The life of a judge. Episode 14: Floral Diversity

In 1981, I read every month with interest, Le Bulletin du livre Français Critique. In a number of the bulletin I met a surprising title: Le droit de l’Information. I had not heard or read anything about this area of ​​law. Two years later, on the first day of the course at Robert Schumann University in Strasbourg, I rushed to the library and asked for all the books with this title. The librarian gave me two books, one of which being reviewed in the newsletter. Instantly, I wrote two letters to the two authors, using only the information on the cover. The first was a professor at a university in the province, and the second was a lawyer at the Court of Appeal of Paris. Although the addresses were sketchy, the French Post has functioned and after a week I got the teacher’s letter who regretted that no longer has copies of the book. The lawyer sent me the book and I found that on the envelope figured an address: 3, rue du Bievre, Paris. In my letters to the authors, I promised to send them from Romania some art albums, French edition. Returned in the country after the end of the first cycle, I ran and sent the albums to the lawyer.

Speaking of the first cycle, the first exam in the subject “Introduction to comparative law” with Professor Alfred Riege was conducted in a manner unusual for me. I was introduced into the room with two Polish ladies. The exam was oral, with spontaneous response and the questions were addressed one by one to each student in the group. The first Polish student answered the question of Professor Riege, dean of International Faculty of Comparative Law from the University Robert Schumann, with one voice: AAAAA! On the second question, same answer. Then, the teacher realized that the student does not speak French and obtained scholarship by false statements. Since the height of the chair uttered extremely sharp phrases and after he realized that the addressee does not understand, gave up and went to the second Polish student. This time he found a prepared person who correctly answered to all questions.

It was my turn. I realized that he looks at me with a wary eye (remember we were in the Cold War and Romania and France belonged to rival military blocs). In addition, I was 20 years older than the other students. The question he asked me was, in approximate terms, the following: You have found during my courses the concern of European countries to unify legal norms for the whole country. From you, there, in the East, is there such a concern? Although I realized that the question was rhetorical rather than for exam, lightning I remembered a metaphor that I met 20 years earlier in the pages of the “Contemporary”, in a Geo Bogza article. In my 4th year I read regularly every week “The Chronicles of the Optimistic”, column reserved at the beginning to George Calinescu and then taken over by Geo Bogza. The article I was referring to was writing at the suggestion from above, perhaps even from the Party Central Committee headed by Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej, in the following circumstances: From Kremlin struck a wind which translates the idea of ​​establishing supranational bodies, which means giving up at least some of their sovereignty and cover all countries of the Socialist Camp. Such Gheorghiu-Dej had another opinion, but he avoided making press statements on the subject, launched the indication that the means of artistic expression can treat the subject metaphorically. That is how at the “Contemporary” the task went to Geo Bogza, who remembered a metaphor of Confucian thinking (2500 BC). She ducked to reveal the author of the metaphor, because it was a Chinese, and in the same year the Russian and Chinese border guards had fun shooting  each other from the banks of the River Amur. The China’s leadership at the time sent to Moscow through diplomatic channels, the 375th serious warning!

So I promptly replied to Mr. Dean. “If the question of unity of law comes, we, Romanians, take the model of unity that nature offers us. It gives us two models of unity. The first model is “unity in uniformity”. It is the case of the desert where each grain of sand looks identical like the others, and yet the landscape is pathetic. The second is the model of “unity in diversity”. This is the case of flowering meadows, where each flower has its own color and fragrance, without this being affected at the least the landscape unit. If we consulted and we can say our opinion, we choose the second type of unit.” Obviously, the teacher did not expect any answer and my answer surprised him, but his physiognomy was carved in granite and had no thrill, because after a split of second he assured me that the question was outside the exam and then he continued with the questions of the exam. Later I found out that I had 14 of the 20 grade, perhaps equivalent to a 7 from us. The same note was supposed to give me as well as another teacher, Andre van Welkenhuizen of the Free University of Brussels. The teacher had a habit to walk around the room and address students questions about the course. Seeing that I was older than the others, he addressed me the following question. “From you, there in the East, there are classifications of law?” I replied promptly. “Of course, Professor, before any classification, our teachers make a clear distinction between the bourgeois law, that means you, and socialist law, ours. Once raised a Chinese wall between the two systems, as well our teachers and teachers as you surrender themselves with  delicious classifications, pointless or no, and often this is the only contribution they make to the development of law .” The teacher was sensitive to humor and laughed with all his giant creature. Probably my joke contributed to my work in that semester marks with 18/20, which drew him an admonition from the dean. The excuseof the  teacher, after his own confession, was: Sorry, I could not resist!

After the first cycle, the following year, in 1984 I returned to Strasbourg for Cycle 2, but I did not come empty-handed, because my first book has just appeared, my PhD thesis, entitled “Introduction to the theory and practice of the employee’s material liability”. I sent to Paris from Strasbourg on the address given, a copy of the book with a brief dedication to the lawyer, the author of the book “Information  Law”.

Back at home, I was surprised to receive an envelope with the header of the French Foreign Ministry, the Cabinet Minister, in which was a letter signed by the Minister Rolland Dumas, same lawyer that I had corresponded with and became minister, probably due to its close relationship to President Mitterand. In the letter he was thanking me for the book and said that the subject I treated is one of his centers of interest. The phrase was surprising because the statement represented a mere diplomatic politeness, being excluded the fact that the minister was interested in the subject treated by me. I think the minister has signed the letter without reading it, and the secretary / secretary who wrote it received very brief instructions: letter of thanks for the book sent. He looked in the archives and found another letter of the same type, with a different author with a different theme, but he liked the phrase and slipped it in his letter to me.

The envelope had been grossly violated and restitched by a person who was not afraid to assume the violating secrecy. Instead of a person, there were two, the next day, at my office of President of the Court of Cluj-Napoca. They have not recommended themselves because it was redundant. By posture and two formation, you could tell they were from Security. The thought took me to my 10 colleagues of the class in 1964 that entered voluntarily into Security.

The two agents have not declined their name and without further introduction they have communicated me that they are bearers of a message, in the sense that I should  keep the relationship with the Frenchman. I replied that I had no relationship, nor was I going to continue what I started only by a pure hazard. They replied to me like “Leave, we know “, which implied that they were informed about my recruitment by NATO intelligence or who knows what else.

I had not continued in any kind the relationship with Mr. French lawyer or Minister, but after the revolution I rekindled the relationship and I asked Mr. Advocate to find a way to contract, by sponsorship, subscriptions to four medical journals to UMF Cluj library. He replied with great pleasure, this time Mr. President of the French Constitutional Council (the equivalent of the Constitutional Court of Romania), notifying me that he had contracted 12 subscriptions to french newspapers and magazines, including those for which Iasked.

prof. Dr. Ion Turcu
retired magistrate

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