• Proposed Law Could Allow The President To Plunge Romania Into War Without The Consent Of Parliament

    April 17, 2024
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    Romanian President Klaus Iohannis receiving Volodomir Zelensky via X (formerly Twitter)

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    A new draft law on national defense proposed by the Romanian Ministry of National Defense could plunge the country into war. Vaguely defined “hybrid threats” would allow Parliament to employ military and non-military capabilities on the territory of the country or in outside the country. Even more concerning is that it would allow the president and prime minister to involve the country in a war without the consent of Parliament.

    The Association for the Defense of Human Rights in Romania – Helsinki Committee (APADOR – CH) harshly criticized the new proposal, declaring that, “In order to involve the country in a war, it is necessary for the Parliament to know very clearly, to have the correct and complete representation of what a ‘hybrid threat’ means that it wants to annihilate, even at the risk of starting a war.”

    Even more alarming, APADOR – CH points out is that “The president and the prime minister can take us to war without the consent of the Parliament – Art. 4 para. 4 allows two people, the prime minister and the president of the country, to engage the country in a war, although, according to the Constitution, only the Parliament can decide to enter a war.”

    “The vague wording of para. 4 allows the president to order any ‘necessary measures,’ i.e. measures that can be qualified as acts of aggression (armed interventions against/on the territory of another country), if he considers them necessary for the protection of Romanian citizens in a foreign country.” The Association added that “This attribution should belong exclusively to the Parliament, not to the president, because according to art. 65 of the Constitution, only Parliament can declare a state of war. As such, in art. 4 para. 4 of the draft should replace the phrase ‘President of Romania’ with ‘Parliament of Romania.’”

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    The proposed law could also allow for the reintroduction of mandatory military service by stipulating “that the Ministry of National Defense ‘organizes, on a permanent basis, the training of the population for defense...’. The ambiguous way in which this attribution is drafted does not exclude the possibility of establishing a mandatory military training course for the population. Especially since in the statement of reasons for the current draft law, listed among the reasons that created problems for national defense, was the law suspending mandatory military service (Law no. 395/2005 on the peacetime suspension of compulsory military service and transition to voluntary military service). It is debatable whether the introduction of such a mandate by the MApN, which can quite severely affect the ordinary life of the population, should not be subject, in addition to an extensive and honest public debate, to a national referendum. As such, the attribution provided for in art. 28 lit. d of the draft should either be eliminated or reformulated much more precisely and predictably, to provide certainty that this legal provision, due to its ambiguity, will not be the basis for the reintroduction of mandatory military service.”



    Staff Writer

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