and on April 24, 1974 he sent a legislative package that included granting the clause to Romania. In 1975 the US Congress passed the Jackson-Vanik amendment and it was considered as a criterion for granting the clause, but I will not insist on this subject. It was just a pretext to open a debate and an evaluation of a conviction that deeply affected Culianu’s family, even the destiny of the historian of religions. After all, Culianu was assassinated first and foremost for his incisive views in support of an authentic democracy in Romania, not one that kills without legitimacy even its Archons, as he wrote in his essays published in the US exile magazines Agora and Lumea Libera.

Back to our prevailing subject, I first met Judge Dănileț at the Social Dialogue Group (GDS), at a conference, the most long-standing non-governmental organization, of which Ioan Petru Culianu was also an active member in its early days. Not only an NGO dedicated to monitoring democracy in Romania, but also the most serious representative of civil society. Thus, a pro-modernization organization of Romania, pro-civil rights, pro-values of the rule of law. I have never wondered, rightly, why a judge member of the CSM should feel an exception to the rule of law for having participated in the GDS events, given his strong voice to build and rule of law in the young democracy and modernization of the Romanian state. All the while, as a historian, I congratulated him for not remaining silent within the walls of his solicitous and difficult profession and mission at the CSM. After all, there were many of us who looked up to him and others like him, at the time, with the greatest admiration. Even his telephone, I believe, rang incessantly at the time, not to mention the journalists and media who courted him in view of his eloquence and firmness in expressing democratic values combined with justice reform(s). If the CSM was not the reform body and its members, then who could it have been?

Judge Cristi Dănileț was also sympathetic to us because of the idea of a justice disseminated in educational institutions, for several age categories, as he was an excellent communicator of the ideas and principles underlying a justice in the service of the citizen. Altogether, a clear, limpid, non-sophisticated voice, never trivializing the concepts he explained, always explaining what happens in the various stages of the reform process in the Romanian judicial system, both in the various media channels and on the special blog he ran. For those who appreciate learning to think by putting the law to heart, the magistrate also invented an application for young people – Law as a gift (“Lege în dar”) – very intuitive, loaded with basic information as well as a legal dictionary („dicționar de legaleză”), the first application of its kind, always in support of legal education for the younger generations.

Not being a judge, I could never go into the merits of his competence as a magistrate, at least to comment on the inspections to which he is systematically subjected as a judge. Nonetheless, I think that all the public competitions to enter the magistracy, as well as his work as judge enumerate many cases he has resolved. However, civil society looks above all to the widespread of democratic values and that is why we all think that he is being punished today, a real execution given his exclusion from the CSM, twice, for absolutely ridiculous reasons, which could never stand: a recording on TikTok, with no reason to be considered trivial, as well as his recognition by civil society, encouragement at times when colleagues in his own profession are putting him on his knees.

Let us recall the case of Judge Giovanni Falcone, who was totally marginalized by his colleagues, given that he was a candidate for the post of Chief Judge of the Anti-Mafia following the Maxi-trial of the Cosa Nostra, as well as President of the CSM, a post that was refused to him anyway. Because he had been left alone, first by his colleagues and his collaborators in the Anti-Mafia Department, then by the State, the road to his assassination had become open and, in fact, the Capaci massacre, 26 May 1992, followed. The endless amount of TNT on the road heading towards Palermo from the airport got him and his wife killed, along with part of his protection squad. Fifty-two days later, his friend and colleague, Paolo Borsellino, was assassinated in the so-called massacre in Via d’Ameglio, 19 July 1992. Bodies pulverized by TNT, he and his protection squad.

Death is not the same everywhere. One can be killed slowly, a “specialty” of south-eastern Europe: exclusion from the profession, minimizing the person’s activity and slandering the person, the guilty silence of all who know of the judge’s activities, the lack of means of subsistence, threats to the family, indirect invitations to leave the country, just as informally as millions have decided, or have been forced to do so, and so on. Then, it is not only Dănileț, there are others, among the best known being Camelia Bogdan, a judge with remarkable achievements in the judicial system, death threats against journalist Emilia Sercan and many other cases that are before our eyes. Is our democracy really heading in the right direction? Let us look at the various actors with resonant names acquitted, what happens to collaborators of justice in previous periods, what remains from the reform of justice in previous periods, the current appointments to the Constitutional Court and many other marks in the system! These are the elements that will build our history of democracy, alongside many others, of course.

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  1. Not being a judge, I could never go into the merits of his competence as a magistrate, at least to comment on the inspections to which he is systematically subjected as a judge.

    Cred ca ar trebui „, and neither comment on the inspections …”

    Ca logica, in fraza „Then, it is not only Dănileț, there are others, among the best known being Camelia Bogdan, a judge with remarkable achievements in the judicial system, death threats against journalist Emilia Sercan and many other cases that are before our eyes. Is our democracy really heading in the right direction?” the others are CB and then death threats, adica de fapt ar fi trebuit scris CB … ES, with death threats directed against her, sau cam asa ceva, adica nu combinat o persoana cu amenintarile la adresa unei persoane … I’m just curious if it was written in English or translated from Romanian.

    Un „judge” fara „a judge” putin mai jos, etc., insa e o engleza frumoasa si bogata …

    Otherwise congratulations on the article!

