Gregorian Bivolaru’s Case at The High Court of Cassation and Justice of Romania Will Be Rejudged: a Peculiar Decision of The Court Concluding Eight Years of Highly Controversial Judicial Work

Posted: April 19, 2012 / in: Blog / 10 comments

On the 12th of April 2012, the Supreme Court of Romania was supposed to come with a decision in the file 405/85/2005 in which renowned yoga teacher Gregorian Bivolaru was charged with the following offences: sexual act with a minor, sexual perversion in a continuous form, minor trafficking, sexual corruption, sexual act with a minor in a continuous form, fraudulous attempt of crossing the Romanian board.

After being acquitted by the two previous courts because the incriminating facts did not exist, Mr Bivolaru’s case was appealed by the prosecutors to the highest court of the country.

Only at closer inspection does this fact reveal something strange: the state (represented by the prosecutors) is complaining to the state (the Supreme Court) against the job done by the state (the two courts before). One might say this shows the independence of the justice courts in Romania, but to me this shows, on one hand, the disarray the Romanian judicial system is currently in and, on the other hand, it reveals the hidden agenda that wants to have Mr Bivolaru convicted at any price.
The Alba Iulia Court of Appeal not only maintained the not guilty verdict for Mr Bivolaru but also denounced in strong terms (expressed in the final verdict document) the many mistakes and irregularities performed by the prosecutors in the preparation of the case. Normally such previous decisions would recommend the Supreme Court to analyze the procedures from the previous courts and eventually to send back the file to the lower court to be reconsidered. But this happens when the state works for the interests of the citizen in general and not for the interests of some particular citizens.

Therefore, despite what would have been the normal course of events, the Highest Court of Romania decided to cancel the two decisions that were taken by the previous courts and to rejudge the file one more time, admitting the request of the prosecutors (the same ones found by the Court of Appeal of Alba Iulia to have done a series of mistakes and errors in their proceedings!).

In other words, the Supreme Court is pushing away the embarrassment of the previous decisions (brushing them under the carpet) and giving the upper hand to exactly those who were in fact proven wrong…twice (the prosecutors).

At a first glance one might consider that this decision will have a positive outcome, but at a closer look one can discover that things are not as nice as they are presented to the general public in order to save Romania’s image in front of a Europe that has impatiently run toward the high level of corruption and lies that almost paralyzes the Romanian judicial system.

What very few know is that the court has already taken into consideration all the evidence, they have called upon the so-called victim to give a full interview in the court and even accepted the illegal phone-tapping documents that were provided in the last moment by the prosecutors. In other words, the Supreme Court ALREADY FULLY JUDDGED THE CASE! But under the pressure created by an average of 3-4 daily appeals from different MEPs arriving on the desk of the Minister of Justice in Bucharest, a conviction of Mr Bivolaru would have looked strange and risked raising suspicion in Brussels. Therefore by deciding to cancel the previous judgments and saying they will rejudge the whole case they can buy more time in an attempt to push away the international pressure and create a frame in which a conviction of Mr Bivolaru will not look so suspicious.

But such proceedings reveal that the decision has already been made and that they only wait for a better situation to put it forward. Why else, after performing all the operations that would easily qualify as a rejudging of the case to decide…would you do it all again?

Moreover, the court has cancelled the previous decisions of the courts, decisions that were not only acquitting Mr Bivolaru but were also pointing out some procedural mistakes of the prosecutors. In a normal situation, the Supreme Court would have to analyze the correctness of the procedures from previous courts and if any mistakes were found to have been made to send the file to be rejudged. In this case, the Court is canceling the critical judgment of the previous courts and is admitting the prosecutor’s objections.
Now there is something that I cannot ignore if we are to present the facts from a wider perspective.

gregorian bivolaruFor anyone who knows at least a little about Eastern European politics, and the way corruption is affecting these countries, the political control of the judiciary is mostly operating at the level of the Supreme Court of Justice. There are endless scandals and suspicions with regards to the political control of the Supreme Court of Justice. Particularly in Romania, this fact has constantly been under a series of debates that have aimed to bring this phenomenon into the light. It is just enough to see how many cases of large-scale corruption were eventually acquitted in the Supreme Court (after they were convicted in the lower courts) to realize that in Romania the Supreme Court is the politically controlled institution that is used as the private interest dictate.

