Ignorantia Juris Semper Excusat

You know, sometimes things in Romania are so absurd that when you hear about yet another tragedy, you almost have to laugh. Almost.

First up, Justice Minister Raluca “I Need A Billion Euros to Spy On You” Pruna agreed with the recent Constitutional Court (Supreme Court) ruling that ignorance of the law is an excuse.

At issue is whether a government official is committing the “abuse of office” if they’re too stupid or too ignorant to know they’re doing it. According to the court, the relevant law must be changed from defining abuse of office as:

A public functionary, when exercising their authority, fails to act or takes an action “in a defective manner” that causes harm or infringe upon the rights of a person or company.

to replacing “in a defective manner” with “while knowingly breaking the law”.

Nobody quite knows what the fallout will be, as Saint Laura was screaming in the media that the court ruling will jeopardize thousands of her cases (a lot of which deal with the crime of abuse of office) while other reactions ranged from “this is just a clarification and won’t change a thing” to Mr. Magoo (literally) shouting at reporters, “Will this ruling let thieves off the hook? No!”

This whole process got started when Alina “The Snitch” Bica, the former head of the Keystone Kop DIICOT agency, sued, alleging that the current criminal case against her for her own abuse of office was unconstitutional. Because, you know, if you’re ignorant and stupid and abuse your office unintentionally, that’s not a crime. It’s only a crime if you know you’re committing a crime when you’re taking kickbacks and bribes.

Swear to God, I’m not making this up.

Meanwhile, Vlad “Vivi” Voiculescu, the second non-elected “technocrat” Health Minister to hold the job in the past six months, recently admitted that Romania’s healthcare system is completely and thoroughly fucked (Romanian version aici), clarifying that literally (!) no one knows how many doctors there are in the country and that healthcare in Romania is set up on a “feudal” system.

Nobody would expect the Minister of Sport to know how many basketball players there are in Romania, but doctors? Men and women who have to go to special schools and then pass examinations and get licensed by the state in order to practice? Nope, nobody knows.

Voiculescu put the blame on “databases”, saying that each fiefdom in the feudal system uses their own outdated computer systems and none of them can talk to each other, plus there are multiple databases that overlap and have conflicting figures, so there’s no way to know who is a licensed doctor or how many people are working as doctors.

Hmm… where have I heard that before? Right.

Voting computers don’t work. Civil aviation computers don’t work. Police computers don’t work. Basic government services by computer don’t exist or don’t work. The websites of courts in Romania don’t work. Other e-government services are non-functioning or way behind schedule. All this in a country with some of the best hackers, coders and computer programmers in the world.

Again, if it weren’t so tragic, it’d actually be funny.

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