François Bausch said he would always defend the principle of an independent judiciary
Photo: Mike Zenari
Allegations that François Bausch tried to exert undue influence on the judiciary have been officially dismissed.
Attorney general Martine Solovieff has said that in her view transport and sustainable development minister François Bausch did not try to influence the judiciary by writing a letter expressing surprise that legal action was being considered against the road and bridges authority.
The letter was sent in July 2018 after it emerged that the prosecutor was looking into accidents involving motorcyclists who had been forced to drive over pavement while a road between Stadtbredimus and Hettermillen was being repaired.
Solovieff told radio 100,7 (in Luxembourgish) that she was not surprised by the letter as Bausch was enquiring about a department that fell under his authority. She did, however, agree that the more normal procedure would have been to make his enquiry via the justice ministry.
Last weekend, CSV president Frank Engel told radio 100,7 that “under normal circumstances” should Bausch resign over the letter. Engel’s view that the letter represented an attempt to put the judiciary under pressure was backed by Luc Heuschling, an expert in the constitution at the University of Luxembourg. He told Tageblatt on Tuesday that in his view Bausch had “flexed his muscles” by sending the letter.
Paul Hammelmann, the president of road safety lobby group Sécurité Routière, wrote a letter to RTL (in French) defending Bausch and questioning Engel’s motivation. And Stefan Braum from the University of Luxembourg’s law faculty also came to Bausch’s defence.
In response to a parliamentary question from CSV deputies Martine Hansen, Leon Gloden and Gilles Roth, prime minister Xavier Bettel and justice minister Felix Braz said that the letter was justified and pointed to the attorney general’s opinion that there was no interference. An official letter from the ministry on Wednesday said that “the separation of power and the independence of the judiciary are the foundations of our democracy, and minister Bausch will always stand with those who protect and defend these principles.”