Law no. 1/1998 has been violating the Romanian Constitution for 12 years, since it has been revised
In the journalistic approach to document the procedure of nominating and appointing the Director of the Romanian Intelligence Service, Sursa Zilei discovered a legislative anomaly dating back 12 years, during which the SIE had three directors appointed by Parliamentary vote – Claudiu Saftoiu, Mihai Razvan Ungureanu and Teodor Melescanu.
Specifically, Law no. 1/1998 on the organization and functioning of the Foreign Intelligence Service, in effect at this moment, provides at Article 6, paragraph 1, that “the Foreign Intelligence Service management is ensured by a director, with the rank of Minister, appointed by the Supreme Council of Defense at the proposal of the Romanian President”.
At the same time, the Romanian Constitution, as it has been revised in 2003, provides at Article 65, letter h, as a task of the joint chambers of Parliament, “the appointing, after the President’s proposal, of the directors of intelligence services and exercising control over the work of these services”.
In contrast, the 1991 Romanian Constitution was establishing, at Article 62, letter g, that the appointment, at the proposal of the Romanian President, of the Director of the Romanian Intelligence Service and exercising control over the activities of this service is the responsibility of the joint meeting of the Parliament rooms.
In other words, the Romanian Constitution was revised without anybody taking into account that the SIE Law must also be modified in accordance with the new Constitution. The SIE act was operating under the old Constitution which provided only the appointing of the SRI Director, not the SIE one.
To explain this legislative anomaly, we have contacted the members of the SIE Control Commission and the President of the Constitutional Court, Augustin Zegrean.
The President of the SIE Parliamentary Commission, PNL Deputy Mihaita Calimente, admits that there is a contradiction between the SIE Law and the Romanian Constitution and that it should be modified. „Now, let’s be serious, how many things don’t we have in contradiction with the Constitution?”
PNL Senator Marius Obreja was surprised by this situation, admitting that he was not aware of the existence of these legislative contradictions. He assured us that he will take care of clarifying this issue.
The President of the Constitutional Court, Augustin Zegrean, appeared surprised stating, after noting our referral, that „there is a big old sore in the Law”. „If it is as you say, it is against the Constitution”, because „CSAT does not have the appointment responsibility in any situation”. For the Constitutional Court judges to be able to decide on the violation of the Basic Law, they must be notified, according to the Law, either by the People’s Advocate, either by the Parliament. „We cannot take notice by ourselves, it would be too good to be so” declared Augustin Zegrean. „Since 1998 until now so many directors were appointed, did nobody notice?” the CCR President asked himself. Zegrean believes that „the law must be modified through another law or through an emergency ordinance, especially since the SIE Director office is now vacant, and the urgency is justified”.