The rule of law offers protection for citizens. It prevents the authority to use their power arbitrarily and provides protection for the citizens. We are all equal before the law. This is what all law books usually teach us. But are citizens really protected by the rule of law when the justice is in the hands of a very small group of people?
People of Moldova don’t trust the Moldovan justice. An opinion poll conducted by USAID in 2018 showed that only 16% of population trust the justice of the Republic of Moldova, whereas 19% of people trust the Moldovan judges, 20% trust prosecutors, 33% trust lawyers and 28% of the population consider that they can count on policemen.
The authors of the study showed that the perception of corruption is even greater in the case of those who have had to deal with the judiciary system. More than half of the respondents think that an average citizen gets behind bars faster than the one who has money.
Moldovan lawyers who work in the judicial system and have an inside information consider it relatively corrupt and unfair as well. More than 60% of Moldovan lawyers believe that the justice sector is still corrupt, and 19% believe corruption is widespread even at the level of the leadership of the institutions, according to a survey conducted in 2019 at the request of the Centre for Legal Resources in Moldova cited by Ziarul de Gardă.
“When people see resonant cases where the violation of the basic human rights happened, such as the right of examining cases in a public trial, obviously they think: they do this in the case of people who held positions, but what would happen in my case if I get to court?” declared the expert of the Centre for Legal Resources in Moldova, Nadejda Hriptievschi, for RFE/RL.
Well, it seems that today, being a state official in the Republic of Moldova and making some inconvenient statements about the government puts you in great danger. Some experts call it a beginning of dictatorship, others an oligarchy in its most pervert form. No matter what it is called. Its consequences are important.
Recently, the former employee of the National Post Service, Sergiu Cebotari, made an in-court testimony regarding the schemes from 2016 of trafficking anabolic steroids through the postal service of the country. He was sentenced to eight years in prison in a semi-open regime penitentiary and had to pay damages of 299 thousand lei, in a criminal case for embezzling foreign property and using forced labour. Sergiu Cebotari left the country before being sentenced, being declared politically persecuted, according to the statements of the leader of the Dignity and Truth Platform Party (DTPP), Andrei Năstase. The accused didn’t confess and claimed that the file was politically charged.
A similar recent case was registered for a former border policeman, the DTPP activist and a former parliamentary candidate, Gheorghe Petic, who was sentenced to three years and six months in a semi-opened regime prison and had to pay a fine of 30,000 lei in a criminal case for rape and domestic violence. The hearings were held behind the close doors and the victim filed testimony in court in the absence of Petic. The accused had no opportunity to ask questions, as his lawyer, Angela Istrate, declared.
Gheorghe Petic believes that the criminal prosecution on his name is caused by his statements on cigarette smuggling schemes, involving the leadership of the Border Police of Moldova and of Romania. “After I disclosed the smuggling schemes, my family and I started to be intimidated. I was called an FSB agent, a smuggler, I was attacked at a parking lot in Ungheni, accused of harassing my so-called students whom I didn’t even know,” declared Petic cited by Newsmaker.
He also announced that his e-mail and his Facebook page had been broken and that a post was published from his name stating that he supported the DTPP only for financial rewards.
In the meantime, a new hearing will be held in another file addressing Gheorghe Petic, as Ziarul de Gardă reported. This time, Petic is being investigated for hooliganism. According to Petic’s lawyer, the case was recently opened on the basis of an event that occurred in 2003.
“They have found dubious people who do not even remember how the events happened. They made false statements. It’s an absurd accusation without any evidence, based only on statements of some dubious people who are not sure in what year the incident took place and how it happened. In the absence of conclusive evidence, I am guilty of committing an act of hooliganism in 2004, when it was actually in 2003. But because the limitation period was over, they decided to change and open the file in 2004,” Gheorghe Petic previously declared.
In February 2019, Ziarul de Gardă wrote about differentiated approaches in the cases of Gheorghe Petic and Ilan Șor, both of them being election candidates and both of them being investigated in criminal cases. The difference is that in case of Gheorghe Petic the court decided not to release Gheorghe Petic from arrest, even though he was a registered candidate on the lists of the political bloc ACUM at the parliamentary elections in 2019.
In the case of Ilan Șor, four years ago, the court decided to release him from home arrest, so as not to hinder his right to candidate for mayor of Orhei. Ilan Şor was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison, but because the sentence is not final, the politician is still free.
