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The General Prosecutor’s Office of the Russian Federation claims that Transnistria is a “sovereign state”

It’s official. The Transnistrian region of the Republic of Moldova is recognized as a “sovereign state” by the General Prosecutor’s Office in Moscow. This is, at least, apparent from a response given on May 16, 2019, in one of the files represented by the Promo-LEX Association lawyers.

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“Recognition of the Transnistrian region as a sovereign state entity by the Russian Federation represents a total and first change of official attitude towards the status of the Transnistrian region of Moldova”, says Promo-LEX.

According to the source, until now, the position of the official structures of the Russian state, including before the European Court of Human Rights, underlined that the Russian Federation respected the constitutional provisions regarding the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, its quality of mediator in the process of settling the Transnistrian problem, the norms of international law, including the Treaty of friendship and cooperation between the two countries.

“The response sent on 16 May 2019 reflects a completely different and erroneous attitude of the Russian Federation, which already officially recognizes a regime that is a continuous and flagrant attack on the human rights situation in the territory controlled by the Tiraspol administration”, the press release communicated.

According to Promo-LEX, this radical change in the position of the Russian authorities in relation to the Transnistrian region comes at a time when, before the European Court of Human Right, the Government of the Russian Federation, for more than 20 years, has admitted the fact that the Transnistrian region is a territory belonging to the Republic of Moldova.

According to the Constitution of the Republic of Moldova, the Republic of Moldova is a sovereign and independent, unitary and indivisible state. The territory of the Republic of Moldova is inalienable. According to the supreme act, human rights and fundamental freedoms must be respected throughout the territory of R.M.

Therefore, the State of Moldova has the duty to intervene in the protection of the rights of any person anywhere on the territory of the Republic of Moldova. However, much of the territory of the Republic of Moldova is outside the control of the constitutional authorities, although according to ECHR jurisprudence the Republic of Moldova has jurisdiction over its entire territory.

“The role of the Russian investigation authorities is quite important from the point of view of protecting the rights of the victims whose rights have been violated in the Transnistrian region by the administration of the region. However, as a result of the multiple convictions of the Russian Federation to the ECHR violations in the Transnistrian region, the investigating authorities, especially the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office, are proactive in investigating and prosecuting those who have committed wrongdoing” the source quoted.

Source: Europa Libera Moldova // Kozak and Krasnoselski in Tiraspol

Reminder: After some talks with separatist administration leader Vadim Krasnoselski, this is what Dmitri Kozak declared:

“The Russian Federation will continue to support the Transnistrian region so its inhabitants “feel comfortable as far as possible under the current conditions,”

“For 30 years, Russia has supported Transnistria, because they are our citizens, our compatriots who live here and need support. The Transnistrian Moldovan Republic is in a complicated situation with regard to the lack of solution, the non-regulation of the status issue, and it needs adequate support.”

More on that, according to the press service of the secessionist administration, Kozak talked with Krasnoselski about “topical issues about the functioning of the economy, the social sphere, the logistic support and the material that the Russian Federation could offer”, including the acquisition of Russian citizenship by the inhabitants of the region.

Emphasizing Russia’s role in ensuring peace in Transnistria, he also stated that “negotiations” in the 5 + 2 format are the “current issues” that can only be solved through discussions with the Chisinau authorities, “given the geographical position of Transnistria.”

On the other note…

At Putin’s invitation, Dodon left for St. Petersburg.

One week after he last met Vladimir Putin and went on yet another working visit abroad, Igor Dodon announced that he is about to plan a new trip at the invitation of the Russian President. This time, the head of state goes to St. Petersburg, where he will participate in the XXIIIth edition of the International Economic Forum.

“According to the agenda, I will have meetings with the leadership of the Secretariat of the Interparliamentary Assembly of the CIS member countries and of the UN Economic Council, as well as with the heads of the companies” Gazprom “and” Sberbank”. Moreover, a meeting of the Moldovan-Russian Economic Council will take place in Sankt Petersburg with the participation of officials from the Government of the Russian Federation,” Igor Dodon wrote on his Facebook page.

Since Dodon’s investiture in Moldova’s chairman, 2,700,000 lei has been spent from the state budget to cover his travel expenses. Dodon made 37 official and working visits across the country, of which 17 were carried out in the Russian Federation.

Politics

The message of European and American officials for Moldova’s coalition government

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The representatives of the EU delegation in Moldova, the Embassy of Romania, UK, USA and of Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs have sent messages to the running coalition government of the Republic of Moldova in the context of latest developments related to the justice reform in the country. 

Both Prime Minister Maia Sandu and President Igor Dodon met with heads of diplomatic missions of different countries last week and discussed the crisis political situation created between the political bloc ACUM and the Party of Socialists of the Republic of Moldova (PSRM), which form the coalition government. At the same time, several diplomatic missions and state officials from all over the Europe and USA posted messages on social media, emphasising the need to establish a middle ground and overcome the tense political crisis.

