Did Romania mislead Europol to violate the Geneva Convention?

On Friday, January 29, EUROPOL published “Europe’s most wanted fugitive” list. The list features 43 fugitives, who hide in other EU member states. Most of them are wanted for murder, armed robbery, rape or organized crime. But one of them is not a hiding fugitive at all, but a Romanian refugee with asylum in Sweden.

The Romanian accusations were tried by the Swedish Supreme Court, who found them to violate his human rights. In 2006 he received Swedish asylum as religious refugee. In recent years Romania have taken up the persecutions of the refugee, now within the EU collaboration. In 2013 a European Arrest Warrant was issued on his name, and now he appears on Europol's most wanted fugitives list.

Judicial protection between EU member states is rare and sensitive. The Romanian/Swedish case has been discussed at highest EU level. The European Commission has requested Swedish authorities first of all to protect the refugee's rights, allowing Sweden to ignore the European arrest warrant.

How can it be that Europol now side with Romania against the Swedish asylum and the Geneva Convention?

It seems that Romania has misled Europol. The refugee was never investigated for the offences posted on the Europol list. The actual offense for which the refugee was wrongly convicted in Romania does not qualify for Europol collaboration. Disregarding that the refugee status prohibits Europol to publish his name as a criminal, Romania could not even suggest it, according to their own regulations.

It seems that Romanian authorities deliberately provided Europol with erroneous information, in order to continue the persecution through the new most wanted list. The persecution of the refugee is well documented by Amnesty, The Helsinki Committee (APADOR-CH), Human Rights Without Frontiers and many other organisations. Scholars and experts such as Andreescu (Romania) and Sperling (Denmark) find the roots of the persecution in the secret police Securitate during the Ceausescu regime.

Romanian authorities have no right to put Bivolaru Gregorian on that list and have violated two serious aspects:

- The offense of sexual intercourse with a minor is beyond the competence of Europol.

- The offense of sexual intercourse with a minor did not involve two EU member states.

In the Council Decision of 6 April 2009 establishing the European Police Office (Europol), Decision 2009/371/JHA in chapter I Article 4 and its Annex (correspondent in the national Romanian law, Law 55/2012) one specifies the competence in international cooperation and the list of the crimes for which the collaboration is allowed. Thus, we find that this collaboration is legitimate in case of offense of organized crime, terrorism and other serious crimes affecting two EU countries. Also, in the annex with offenses falling within the competence of Europol on the basis of such collaboration, the offense of sexual intercourse with a minor is not listed. https://www.europol.europa.eu/

Thus, the nomination of Gregorian Bivolaru by the Romanian Police among the top two most dangerous criminals in Romania is not understandable.

Also, referring to the Romanian Police website on the most wanted criminals in the country, it can be seen that out of 41 people indicated, at least 15 of them have much harsher sentences than Gregorian Bivolaru, as for example, "aggravated murder" (sentence 21 years), "offenses in arms and ammunition" (conviction 18 years), "cheating and forgery" (conviction 17 years), "high-risk drugs"(conviction 15 years), and others.

The EUobserver is pointing out an important angle regarding the posting of Gregorian Bivolaru on the EU most wanted list. As “Sweden made him a refugee in 2006. Romania joined the EU in 2007 and sentenced him, in absentia, in 2013. The EU project poses the question of what would a Swedish Fast unit do if an alert on Bivolaru, now 63, came in.” https://euobserver.com/justice/132068

Currently the European Court of Human Rights look into the case, and question Romania regarding several human rights issues. http://hudoc.echr.coe.int/eng#

The case has been discussed on several occasions at the OSCE HDIM and in the European Parliament. It is currently running as a case in the PETI committee of the European Parliament.

Several human rights organizations have made reports on the abuses, MEPs from all the groups of the European Parliament have engaged themselves in the case. International media, experts and authorities have unanimously treated the case as a severe act of human rights abuses.

Europol and Romanian Police, by publishing the refugee's name as a wanted fugitive criminal violates his rights that ensue from the refugee status under the mentioned Geneva Convention from 1951.