  2. Cu totii stim cum Romania nu poate fi numita o democratie consolidata cum la fel de bine stim „cit amar de vreme ”le-a luat tarilor din vestul Europei si SUA sa devina natiuni democrate .Cu toti stim cita incarcatura politica negativa contin unele decizii luate de majoritatile Parlamentare ce s-au perindat , in ultimii 30 de ani , la conducerea Romaniei .Cineva ne spunea cindva cum macar 20 de ani ar trebui sa treaca spre a indrepta poporul roman spre o democratie asemanatoare vesticilor .S-a inselat .Vedem cum o parte a popoarelor Estice ,foste socialiste ,vor un statut de politica iliberala , altii doar se declara democratii dar si ei doresc , prin conducatorii lor , alesi democratic , sa devina dictaturi .Norocul ne vine chiar de la „ babaul de la rasarit ” ce isi arata muchiii prin Ucraina .Pandemia nu a fost deajuns .Razboiul mobilizeaza Europa iar deciziile militare ca si cele politico- economice se muta la NATO si la Bruxelles .Atragerea NATO in razboi nu a reusit .In tara , episoadele similare celor prezentate in text, devin foarte putine si Romania se indreapta spre a asigura proceduri democratice de guvernare .Trendul este evident .Alegerile ,politice , facute de Seful Statului devin purtatoare de decizii ale Democratiei .Uniunea Europeana capata noi puteri. NATO isi mareste componenta si nu mai exista tara in Europa care sa nu tina cont de NATO.Cazurile particulare , cu reverberatii in trecut , pot fi date ca exemplu , dar viitorul va corecta multe dintre inerentele erori ce inca mai fac capul de afis in Media romineasca .Vor disparea si la noi „ pistolarii vestului salbatic ” ce au facut parte cindva din drumul spre democratizare a Americii .

  3. Good enough article, but I am a little bit amazed. What is the purpose of an article like this, … in english? on contributors.ro? It is like reading in spanish on main page on nytimes.com . It is way too much and inadequate, in my view. People of this country are those who should be persuaded to act for real justice, not foreigners. Maybe they would like to know what your ideas or proposals are? Should they learn english first? Hilarious, from my point of view. Question for contributors.ro – are texts in French or German eligible for publishing? What about Hungarian? I am so curious…

    • It’s more likely that „Dumitru” would be interested in articles published in Russian. Just my two cents…
      The purpose of this article is very clear, it underscores an abuse of the Romanian authorities. Why write it in Romanian? The usual crowd on this forum already knows the situation.

      • Singurul lucru pe care am dorit sa il transmit este ca schimbarea adevarata, care sa dureze, se poate face doar din interior, de la cetatenii romani, care ar trebui sa inteleaga si sa rezoneze cu acest text (cu orice text din contributors care sper ca va deveni mai accesibil, nu mai inaccesibil… to „the usual crowd on this forum” cum spuneti dvs). In rest, ce sa zic, m-ati infricosat si tremur.

  4. Servants of state institutions – asta sint cetatenii . Toate sistemele publice de invatamint din lume pentru asa ceva ii pregatescpe tineri .

  5. Ce i se intampla judecatorului Danilet este o injustitie repetata, probabil o persecutie. Un semnal rosu ca Romania se scufunda in intuneric. Daca justitia persecuta un judecator anticoruptie, daca autorii ( Dragnea, seful comisiei Parlamentare pt justitie si Ministrul Justitiei din aceea perioada) demolarii justitiei anti coruptie din Romania nu au dat socoteala in fata publicului si in fata legii pt ce au facut, daca cei care au pus-o pe Codruta Kovesi in stare de pre-arest sunt in functie, Romania nu are nici o sansa.

    • Nu plingeti doar pe umerii lui Danilet ori a Cameliei Bogdan. Ceea ce i se intimpla acum unui fost sef de Stat, cu o lege facuta special pentru el, este mai strigator la cer decit orice.
      Nu cred in sinceritatea multora dintre cei ce au scandat „lasati Justitia sa-si faca treaba!”
      Uite ca si-o face!

      • Absolut! Basescu este cel care a inaugurat unitatea anti-coruptie si care a fost clar pro-Occidental. Nu a fost securist sau colaborator de meserie. A fost obligatia functiei, probabil. Nu trebuia penalizat. Cand securistii si colaboratorii adevarati nu au patit nimic.

      • Credeam că acea lege era făcută pentru turnători. În cazul de care se plânge credinciosul „victor L”, ce să zic, ghinion! Asta ca să rămânem în același ton.
        Este incomparabilă situația. Acum este vorba de o gașcă pentru care este esențial să pună tălpi justiției, una din metode fiind eliminarea magistraților care chiar vor să-și facă treaba.

  6. Din cate stiu in istoria Romaniei nu a mai existat vreun om al legii care sa se implice admirabil de original si educativ in viata societatii civile, sa devina chiar sursa de inspiratie pentru „Vest”, asa cum este dl. judecator Danilet. Vor mai fi fost si altii dar nestiinta imi e mai mare decat stiinta.


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Daniela Dumbrava
Membru afiliat al Institutul de Istorie a Religiilor-Academia Română; PhD în științe umaniste, Universitatea de Studii din Florența, Italia; Membru al Societății Italiene de Istorie a Religiilor.

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