It is not by mistake that Romania is constantly under severe scrutiny from the EU Commission exactly for its corruption of Justice.

At this point it becomes very clear why they made this peculiar decision to keep and rejudge the case at the Supreme Court instead of sending it for rejudging – eventually with some recommendations regarding procedural mistakes. By this, the authorities want to make sure that nothing will get out of control when all eyes start to turn towards Romania and that the decision will come out as already planned.

From another perspective, the 12th of April decision of the Supreme Court of Justice of Romania is similar to a situation in sport, when towards the end of a game where one team is leading 2-0 the referee decides that the game will be replayed, canceling the score until that moment. And they call this fair play! It is no wonder that the Supreme Court of Justice of Sweden decided (considering EXACTLY THE SAME CASE THAT IS NOW ON TRIAL IN BUCHAREST) to grant Mr Bivolaru the status of political asylum because he will not face fair treatment in Romania. It is now becoming clearer than ever that the Swedes were perfectly right about the judicial system in Romania!

And to complete the view we have to mention another astonishing fact that proves that the above ideas are perfectly true: after a genuine political “bombardment” through dozens of appeals and letters of support being sent to Bucharest by Members of the European Parliament and other officials from Brussels on the specific issue of the Gregorian Bivolaru – MISA case (an unprecedented situation in itself judging by the dimension of the phenomenon!) the Romanian media DID NOT REPORT ANYTHING. Under the intense debate about Romania’s image before the rest of Europe, one would imagine that this situation would be ideal for any journalist that would want to have a good story … but this is not valid in Romania. NO media even mentioned the wave of political support from Brussels in the Gregorian Bivolaru case! This confirms again the rightfulness of the decision by the Supreme Court of Justice of Sweden that considered, among other things, that the social environment in Romania permits the authorities to act in a totalitarian way by exerting an abnormal, indirect control over the media, distorting therefore its function in order to serve the interests of one side only and preventing Mr Bivolaru from having a fair trial in this country.

If other arguments might be a result of interpretation, the latest one is benefiting from the power of statistics: one cannot lie to the statistics. And the statistics state that NO MEDIA REPORTED ABOUT THE EUROPEAN INTEREST IN GREGORIAN BIVOLARU’S CASE, even when the Minister of Justice of the country officially responded to a large group of MEPs. Such a unified act of unprofessionalism in the Romanian media cannot have another explanation but the rule of silence that is imposed by a force behind the scenes… and now we force it more out into the open.

Now we can easily see that the recent decision of the Supreme Court is more like a desperate attempt to buy some time and to try to fool everyone with a maneuver that is meant to create the frame for easily introducing the already taken decision of convicting Mr Gregorian Bivolaru for the only real crime of daring to stand up for the TRUTH in a society where this has become a supreme act of courage.

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Advaita Stoian

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Comments (10)

  1. Søren Gannik says:

    To qoute from the article: “It is just enough to see how many cases of large-scale corruption were eventually acquitted in the Supreme Court (after they were convicted in the lower courts) to realize that in Romania the Supreme Court is the politically controlled institution that is used as the private interest dictate.”

    That says it all, really.

    Same kind of corruption force the hand of the supreme justices to annul the former trails.

  2. dr. J. Bryce says:

    Yes, it feels they are all set on stand by, at the orders of someone, who will say go right, go left, do this, do not do that, say this, do not say that,.. all a bunch of bought romanian puppets that do not dare to do anything.
    what a fear must be in their heads besides the general corruption! i still hope there will be found people to unblock this humiliation system for any human treaty.

  3. Xing Chi says:

    Why don’t you simply print on simple papers about this, and spread it through the metro stations, buses, universities, even to the romanian government, everywhere in this lovely romanian country that is so enslaved even it gave birth to many wonderful people?
    There is lots of information that would move people’s hearts, just put it out. Not everyone is dead! Manipulators need to stop stealing other people’s life.
    if not now, then when?

