Parliamentary questions
            Answer given by Mr Verheugen on behalf of the Commission 
            (written question:¬ E-2414/04) 

            As for the question on whether the Commission has any information 
on problems within the Romanian justice system, in the 2004 Regular Report on 
Romania‚?Ts Progress Toward Accession(1) the Commission assessed that since 
1997 progress had been made to address the required reform of the justice 
system. Nevertheless, the Report also concluded that certain serious problems 
remain. In particular the executive continues to limit the independence of the 
judiciary in practice, the effective management of court cases needs to be 
improved, the legal aid system needs to be enhanced, case law needs to be made 
far more accessible and the professional training of judges, clerks and other 
support staff should be enhanced to ensure the consistent quality of court 
judgments. The Romanian administration has passed a package of legislation 
intended to address these issues that entered into force at the end of 
September 2004. The Commission will monitor the progress made in implementing 
these laws very closely as an effective implementation on the ground is now the 
highest priority. In the above areas, Romania is receiving and will continue to 
receive considerable Phare assistance to improve the infrastructure and 
equipment in the court system.

            As for the question on whether the Commission can intervene in 
individual legal cases or demand explanations from the Romanian authorities, 
judgements in individual civil and criminal cases in Romania fall within the 
scope of Romanian law. They are not covered by the EU-Romania Association 
Agreement or by the body of EU law that Romania must apply to become a Member 
State and, as such, the Commission is not competent to intervene. Individuals 
in Romania must pursue their cases through the national courts, but once they 
have obtained a final ruling if they feel it is unsatisfactory they may 
challenge it before the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. To do so, 
however, they must demonstrate that they have exhausted all possibilities for 
redress in Romania, have followed the correct procedures (in particular that 
all relevant deadlines have been respected) and that their rights as protected 
by the European Convention on Human Rights have been violated.

            (1) SEC(2004) 1200. 

      On line: 17 November 2004
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