The General Prosecutor's office and the Romanian Intelligence Service signed the protocols in 2009 and 2016. Prosecutors declassified them last year. The ruling is a victory for Romania's government, which regularly criticizes anti-corruption prosecutors. Government officials have compared the surveillance of graft suspects that resulted from the protocols to the activities of Romania's communist-era secret police.
But critics claim the government is trying to protect corrupt officials and thwart the anti-corruption fight. Lucian Stanciu-Viziteu, a lawmaker for the opposition Save Romanian Union, said the ruling would protect criminals and officials such as Social Democrat chairman Liviu Dragnea who was convicted of vote-rigging in 2016. Dragnea is appealing a 2018 conviction for official misconduct and is also charged with defrauding EU funds. He denies wrongdoing.
"Today's ruling destroys Romania's anti-corruption fight," he said, accusing the court of "transforming itself into a super-court which cancels other court rulings." Anti-corruption prosecutors have argued they cooperated with the intelligence service because they lacked the expertise and funds to carry out complex surveillance operations.