  4. Ronan says:

    I still say the media silence can be used to give more attention to this. Posters all over Romania saying “Do you know what happened to Gregorian Bivolaru?” and a website telling all this story.

    Be blessed,
    Ronan

    • Mihai Stoian Mihai Stoian says:

      @ Ronan
      THank you for the idea. Of course this can be done but there is more to this than just a website. It is the will of people to find out the truth. Many people know that what they see on TV is full of errors and lies. Yet they prefer this to the personal investigation since this is easier and apparently fit with the consensus reality around them. They will start to search when the situation will threaten their own life or interests. And even then, it takes time before majority will start to disbelief in the central authority because they have been educated in this way.
      This have also the advantage that the oppressive forces (that are hiding mostly behind the official power) cannot move as fast as they would like … because they risk to wake up the sleepers and alert them. That is why they have to use the “boiling of the frog” scheme.

  5. Dan Popescu says:

    @Ronan and Xing Chi
    exactly! that’s the thing! simple and clearly written, out-speaking the shame we live for so many years. Enough with the indolence and mediocrity, let the people know like that, if there is no media in Romania.
    There were enough sacrifices and tolerated abuses already.
    Romania was not suppose to be accepted not even in the EU in the first place with such ongoing sick justice.

  6. Marie (France) says:

    I see you have answers from Brussels and it’s great.
    How about the Court of Justice of the European Union in Luxembourg? and European Court of Human Rights, the supranational court based in Strasbourg? their mission is to ensure that ”law is observed”.
    Some people maybe should check even more on the european union laws and the Amsterdam treaty regarding the Schengen acceptance. I would present the situation to other systems involved. Even if a whole system is corrupt, at least have them look at the puke.. it is a way of eventually starting to become aware and start slowly the possible healing.. although corruption, ignorance and lack of verticality is like in the genes of humans..
    If this was a mistake with accepting the spineless Romania’s system of justice in the EU, this for sure should not be allowed to pass any further until it eventually cures.

  7. Agape says:

    The Supreme Court is supposed to be the Supreme justice, the end of the line, where justice will be given finally, if not before. It is truly astonishing that the Supreme Court chose not to decide, not to give a verdict but to let the process continue.
    Who benefits from this decision? An ongoing process is not a neutral situation but a very damaging one both for MISA and Mr. Bivolaru. An ongoing process in Romania means a continued witch-hunt in media, continued social marginalisation of thousands of people and continued exile for many of the leading members of MISA.
    The continued process is not a neutral continued attention to the situation. Attention to the MISA case would highlight many of the Romanian judicial, social and political problems that are rooted in an obscure totalitarian past. But there is no attention, only a full on continuation of all the means by which one tries to destroy the yoga-movement; the joint venture of police, prosecutors, judges and media.
    By deciding not to decide but to let the process continue the Supreme Court does not only fail its mandate to be Supreme, but also lends itself instrumental to the ongoing persecutions of yogis in Romania.

  8. Dom says:

    @agape
    Correct..
    What i see is also that the corruption in Romania becomes more and more obvious and there are already people that want to take a look at it. For example, regarding media, even romanians now, many, they know that most of the things do not reflect only a reality that certain people wish to offer to the mass.. and keep it in their chains.. I don’t think they will be able to do this very much longer.

  9. Jean (France) says:

    Something odd going on with how the Council of Europe, representing 47 member states and over 800 million citizens.. has met these days in Brighton to discuss reforming the figure head institution of the European Court of Human Rights. Here is an extract that worths to be read..

    How do you see it reflected in the MISA case??

    Surprising? Perhaps not so. A series of embarrassing and unpopular defeats for the Government by the ECHR, has led to widespread media outcry over the supremacy of European law over British law. Since the ECHR was established in 1959, 61 per cent of judgments have gone against the UK government.