“During the electoral period, the candidates can’t be dismissed or transferred to another job or position without their consent and can’t be found criminally liable, arrested, detained and can’t be a subject to administrative sanctions without the consent of the electoral body that registered them, with except for flagrant offenses,” says the Electoral Code of the Republic of Moldova.
There are a lot of questions raised regarding the reasons why the Kroll 2 report was not published yet and why the list of people involved in the Great Moldovan Bank Robbery ended when Veaceslav Palton and Vladimir Filat were imprisoned.
“The Kroll 2 report is kept secret and nobody has access to it, as if it were the atom bombs launch codes. Only few names are kept so well and so much in our country. Usually, all secrets are revealed much faster. It’s the name of Vlad Plahotniuc that could be so fiercely protected. The government has only one method to prove the opposite – to publish the Kroll 2 report,” Dumitru Alaiba, the member of the political bloc ACUM, wrote in a Facebook post.
According to the World Justice Project (WJP) Report for 2019, the Republic of Moldova is comparable to China and Vietnam when it comes to the Rule of Law Index, calculated based on 8 factors: constraints on government powers, absence of corruption, open government, fundamental rights, order and security, regulatory enforcement, civil justice, and criminal justice.
How corrupt Moldovan citizens are? Comparative figures
When talking about corruption, most of Moldovan citizens blame the ‘system’ built by politicians and their political regimes throughout history. And that may be true, but only to some degree. When looking deeper, it can be actually observed that little corruption acts are perceived as a normality by a lot of individuals and legal entities in the country. That is what is shown in a recent study conducted by by the Center for Social Studies and Marketing “CBS – Research”. The study assessed the impact of the National Integrity and Anticorruption Strategy for the years 2017-2020.
516 million lei – this is the total amount of bribes offered by Moldovans in 2019. On average, a Moldovan citizen has offered at least five bribes, while an enterprise has been involved in about three corruption acts. Businesses paid bribes worth 197,3 million lei, while individuals offered a total of 319,4 million lei as bribes during the last year, estimated the study. The value of the one illegal payment ranged from 50 to 20 thousand lei.
The research was carried out on the basis of a national survey where 1 120 persons, 506 companies and 606 civil servants from central, district and local public administration participated. The data were presented in comparison to the situation in 2017, when the first such survey was conducted. It was carried out within the project “Fight against corruption by strengthening integrity in the Republic of Moldova”, implemented by UNDP in collaboration with the National Anticorruption Center, and the support of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The total value of the bribes offered by Moldovans is lower, however, compared to those from two years ago, when the amounts varied between 100 and 500 thousand lei in the case of companies and between 50 lei and 8 thousand lei in the case of individuals, as the study stated.
Even though the study affirmed that corruption remains a serious problem for the Moldovan society, the level of intolerance of the population towards corruption has increased. Thus, about 62% of individuals (compared to 45% in 2017) and 83% of businesses (compared to 61% in 2017) consider any corruption situations unacceptable and declare that they do not accept to offer or receive bribes, regardless of the situation and implied personal benefit.
Moreover, both individuals (73% of respondents) and companies (80% of them) are aware that bribery entails punishment of both parties involved, and 87% of them, on average, would report the corruption acts to the anti-corruption agencies in the event of such a situation.
In the opinion of the civil servants participating in the survey, among the main causes of corruption are the low salaries in the public sector and the mentality of demanding and giving bribes in money and /or goods.
The same causes for corruption acts were emphasised by a survey conducted by Transparency International (TI) Moldova throughout the employees of 13 central public authorities. The survey results revealed that a quarter (24.6%) of civil servants who work in public institutions, and answered the survey, consider that their workplace is affected by corruption. More details about the survey can be found here.
Although the legislation obliges civil servants to report corruption cases and other abuses to the head of the public entity or to the responsible authority, a considerable part of the respondents (about 27%) are openly not willing to do it for reasons of personal security and lack of trust in empowered bodies, according to the TI-Moldova report.
Thus, the main factors that could determine the involvement of citizens in corruption abatement activities are the confidence that they will be protected if they denounce a public official for corruption acts, as well as the trust in the independence of the justice, showed the Center for Social Studies and Marketing study, as being reported by TV8.
“Committing acts of corruption must become non-profitable. But to drive forward those reforms, independent, effective, and incorruptible leaders of the judiciary and law enforcement bodies are urgently needed,” said Stanislav Pavlovschi, a Moldovan judge formerly at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), for the Global Voices portal.
