Justice clings to its chains, 1989–2004
in Romania and the European Union
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This chapter explores the degree of political control that was exercised over the justice system in Romania, and the degree to which this undermined meaningful prospects for reform. It demonstrates how the courts and prosecution service remained adjuncts of the Adrian Năstase government and its allies even as negotiations with the European Union (EU) were reaching their height. International financial institutions and the EU were slow to realise how important a compliant legal system was for autocratic rulers determined that the experiment with democracy would have definite limits. The tainted ethics of the justice system were no more sharply on display than during the Panait affair. Under Rodica Stănoiu, independent-minded prosecutors were hounded and purged. The EU seemed to feel that the partisan steps taken by Stănoiu and her aides were the dying gasps of the old politicised legal system.

Romania and the European Union

How the weak vanquished the strong

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