    David Cameron has often come out and publicly condemned decisions made in the Strasbourg court, and following pressure from his own backbenchers, has promised to dilute the powers of the European Convention on Human Rights over the domestic court system. Earlier this year, he stated that Strasbourg must not “undermine its own reputation” by overruling national courts and has put forward reforms including restoring powers to national courts, which will be discussed at the summit in Brighton this week.

    However rumour has it that the latest draft of the planned reforms has massively watered down British suggestions, before the summit has even commenced.

    The main thrust of the British authored reform proposals involve a change in the synergy between national law courts and the ECHR.

    One proposal suggests Strasbourg should rarely rule over cases which have already journeyed through the entire domestic court process. Already, this demand has been effectively erased.

    Instead the UK Government proposed a more advisory role for the ECHR, with the justification that this would reduce the need for certain cases to be taken to Strasbourg. Instead it would come under an agreement that the “interaction between the court and national authorities could be strengthened” suggesting closer adherence to the Convention in British law.

    The suggestion was made to supposedly reduce the backlog of cases at the ECHR, where more than 160,000 cases are yet to be tried. In its first forty years, only 45,000 cases were presented to the ECHR, compared to the 61,300 the court was asked to consider in 2010 alone.

    The British suggestion, which essentially is designed to allow individual states to some extent ignore court rulings and adopt their own positions, comes in the wake of the case of killer John Hirst, where the UK blanket ban on prisoners voting was ruled by the ECHR to be unlawful. The matter reached the Houses of Parliament where MPs voted by 234 to 22 in favour of defying the ECHR judgment and the issue was kicked into the long grass.

    David Cameron’s stance is, one imagines, partially designed to make sure this issue, and other controversial media spinners, are kept out of the public eye and are thus non problematic for the Government. However fears that compensation claims of UK prisoners appealing to the ECHR could run into millions has forced the Government to reopen this thorny issue.

    The biggest issue faced by both the UK Government and the ECHR is the perception of an existing democratic deficit, whereby unelected judges have primacy over elected decision makers.

    Most people often make the mistake of conflating the European Court of Human Rights with the EU. The two are separate institutions. Yet all new signatories to the EU must sign up to the ECHR before accession. As an original signatory, the UK Government’s membership of both is in many respects like being a fully paid up member of two separate clubs.

    Despite this, successive Governments have always denied calls of leaving the ECHR, although confusing parallel legislation, such as the proposal to create a British Bill of Rights, to subsume the Convention and create a more idiomatic text, has been recently debated.

    The rights set out in the ECHR itself have not been debated. The sticking point has been over how those rights are adjudicated, the main thrust of this week’s proposed reforms, and how rights are counterbalanced and interpreted and ultimately, by whom. Most often trials have to conduct a sort of titration of juxtaposed human rights, leading to conflicts of opinion between judges and legislators. What perhaps is lacking is a democratic override, whereby Parliamentary sovereignty is at the top of the food chain, or indeed the UK Supreme Court. As such assurances have been made that a British Bill of Rights would be “ECHR plus” in order to subsume the extant legislation to which Britain agreed when it signed up to the Convention into the newly drafted Bill.

    Currently the House of Commons is obliged to accept Strasbourg’s rulings, however unpopular the conclusions. Yet what is unlikely to happen would be a shift of supremacy to the Commons, whereby all unpopular rulings could be overturned. What the British Government are trying to bargain for instead this week is a shift in priority.

    Yet what is perhaps the most interesting aspect in this narrative is the potential sting in the tail that could emanate from Brussels.

    This last week, Parliament, also in Strasbourg, debated the EU accession to the ECHR. Despite new signatories having to sign up to the convention, the EU itself is not a fully fledged member. Technical anomalies have thus far postponed the full accession of the EU tot he ECHR, which amounts to judicial positioning rather than the application of European law into EU courts.

    What is interesting, essentially, is this:

    Currently the UK could conceivably opt out of the ECHR. However if the EU signs up in its own right, the only way out for the UK would be by leaving the EU. This opens the door for future debate on the equilibrium between national sovereignty and ECHR supremacy to be both intruded upon by Brussels, and essentially slammed shut.

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