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Questions asked of Romania’s cooperation with its international commitments

The former Attorney General of England and Wales has led a chorus of criticism of Romania over its failure to comply with an international ruling over the European Arrest Warrant (EAW)

By: EBR - Posted: Wednesday, April 26, 2017

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The international arbitration case was launched against Romania in August 2015 with TNG seeking damages for Romania’s ”wrongful attempts to destroy” Romania Libera and the ”wrongful forced bankruptcy” inflicted by the Romanian government on Astra Asigurari. In May 2016, in what is described as an attempt to ”silence” Adamescu, the Romanian government issued an EAW against him.
The international arbitration case was launched against Romania in August 2015 with TNG seeking damages for Romania’s ”wrongful attempts to destroy” Romania Libera and the ”wrongful forced bankruptcy” inflicted by the Romanian government on Astra Asigurari. In May 2016, in what is described as an attempt to ”silence” Adamescu, the Romanian government issued an EAW against him.

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by Martin Banks

The verbal comments by top barrister Lord Goldsmith comes after Romania refused to abide by a binding ruling of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). It concerns the case of Alexander Adamescu, a German citizen living in London who says the EAW was issued against him on "trumped up" charges of bribery and with the intention of thwarting the arbitration that The Nova Group, (TNG) led by Adamescu, has brought against Romania. The Nova Group initiated  arbitration proceedings against Romania demanding compensation for the systematic destruction of its investments in Romania, among which Romanian insurance company Astra Asigurari and Romania Libera, an independent newspaper.

TNG's  criticism has been heard by ICSID,  the world's leading international investment arbitration body set up by the World Bank. The Washington-based organisation ordered Romania to withdraw what numerous commentators believe to be a "politically motivated" EAW against Adamescu recognizing his importance  for the integrity of the proceedings.

In refusing to respect the ICSID Tribunal's authority, Romania is  said to be in breach of international legal obligations that it signed up to in the 1970s through its ratification of the Washington Convention. Adamescu's case has been highlighted by the UK national press and The Nova Group was represented by Lord Goldsmith's firm, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, in the arbitration.

Goldsmith was critical of Romania which has expressly refused to abide by the ruling. He said,  "Romania's refusal to abide by the Tribunal's binding ruling places Romania in breach of an international treaty that it has been a signatory to for many decades. Unless Romania now complies without further delay, questions will rightly be asked about Romania's willingness to adhere to its international commitments."

The international arbitration case was launched against Romania in August 2015 with TNG seeking damages for Romania's "wrongful attempts to destroy" Romania Libera and the "wrongful forced bankruptcy" inflicted by the Romanian government on Astra Asigurari. In May 2016, in what is described as an attempt to "silence" Adamescu, the Romanian government issued an EAW against him.

 The move drew international condemnation from academics, politicians and journalists who decried Romania's alleged failure to respect due process and who were concerned by the apparent political motivations for the move.  The Nova Group's legal team were successful in demonstrating to the ICSID Tribunal that the extradition of Adamescu to Romania would prevent the arbitration from proceeding fairly. In its decision to order Romania to withdraw the warrant, and in rejecting Romania's request for reconsideration of the decision,  the tribunal acknowledged what it called Adamescu's "essential importance to the fair conduct of the arbitration."

This, it said, was underlined by the death in January of his father and Nova Group founder, Dan Adamescu, while in Romania's custody.  On 29 March, the ICSID tribunal issued a binding decision ordering Romania to withdraw the warrant against Adamescu, and requiring Romania to "refrain from reissuing or transmitting any other EAW against him.

On 10 April, Romania asked the ICSID to reconsider its decision but this was rejected and the order upheld. Experts say Romania's pursuit of Adamescu's extradition breaches its commitment to the convention which it signed in 1974 and which stipulates that no party which has consented to arbitration can unilaterally withdraw that consent. 

Further comment came from  Adamescu who has lived in the UK for 4 years with his wife, Adriana, and their three children, who said, "Romania's violation of international law in the Astra case, its illegal use of 'lawfare' to attempt to silence me, and its desire to make the UK complicit in its political persecution of me and my family through the EAW, demonstrates that they are truly the EU's outlaw state."

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