In 2019, Moldova registered a score of 32 points for the Corruption Perception Index for 2019 released by Transparency International, being ranked 120th out of 180 countries. The score for Moldova worsened as compared to the 2018 year, when the country recorded 33 points, whereas improved when confronted to the data from 2017 – 31 points. More details here.
Amnesty International: the Government of Moldova needs to ensure hygiene conditions in schools. Statistics
“A clean and safe toilet in schools is a right, not a privilege.” – this is said in the statement of Amnesty International that urged the Government of Moldova to ensure decent hygiene conditions in the schools of the Republic of Moldova.
The statement of Amnesty International said that, according to the official data provided by the National Agency for Public Health and the Children’s Platform that conducted the research, about half of the schools in the Republic of Moldova do not have toilets inside the school building, which is connected to a public sewerage system, or if they exist, the toilets are not used.
“The schools usually have only toilets, located far from the school building, which are in poor condition, without cabins or separators for privacy, no electricity or heating, no hand-washing facilities, and which are rarely cleaned. Thus, almost half of the pupils from the Republic of Moldova use old outside toilets, located in the school yard, no matter it is hot or cold outside. Children do not have facilities that meet basic standards regarding water, sanitation and hygiene practices,” claimed Amnesty International.
According to the Children’s Platform survey results, in which 175 children from different schools from all over the country participated, 57% of them said that the toilets are located outside the school building, and 75% of the respondents mentioned that there is never toilet paper in the toilets. Toilet paper was never included in the list of hygiene products in schools, and the norms have not been changed since 1986, a fact confirmed by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Research.
Even though 90% of them said there are hand-washing facilities in schools, 70% said that soap is rarely there or there is no soap at all.
70% of pupils said that their teachers use a different toilet. The conditions in the teachers’ restrooms are much better than those for pupils. There are even cases where the teachers’ restrooms are located inside the school building, and the pupils’ restrooms are outside.
The privacy of the children is not assured as well. Even though 77% of the students mentioned that there are walls in the school toilets, only 43% of the children said that these cabins have doors.
Some survey participants mentioned that the school’s indoor toilets, if they exist, are open only when controls in the institution take place.
These practices seriously contradict the World Health Organization (WHO) minimum standards on water, sanitation and hygiene in educational institutions, that meaning a sufficient number of separate, well-maintained restrooms for girls, boys, women and men, integrated in the school building, accessible to children with special needs, and having hand-washing facilities, as Amnesty International stated.
On this occasion, it’s worth mentioning that seven out of ten households in the Republic of Moldova do not have a toilet in the house. On average, 21 out of 30 people go to the outside toilet located in the yard, stated a report published by Moldova.org.
Taking into consideration that the majority of the Moldovan localities are remote from big cities, they also can’t be connected to their centralised sewage system. Only 126 out of 1682 localities have sewerage systems and only 73 of them have functional sewage treatment plants. Without a sewage treatment plant, wastewater reaches the soil and rivers, causing serious pollution.
Experts say that there a 2 more solutions: decentralised sewage systems with attached treatment plants for a locality or a group of localities (such projects have a cost of more than 1,5 million euros) or home treatment plants attached to the individual sewage system (that can cost about 4 thousand euros). For 60.6% of the population with low and very low income, several thousand euros represent a lot of money.
More details can be found in the Moldova.org article.
Photo: Nadea Roșcovanu| Jurnal de Chisinau
Moldova in the last decade// top Moldovan singers who have conquered the world
Nowadays, singers from the Republic of Moldova who perform solo or in bands went beyond the country’s borders and became popular in other countries such as Romania, Russia, Ukraine, Germany, Canada and others. This article presents a part of the most popular and successful of them.
Carla’s Dreams is a musical project from the Republic of Moldova that was launched in January 2012. The band’s name comes from Karla, a male character from the novel written by the author John le Carré. The band became known not only for their songs, but also for their style. Since the very beginning, the members of the band appeared on the stage with their faces painted, wearing hooded sweatshirts and sunglasses.
They became memorable very quickly and created an unusually pleasing addiction. Carla’s Dreams are unique in what they do: songs, lyrics, messages. They use a personalised slang, and their songs evoke realities from everyday life. Their singles hit the music charts and gathered hundreds of millions of views on YouTube.
