Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Romania...Political Gamesmanship?


'Ionescu still has 'immunity'
Mon, Apr 26, 2010 AsiaOne

ROMANIA sent Singapore a diplomatic note last Friday asserting that former charge d'affaires Silviu Ionescu continues to enjoy diplomatic immunity for the hit-and-run case of December 15, 2009.
This is puzzling, said Foreign Minister George Yeo, as 'it seems to imply that Romania is now claiming that Dr Ionescu was engaged in official duties at the time of the accident and we do not understand how this can possibly be the case'.
On the other hand, Romanian media reports suggest that the Romanian police may be preparing to arrest the suspended diplomat. The police there have told Interpol that they have the competence to prosecute him and they have started criminal proceedings against him.

According to Minister George Yeo, these media reports have not confirmed, but the Romanian police has informed INTERPOL that the competence to prosecute Dr Ionescu remains with Romania and that criminal proceedings against him have started in Romania for crimes committed in Singapore.
With these conflicting accounts, the sooner the Romanian legal experts visit us to clarify the situation, exchange views and review the evidence with our legal experts, the better. The visit is expected to take place by May this year.

Singapore has continually stressed to Romanian Ambassador Mr. Aurelian Neagu, that the Romanian Government should not underestimate the outrage that Singaporeans feel about this case and that justice must not only be served, but seen to be served and served expeditiously.If not, as the MFA statement has already made clear on April 9, 2010, bilateral relations will be harmed.
However, Minister Yeo stressed the importance to be disciplined and to carefully observe due process despite feeling impatient.

Transcript of Minister George Yeo's replies to supplementary questions, April 26, 2010.

Ms Irene Ng Phek Hoong:
First I would like to commend the Minister for his firm handling of the case. It is important that Romania does not underestimate our determination and resolve to pursue this case to ensure that justice is served.
Can I ask the Minister if Romania has given an indication of how long the criminal investigations would take in their country?Also given that Romania does not seem to share the same understanding as Singapore that Ionescu does not have diplomatic immunity, is there a higher international body that we can turn to resolve this?

Minister George Yeo:
Legally speaking, there is no higher authority we can appeal to. Because of some disagreement or confusion over the interpretation of Article 39.2 of the Vienna Convention, the earlier Interpol Red Notice has been suspended.This is part of Interpol's procedures, in that if there are differing views, they would pursue the matter further before reactivating the Red Arrest Notice.
All these require the two sides to meet. They have already said that members of the Prosecutor's office and Police would come to Singapore.We told them not to delay this and to come as quickly as possible in May. Let us clarify the position between ourselves and enable the process in Romania to go forth with our fullest cooperation.
Separately, MFA has asked our Ambassador in Brussels to visit Romania with members of our own Attorney-General's Chambers, in order to familiarise themselves with the legal procedures and processes in Romania. We are also engaging a lawyer to hold a watching brief for us in Romania.

The Wise Owl comments:
I think it is high time that we call a spade a spade!
The nonsense that is coming out from Romania is not only "puzzling"but defies logic and belief.
Ionescu is just one, solitary criminal.But when Romania sent Singapore a "Diplomatic note" last Friday, they are acting as a COUNTRY and doing so for " other reasons" other than saving Ionescu's hide.
I do not think the Romanian Govt, for even one moment, feels that Ionescu is an angel.If an exact similar case scenario had happened in Romania with Ionescu involved...I do not believe he will escape punishment of the severest kind.
Why then is Romania adopting this " playing with marbles" attitude towards Singapore?
Is it because we are just a " tiny little red dot" as a once high and mighty, unneighbourly fella recklessly called us ...while they are a big country where Dracula once came from?
The longer they continue this game of political upsmanship...the more Singaporeans everywhere should speak out loudly and clearly that we do not stand for such uncivilised behaviour anymore.
As the Minister said...." Bilateral ties WILL be HARMED! "
And I can offer a couple of suggestions free of charge...to make them take us more seriously as a nation.


Jads said...

Hi Mr Yip,

Towards dealing with such case, we could either act or not to. Since its life and death matter, there can only be one choice. They would need to know from our perspective. They understand but are not 100% convince.

Just my 5-cent worth:

Since they are not convinced, the next level is to find a real damn good diplomat.
Not necessary government personnel can be good diplomat, i am sure those influential investor/entrepreneur who have business at both ROM-SIN can have a better say.
Foremost, they must possess good quality in those conversation to be a winner. I am sure with persistence comes out good results.

No one would want to believe that there is no solution. Does that mean that if all else fails, we have to go war?

Believe in the art of conversation to influence the mind of others.

Even if a battle is lost, Machiavellian people would never give up on leading a better life. These are just like we would never give up our hopes, thus going to war means to end our hopes, because size really matters.


unk Dicko said...

Hi Jads,
Thank you for speaking up. We need first of all to have more people to express their outrage...as the Rom side may just conclude in their "game of upsmanship" that the people of Singapore do not care less what happens here.
They think it is only MFA that they need to deal with.
War...no need for such extreme measures.
Recall the case of vandal Michael Fay from USA?
He was a young student who was convicted in our court of law for criminal vandalism in the early 90's. He was sentenced a few months in jail and a few strokes of the cane.
At the outset, the US govt and some sections of their public plus their most powerful MEDIA - radio,tv, PRESS combined to heap tremendous pressure on S'pore to CANCEL the punishment, including the mandatory caning or else they would react and retaliate.
Singapore acted with DIGNITY and WISDOM,backed by our own citizens everywhere.
" We are a sovereign nation, with our own laws which we expect all to uphold-including foreigners" the govt said.
If we cancel the sentence what message are we sending out to our own people? That it is ok to break the LAW? That if you break the LAW...not to worry as long as you have a powerful backer like UNCLE SAM to bail you out through bullying tactics?
S'poreans, including me, were 100 % behind our Govt on their very brave and courageous stand.
I almost wept when I heard how they did not back down but gave a few strokes discount to Michael Fay's backside on account of the warm friendship between USA and Sg, and their leaders and ours.
But FAY was jailed and caned!
In the aftermath of the incident,I monitored the news coming from USA...many of the general USA population SUPPORTED S'pore's stand.
Some called for caning to be implemented in their own backyard to serve as a deterrent for their increasing crime rate.