Romania: Follow-up to ROM38645.E of 10 April 2002 on reports of prosecutions of Romanians under Article 238 of the Penal Code; profile of prosecuted individuals or groups; outcomes of the prosecutions (May 2002)
|Publisher||Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada|
|Author||Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada|
|Publication Date||3 June 2002|
|Citation / Document Symbol||ROM39276.E|
|Cite as||Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Romania: Follow-up to ROM38645.E of 10 April 2002 on reports of prosecutions of Romanians under Article 238 of the Penal Code; profile of prosecuted individuals or groups; outcomes of the prosecutions (May 2002), 3 June 2002, ROM39276.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3df4be9e8.html [accessed 21 September 2014]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
In an effort to bring Romania's laws in line with European legislation, the Romanian government adopted on 23 May 2002 an emergency ordinance which abrogates Article 238 of the Penal Code (RFE/RL 24 May 2002).
In correspondence dated 25 April 2002, the executive director of the Bucharest-based Centre for Independent Journalism, a non-governmental, not-for-profit organization which offers training to the media and is affiliated with the New York-based Independent Journalism Foundation (CJI n.d.), provided the following comment on the Penal Code articles on offence against the authority, insulting the authorities, defamation of the country, calumny:
According to the statistics of the Justice Ministry, during 2001, 483 persons were convicted of calumny (art. 206 in the Penal Code), out of which:
- 383 got penal fines; - 4 persons got prison sentences up to 6 months; - 3 persons got prison sentences from 1 year to 5 years; - 93 got suspended terms in jail;
Out of this number, there were 33 journalists, sentenced as follows:
- 13 - to fine; - 20 - suspended terms in jail;
Also, during 2001, 431 persons were convicted for outrage (which includes also physical assault against representatives of authorities) ... There is no data available on persons tried and convicted under art. 205 (insult) and art. 238 (offense brought to authorities). Such data will be available starting with this year.
The data was provided to us by the Justice Ministry, by our specific request.
One may say that these provisions are not vastly or aggressively used against journalists – and citizens, at large – but their very existence poses a real danger. In January 2002 ... , a person was arrested for having sent an e-mail with a document containing alleged acts of corruption of the prime minister. The man, an IT, was accused of spreading false information able to damage Romania's interests and international relations. He was released three days after, under a huge pressure from the media and the civil society. This case (known as "Armageddon 2") proved that the repressive reflexes are still in place and the current authorities do not hesitate to use obsolete legislation.
This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.
Centre for Independent Journalism [Bucharest]. 25 April 2002. Correspondence from the executive director.
_____. n.d. "Who We Are."
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) Newsline [Prague]. 24 May 2002. "Romanian Government Amends Penal Code."