The state of emergency was instituted in Romania for a period of 30 days as of 16 March 2020 (i.e. the date when Decree No. 195/2020 establishing the state of emergency in Romania was published in the Official Gazette).

The state of emergency decree includes the following measures regarding the criminal proceedings:

1. Criminal investigation activity (including the activity of the judge for rights and freedoms) will be performed only regarding the cases indicated in the decree and the cases considered urgent by the prosecutor. Specifically, the following cases are concerned:

  • cases in which preventive measures were ordered or proposed, cases regarding the protection of victims and witnesses, cases for applying medical safety measures and cases in which the victims are minors;
  • criminal investigation activities the delay of which would endanger obtaining of evidence or catching the suspect/defendant and preliminary hearing activities;
  • cases which are urgent given the purpose of the national state of emergency as well as other urgent cases considered as such by the prosecutor.

2. The activity in the preliminary chamber and court trial shall be suspended during the state of emergency, except for:

  • urgent cases considered as such by the judge of the preliminary chamber or by the court, as well as
  • cases indicated in the decree (flagrant offenses, preventive measures, appeals against assets seizure measures, international judicial cooperation, measures regarding the protection of victims and witnesses, medical security measures, offenses against national security, terrorism or money laundering).

3. Criminal liability statute of limitations is suspended during the state of emergency:

  • in the cases where criminal investigation is not performed and
  • in the cases where criminal proceedings are suspended.

4. The consent for communication of procedural documents in criminal cases by electronic mail is presumed and, if needed, the judicial bodies will urgently request by telephone the e-mail addresses for communication of documents.

5. Time limits for communication of rulings, for submitting a complaint and ruling regarding such complaints (other than those provided at point 1 above) are interrupted. Time limits for submitting appeals in criminal cases (except for the cases tired in accordance with the Decree) are interrupted. Once the state of emergency ends, a new time limit of the same duration will commence.

6. The hearing of individuals deprived of their liberty shall be made through videoconference.

7. Public tenders for sale of the movable assets seized in the criminal proceedings are suspended.

8. Within 10 days as of the end of the state of emergency, the judge / court will take measures for setting the hearing dates and for performing procedural activities.

The Decree also provides measures regarding the enforcement of the punishments and deprivation and non-deprivation of liberty measures, some activities related to their enforcement being suspended during the state of emergency. Also, exercising certain rights of the incarcerated or arrested individuals was suspended, while the time for telephone and online conversations was correspondingly increased.