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Legislative Evolution in Romanian Criminal Proceedings: The Special Procedure for Compensation of Material or Moral Damages in Cases of Judicial Error

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For more content, see Review of Socialist Law.

This article analyzes the special procedure for compensating material or moral damages where there has been a wrongful conviction—or other wrongful injury to individual liberty—caused by error in Romanian criminal proceedings.

This remedy is provided for by the 1969 Romanian Criminal Procedure Code; however (perhaps inevitably), tension has risen between these provisions and those of the 1991 Romanian Constitution resulting in amendments to both the Code and the Constitution. The most significant of these amendments have flowed from decisions of the Romanian Constitutional Court; in turn, the Constitutional Court has been guided in its determinations of constitutionality by interpretations of the 1950 European Convention on Human Rights.

In the present article, the author presents the evolution of Romania's legal framework in this field, analyzing key decisions of the Romanian Constitutional Court. Also considered here is the jurisprudence of Romanian ordinary courts dealing with the compensatory remedy for material or moral damages awarded to victims of judicial error in Romanian criminal proceedings. The relevance here of the practice of the European Court of Human Rights, which has been critical of Romania in this regard, cannot be overestimated.

Finally, this article considers the potential effect of changes contained the new Criminal Procedure Code, which has been adopted in mid-2010 by the Romanian Parliament.


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