|On March 28, 2003, the Center for the Study of Democracy and Coalition 2000 organized a round table discussion on the experience of Romania in combating corruption with guest expert Mr. Terry Lord, Resident Legal Advisor at the US Embassy in Romania.|
Members of the Parliamentary Anti-Corruption
Committee, representatives of the Governmental Anti-corruption
Commission, the National Investigation Agency and non-governmental
organizations were invited to take part in the discussion.
Mr. Terry Lord, Resident Legal Advisor at the US Embassy in Romania, presented practical aspects of the work of the
Romanian Anti-Corruption Public Prosecutor's Office. Mr. Lord had
worked for the US Department of Justice since 1970. He became the
Resident Legal Advisor of the US Embassy in Bucharest in the summer
of 2001. As an expert in prosecution of corruption cases he is
involved in supporting the work of the recently established
National Anti-Corruption Public Prosecutor's Office in Romania.
In his presentation Mr. Lord introduced some of the
major points in the law regulating the establishment of the
anti-corruption office, adopted in July 2002, as well as some
aspects of the operation of the unit and the problems it has
encountered. He stressed that the number one principle in
establishing an anti-corruption unit should be independence.
Ethical training and Code of Conduct training is therefore
essential for the independence of the public prosecutors involved
in the operation of the unit.
The Romanian Anti-Corruption Public Prosecutor's
Office is structured into two levels: it has a Central office and
Territorial Task Forces. In accordance with its structure the
central unit investigates only high level officials and the
territorial - lower level officials. The Director of the unit is
appointed by the President of Romania and should have ten years of
experience as prosecutor and the public prosecutors of the National
Anti-Corruption Public Prosecutor's Office should have 6 years of
service in the office of public prosecutor or judge, as well as
remarkable personal qualities and results in combating crimes of
One of the major limitations in the work of the
Anti-Corruption Public Prosecutor's Office, according to Mr. Lord,
is the unit's funding. "Funding of an anti-corruption unit
might cost a lot", Mr. Lord said, "but it costs more not to do it.
In the end it pays back."
A special database was created for sharing
and coordinating information among the various agencies who have
this information and those who are in need of it.
Another important point brought forward was the
reporting system of the Anti-Corruption Office, which helped
to identify the immediate needs of the prosecutors involved in
investigating cases of corruption. This proved the necessity of
developing special training by the US Embassy in Bucharest
in support of the unit, which was so designed as to provide
practical advice and expertise to the prosecutors.
Mr. Lord noted that the implementation of a strategy
for dissemination of information to the public was essential
to the success of the project, as reporting cases of corruption was
always a very sensitive issue. He related some of the problems the
Romanian Anti-corruption Office has met in this respect.
Mr. Dimitar Markov, Project Coordinator at the Law
Program, Center for the Study of Democracy, highlighted the
arguments in favor and against the idea of the Bulgarian President
for establishment of an independent anti-corruption agency in
Bulgaria and the potential steps that are to be taken before
implementing such an idea.
Round table: Establishing a National Agency for Combating Corruption: Pro and Contra
Law N503 of 11 July 2002 for the approval of the Government Emergency Ordinance N43/2002 regarding the National Anti-Corruption Public Prosecutor's Office in Romania