The Relation between Treaties and the Constitution of Romania: Recent Case-Law of the Romanian Constitutional Court


Abstract: In March 2020, the Constitutional Court of Romania issued the Decision no. 142/2020, which represents an important development in the interpretation of the constitutional norms related to the relation between international law and domestic law. As a matter of principle, the Constitutional Court ruled that it does not have jurisdiction to review the constitutionality of a treaty to which Romania is a party, once the treaty had entered into force. The constitutional review is limited, in this case, the „external” requirements of the law for the ratification of that treaty. According to article 11 paragraph 3 of the Constitution of Romania, constitutionality of treaties can be reviewed only before consent to that treaty is expressed and, if non-conformities are found between the treaty and the Constitution, ratification can take place only after the revision of the Constitution. Nevertheless, as an ‘exception’, the Constitutional Court will maintain jurisdiction with respect to examining the conformity of treaties to which Romania is a party with ”fundamental principles of international law” which have a correspondent in the Constitution – as it is the case, for example, of the principle of compliance with fundamental rights.

Key-words: international law and domestic law; treaties; Constitution; hierarchy of norms.

* Ion Gâlea is Senior Lecturer in Public International Law and International Organizations at the University of Bucharest, Faculty of Law. He held the position of director general for legal affairs (legal advisor) within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Romania between 2010 and 2016. Since 2016, he is the Ambassador of Romania to the Republic of Bulgaria. The opinions expressed in this paper are solely the author’s and do not engage the institutions he belongs to.

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