US ambassador: Romanian judicial system under threat

October 01, 2018 - 6:54 am

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — The U.S. ambassador to Romania has issued a stark warning to the country, claiming its justice system is being "dismantled" by lawmakers with "vested interests."

Hans G. Klemm told law students on Monday that magistrates were being intimidated and "increasingly targeted politically, and in the media for court decisions and public opinions that political leaders see as endangering their private interests."

Romanians have staged regular protests against legislative changes initiated by the left-wing government, saying they will make it harder to prosecute high-level corruption.

Klemm said the contentious judicial overhaul risked turning back the clock "to the early 2000s, when the Romanian judiciary was plagued by corruption and political influence."

He said if the laws go through, it would make prosecution much harder and "significantly reduce" international law enforcement cooperation.