The US Embassy in Moldova had the following message for Moldova’s coalition government:

“The United States supports the efforts of Prime Minister Sandu, President Dodon, and the governing coalition to overcome the current political impasse. Reforms critical to the Republic of Moldova’s democratic development have already been delayed for too long. As a friend of Moldova, we urge the country’s political leaders to quickly reach consensus on a solution that will preserve the path toward justice reform and allow the government to work to improve the lives of all Moldovans.”

The message of the Embassy of Romania in the Republic of Moldova:

“Romania supports the efforts of Prime Minister Maia Sandu and the ruling coalition to overcome the current political deadlock. The reforms are critical to the democratic development of the Republic of Moldova and the maintenance of its European path. As a strategic partner, Romania calls for political responsibility, underlining the need for the political leaders of the Republic of Moldova to quickly identify consensus on a solution that will ensure stability, keep the path to justice reform and allow the Government to improve the lives of all citizens.”

The British Embassy in the Republic of Moldova addressed to the political leaders of Moldova as following:

“As a friend of Moldova with a demonstrable and long-standing record of support for the reform process, the United Kingdom urges the country’s political leaders to reach consensus on a solution which preserves the path towards justice reform and allows the coalition government to continue to work for the benefit of all citizens of the Republic of Moldova. In June 2019, the United Kingdom welcomed the creation of the governing coalition which set a clear agenda of reforms critical to Moldova’s democratic development, including in the important area of judicial reform.”

The Deputy Foreign Minister of Poland Marcin Przydacz also called on reaching a consensus regarding the justice reform in Moldova.

 “Reforms in Moldova must continue. There is a need for consensus on important justice reforms by all stakeholders. We offer full support to these efforts.”

As you can see, consensus is the key word used in all messages addressed to the still existing coalition government.

On Friday, November 8th, PSRM brought a motion of censure in the Parliament against the current Government (ruled by ACUM) after the latter assumed responsibility for amending the Law on Prosecutor’s Office.

Prime Minister Maia Sandu stated that the Government will not withdraw its initiative on assuming responsibility for amending the Law on Prosecutor’s Office, as requested previously by the President of the Republic of Moldova, Igor Dodon.

Photo: gov.md

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PSRM brought a motion of censure in the Parliament criticising the Government. What’s next?

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Just a few hours ago, the Party of Socialists of the Republic of Moldova (PSRM) brought a motion of censure in the Parliament criticising the Government handling of the justice reform, namely the amendments to the Law on Prosecutor’s Office presented to legislature by the political bloc ACUM. 

The discussions in the Parliament

The socialists declared that the amendments proposed by ACUM endangers the independence of the prosecutor’s office and the independence of the justice.

“Maia Sandu ignored all good practices regarding the appointment of an independent prosecutor, ignored the constitution of the country and the opinion of the Venice Commission, preferring not to wait,” said the PSRM member Vasile Bolea.

On the other hand, Prime Minister Maia Sandu gave a speech in front of Members of the Parliament (MPs), in which she argued the position of ACUM regarding the amendment to the Law on Prosecutor’s Office, stating that this is the best solution for selecting an independent prosecutor general.

“We made some compromises. We did it to achieve the main objective – an independent prosecutor’s office, a fair justice. The fight for the prosecutor general is the red line.[…] Moldova has gone through several justice reforms. […] And yet the good intentions did not produce a result, being neutralised by hidden political interests. […] I decided to proceed differently. I assume the political responsibility for the process of identifying candidates for the position of prosecutor general. I will personally identify and verify honest, brave and well-intended people and propose them to the Superior Council of Prosecutors.

In this respect, I am encouraged by the position of the Venice Commission, expressed in other similar situations, according to which the selection of the prosecutor general must be done in such a way as to obtain the public’s confidence, and the selection of the prosecutor general with the involvement of the executive and legislative powers would offer more democratic legitimacy of this procedure.

Therefore, according to the Venice Commission, it is reasonable for a government to want to participate in the selection process of the prosecutor general on the grounds that the fight against corruption is crucial for the proper functioning of the state institutions,” stated Maia Sandu.

After that, the secretary of the PSRM faction, Vasile Bolea, submitted a censure of motion in the Parliament, expressing the withdrawal of the confidence granted to the Sandu Government.

The President’s declarations

President Igor Dodon still hopes that ACUM will withdraw the initiative, by which the Executive has assumed responsibility for amendments to the Law on the Prosecutor’s Office.

“There is still a few days for the unconstitutional initiative to be withdrawn. There is still room for reflections and understanding by ACUM that the prosecutor general cannot be politically subordinated, and the coalition should not be sacrificed on the altar of personal ambitions,” Igor Dodon wrote on Facebook after the Socialist faction submitted the motion of censure against the Government in the Parliament.

According to the Constitution of the Republic of Moldova, the prosecutor general is appointed by the President of the Republic of Moldova, at the proposal of the Superior Council of Prosecutors (SCP), for a term of 7 years, which cannot be renewed.