Irina Rimes is a singer and songwriter from the Republic of Moldova who currently lives in Bucharest. The singer became popular after participating and reaching the final of a national music context in 2012.
In 2016, she re-launched her career with the song “Visele” (tr. as the dreams), which ranked 1st in the Romanian radio charts. This song was followed by other hits, which made Irina Rimes one of the most successful singers in Romania, with over 200 million views on YouTube. Irina also wrote numerous songs lyrics for other famous Romanian artists, including Inna, Alina Eremia or Antonia. In 2019, Forbes Romania included her among the most successful people under the age of 30.
The Motans is a musical band from the Republic of Moldova that was launched in 2015. The band combines several musical styles, among which the most recognised is pop. The songs written and sung by them became top hits in Romania, among which the best known is “Versus”.
Mark Stam is a singer and songwriter who became known in the Republic of Moldova after participating in a national talent show in 2013. March 2017 marked the launch of his first single, “A murit iubirea” (tr. as love died).
In 2018, he re-launched his career in Romania with the song “Doar noi” (tr. as only us) in collaboration with Alina Eremia that ranked 1st in the Romanian radio charts. This was followed by other hits, which made Mark Stam one of the most successful singers in Romania, with over 27 million views on YouTube. In 2019, he released his song “Nesimțit” (tr. as thick-skinned), which got 3 million views on YouTube in less than 1 month.
Vanotek (Ion Chirinciuc) is a Romanian producer and DJ from the Republic of Moldova. He stepped into the music industry at the age of 17, and in a very short time began to collaborate with many famous artists. Vanotek’s songs include “My Heart is Gone”, “Take the Highway”, “În dormitor” (tr. as in the bedroom) and “Tell Me Who”. Vanotek also produced the song “Fetele din Balcani” (tr. as the girls from the Balkans), which became a hit, its video clip being today one of the most viewed Romanian videos on YouTube.
His song “My Heart is Gone” was nominated by the MTV Europe Music Awards for the category Best Romanian Act.
Olga Verbițchi, a young woman from Chisinau, became known both in Moldova and Romania, in 2016, when she won the X Factor contest in Romania. Although she didn’t think she’d be able to pass auditions before, the teenager managed to melt the hearts of millions of people who voted for Carla’s Dreams’ protégé.
After the resounding success and the “X Factor” Romania trophy, Olga Verbițchi has launched her first career single “Prietena ta” (tr. as your girlfriend), the video that has gathered over 100 thousand views in less than 24 hours.
Dan Bălan is an interpreter, composer, producer, instrumentalist, songwriter from the Republic of Moldova. He was one of the members of the well-known band O-zone, which, at the beginning of 2000, conquered the whole world with the song “Dragostea din tei”.
After the band broke up, Dan Bălan started his own solo project. In April 2010, the new single “Chica Bomb” was officially unveiled, which soon became a hit and ranks in the top 10 on charts in several European countries, including the UK, Germany, Denmark, Austria and Romania. In Russia and Greece the song reached the first position.
After such a success, Dan decided to move to the Eastern European music market. His songs reached the Russian and Ukrainian charts, and subsequently he became a judge at Voice of Ukraine.
Sasha Lopez (Sergiu Istrate) is a Romanian musician, composer, DJ and music producer originally from the Republic of Moldova. He started learning music since childhood, and at the age of 17 he became a professional DJ.
In 2006, he started the Studio One project, together with DJ Nash. Studio One managed to be very successful in a short time, crossing the Romanian borders. The single “Everytime” quickly entered the international music charts and was included on the famous compilation Ministry of Sound in 2008. Sergiu’s second single – “All My People”, became the most popular Romanian song at the end of 2011, according to Mediaforest Romania. Afterwards, it reached number 1 in over 20 countries in Europe, Canada, Latin America and Asia.
By the end of 2013, Sasha Lopez managed to gather over 200 million views on YouTube, two golden records: in Canada and Japan; and over half a million copies of digital singles sold with the song “All My People”. In 2012, the Rio Carnival was opened on this song.
SunStroke Project is a musical band from the Republic of Moldova that participated at the Eurovision Song Contest in 2017. The band managed to rank third, after Portugal and Bulgaria. They made themselves memorable with the performance of the band’s saxophonist (Sergei Stepanov) who produced a phenomenon on the internet, called “Epic Sax Guy“.
Videos remixed with the band’s performance accumulated millions of views on YouTube.
This text is a translation. The original article here.
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