We strongly protest against the plans of the political power to offer impunity and increased powers to the agents from the security services, as it results from the draft law under debate by the Governing Coalition, and published by the journalists from G4Media.ro.
One of the provisions is impunity before justice: SRI (Romanian Intelligence Service) staff would be investigated only by a limited number of prosecutors, specifically appointed, and searches at SRI headquarters would be done only with the consent of the head of state and after informing the SRI director. Thus, de facto, SRI staff would have unprecedented protection before the courts, and any acts committed with the knowledge of the SRI director, or even the head of state, could never be investigated. The maximum consequence is that a malicious president could use SRI in his own interest without any legal liability.
The President is set to receive increased powers, and Parliament will be excluded from the procedure of dismissing the SRI director. It is unacceptable to limit Parliament’s power to control security services, and deepening the symbiosis between the head of state and the head of the SRI only increases the temptation of power and impunity.
Another outrageous provision is that the SRI staff could request support from any person for the performance of their legal duties and competencies, and that person would be obliged not only to assist but also to keep the operation secret. This type of provision goes far beyond the scope of citizens’ obligations and becomes a serious violation of civil liberties.
According to the same bill, SRI would become the national authority in the field of communications interception, so this means that the future National Center for Communications Interception will operate within the SRI. At least two previous decisions of the Constitutional Court have declared outside the Constitution the presence of SRI in the criminal investigation procedure, as the authority responsible for interceptions.
Last but not least, SRI would receive the right to create and manage their own companies (“Activities financed entirely from own income may be established, according to the law”) and even its own civil society („Professional, social, cultural, sporting or recreational or humanitarian associations”), all out of the public eye, and potentially even out of fiscal control, because operational documents on expenditure are scrapped and destroyed annually, at the end of the fiscal year. However, the funds can also come from any „other sources, legally constituted” (sponsorships, donations, economic activities).
We also remind you that this project, under the debate inside the governing coalition and published by journalists from G4Media.ro, was preceded by normative acts, adopted by the Government and Parliament, which increased the powers of security services in other areas: interception of electronic communications through the Communications Code (law declared partially unconstitutional by the Constitutional Court), filtering foreign investment from countries outside the EU, or secret services with a central role in the government cloud project, with direct access to all traffic data.
The rapid militarization of the state, under the leadership of a prime minister who has passed far too quickly from the role of an active general to that of a career politician, and at the command of a president who is very much morally removed from citizens, democracy and freedom, represents a trend that worries us deeply, and we urge all political parties to stop it immediately.
Centrul pentru Inovare Publică
Asociația pentru Tehnologie și Internet
CeRe: Centrul de Resurse pentru participare publică
Asociația MozaiQ LGBT
Institutul Român pentru Pace, PATRIR
Átlátszó Erdély (Transilvania Transparentă)
Centrul pentru Jurnalism Independent
FONSS- Federația Organizațiilor Neguvernamentale pentru Servicii Sociale
Asociația Parcul Natural Văcărești
Asociația Miliția Spirituală