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Moldova journalists, law experts protest for full online publicity of court decisions, Supreme Council of Magistrates partially fulfills expectations

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On October 10th, several journalists, lawyers, legal experts and civil society representatives protested in front of the building of the Supreme Council of Magistrates (CSM) of Moldova against the new publishing rules for court decisions. The draft initially intended to anonymize the identities of any persons involved in the court decisions on the site of the court decisions.

Source: zdg.md

An appeal signed by over 70 NGOs reads that the new rules would close the judicial system from the public, decrease the trust in the justice and cancel the major progress of Moldova in ensuring transparency of the judicial system starting from 2009. The journalists and the civil society representatives argue that the tracking of the penal history of wanna-be politicians or the monitoring of corruption would be impossible once the anonymization takes place.

The night before the protest, Justice Minister Vladimir Cebotari wrote on his Facebook page that he had told the Magistrates from CSM not to approve the draft of the published court decisions.

In the end, the Council of Magistrates approved a draft created by the Supreme Court of Justice, one that is allegedly in accordance with the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights. Even if they were asked to review some too general provisions, the members of the Council still approved the rules on publishing the court decisions. According to Ziarul de Gardă that published the draft, the anonymization would be in place only in some cases (what specific cases?). Nevertheless, the draft still does not have the provision for the publishing of the agenda of a trial and the provision for publishing information on sessions and hearings at least three days ahead of them.

On the same day, a member of the Council, Teodor Cârnaț, resigned after he failed the integrity test with the polygraph when applying for the position of chair of the National Integrity Authority. Cârnaț has been a member of the Council since 2013.

How much integrity can other members of the Supreme Council hold in them, yet? Are they afraid only of fully published and available online court decisions?

Currently studying International Relations at the University of Pécs, Hungary. Study focus: Transnistrian conflict settlement, Moldovan statehood, Moldovan democracy. Inquiries at [email protected]

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Justice

Mihai Poalelungi was appointed the judge of the Constitutional Court

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Mihai Poalelungi, the only registered candidate for the position, was appointed as the judge of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Moldova. His candidacy has been approved by the Superior Council of Magistrates.

The position of the judge at the Constitutional Court became vacant after Tudor Panţîru resigned as president and judge in January due to personal reasons.

The Constitutional Court has six judges that are appointed by the Parliament, the Government, and the Superior Council of Magistracy. They may hold office for two terms.

The former head of Moldova’s Supreme Court, Mihai Poalelungi has previously told Ziarul de Garda that he wants to “make better constitutional justice in Moldova”:

 “There is a close link between the subject of my practical work in Strasbourg and the area of constitutional law, and I believe that I will positively contribute to the achievement of a better constitutional justice in Moldova under my appointment to this position”, the magistrate said.

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Economy

US Ambassador: Moldova’s “progress disappointed” in 2017, some laws are “a step back”

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The United States Ambassador to Moldova, James D. Pettit, declared in a TV8 interview that Moldova’s “progress” was disappointing in 2017. According to Pettit, some laws promoted by the Moldovan authorities constituted “a step back for the country”.

“Last years, the international development partners were slightly disappointed with the lack of progress. Recently, (I) have seen different draft laws that were effectively a step back”, declared His Excellency. As dubious and problematic, Pettit mentioned the switch to the new electoral system and the draft law on the “decriminalizing of the economic crimes”, pushed by the Economy Ministry. At the same time, he pointed out that corruption is the problem number one and that Moldova needs structural reforms, not only technical ones.

Ambassador Pettit is not impressed by the 4% economic growth either:

We are happy to have seen economic growth, but I would say that 4% for such a small country like Moldova is a relatively modest achievement”, added the American Ambassador.

Despite the critique brought by the US and EU Ambassadors, the Prime-Minister, Pavel Filip, did not renounce from the draft law on “decriminalizing economic crimes”, claiming that the idea came out of the “discussions with business”.

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Justice

Moldovan prosecutors conducted over 4300 special surveillance operations in 2017

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The General Prosecution’s Office of Moldova published a short summary of the report on the “special investigation activities” conducted in 2017 by prosecutors.

Within 57313 penal cases, the prosecutors sent 4367 requests authorizing special investigation measures by courts. 50 requests were rejected.

Most frequent “special measures” were:

  • intercepting and recording communication and images- 3142 cases;
  • collecting information from operators of electronic communication services- 803 cases;
  • localizing with technical means such as GPS- 287;
  • researching the domicile and/or placing audio and video recording devices within the domicile buildings- 63;
  • monitoring or control of financial transactions- 12;
  • supervising the domicile through technical means- 10.

In 581 cases, special surveillance actions were authorized directly by the prosecutors:

  • identifying the client, the owner or the user of the communication services- 264 cases;
  • visual surveillance- 151;
  • control of the extorted money or goods transfers- 99;
  • control acquisition- 31;
  • control delivery- 2.

According to the General Prosecutor, the special investigation measures were conducted in investigating “serious, very serious and exceptionally serious crimes”.

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