The amendments proposed by ACUM include selection by the prime minister, according to the approved procedure, of at least two candidates for the position of prosecutor general and submission of the list to the SCP. Next, the SCP would select one candidate from the list and would propose him/her to the president.

What’s next?

The Permanent Bureau of the Parliament will meet within the next three working days to decide when the next plenary session will be held, at which the motion of censure will be examined.

As following, the motion of censure will be debated and voted. The motion of censure is considered adopted with the vote of the majority of MPs (51). Thus, given that PSRM has 36 MPs, it must be voted by other factions as well. There is a great probability that the motion will be voted by the Democratic Party MPs and/or by Șor Party MPs.

In case the motion of censure is adopted,  the prime minister will submit to the President the resignation of the Government within a maximum of 3 days. If the motion of censure on the activity of the Government is rejected, the deputies who signed it will not be able to initiate, at the same session, a new motion for the same reason.

Protest in front of the Parliament

People have united in a protest to support the Sandu Government in front of the Parliament. They gathered and demanded a fair justice. The protesters came up with placards where it was written: “I support the Sandu Government”, “Checkmate – assumed prosecutor” “Independent prosecutor supported by the Parliament” and “It’s a must to have a fair prosecutor”.

source: TV8

source: TV8

Photo: privesc.eu

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Another dispute: ACUM and PSRM can’t share the responsibility for the justice reform

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From the results of the local elections in Moldova, which seemed a trigger of a crisis in the coalition government, the dispute between ACUM and PSRM moved to the subject of the justice reform in Moldova.

After the Party of Socialists of the Republic of Moldova (PSRM) expressed it’s concern regarding the “inefficiency of the Government and the increasingly negative perception citizens have about its activity”, as well as the intention to have discussions with ACUM about possible replacement of “inefficient” ministers, it seems that one more matter needs to be raised to eventual discussion between the coalition partners – the way the prosecutor general is appointed.

The cause of dispute

Everything began (or maybe it is better to say that it continued) when Minister of Justice Olesea Stamati announced at a press conference that she would issue an order for cancelling the result of the contest for the position of prosecutor general.

“As Minister of Justice, I cannot submit the list of selected candidates for the position of prosecutor general.”

According to Olesea Stamati, the reason why the contest wasn’t held according to legal requirements is the lack of sufficient information on candidates provided to the commission in charge with the evaluation of candidates, as well as the fact that Petru Bobu, one member of the commission, evaluated certain candidates in a clearly disproportionate manner. “This fact distorted the final result, influencing the contest,” highlighted Minister of Justice.

Petru Bobu rejected the accusations: “The suspicions are not well founded, I appraised candidates the way I found appropriate,” said Bobu for TV8.

The act of taking control

As a result of failed contest for selecting a new prosecutor general, the Government decided to assume the responsibility for amending the Law on Prosecutor’s Office, so that the prime minister would be responsible for pre-selecting the candidates.

As per changes made in the law in September 2019, the Ministry of Justice created a special commission for the pre-selection of a list of candidates, which subsequently had to be presented to the Superior Council of Prosecutors (SCP). This task could not be fulfilled because the members of the commission did not have access to sufficient data that would confirm the integrity and professionalism of the candidates.

The newly proposed amendments include selection by the prime minister, according to the approved procedure, of at least two candidates for the position of prosecutor general and submission of the list to the SCP. Next, the SCP would select one candidate from the list and would propose him/her to the president.

“Unfortunately, the process of evaluating the candidates for the position of prosecutor general was flawed.We went for an independent commission and pluralism of opinions. But ultimately, the responsibility for this process lies with us. We must assume the radical change we all need,” declared Prime Minister Maia Sandu at a press conference.

The socialists’ anger

The PSRM representatives declared against the ACUM initiative regarding the amendment of the Law on Prosecutor’s Office.  “This means that the future leader of the General Prosecutor’s Office would be appointed by the head of a political party, depending on his personal or political options. Such an initiative of the General Prosecutor’s Office political subordination is unacceptable in a country where intense efforts are being made to reform the justice system,” is written in the official statement of PSRM.

According to the statement, the initiative of Maia Sandu “flagrantly violates the agreement signed by ACUM and PSRM, where it was clearly mentioned that during the justice reform the selection of the prosecutor general will be carried out by contest, not by a politician.”

“This is certainly not the independence of justice promised by the current parliamentary majority. We can’t go back to the disastrous habits of the past, when a political leader decided who is running the General Prosecutor’s Office.”

The PSRM representatives also demanded the resignation of Minister of Justice Olesea Stamati, accusing her of incompetence.

The expert’s opinion

Political analyst Victor Ciobanu considers that the movement made by ACUM when cancelling the results of the pre-selection contest and taking responsibility for amendments of the Law on the Prosecutor’s Office is a “powerful move” in response to the last statements of disapproval of President Igor Dodon and PSRM regarding the activity of the Government.

“Cancelling the results of the contest is a good thing. Because to admit a mistake is much better than to insist on this mistake. Following the pressures made by the pubic, the contest score was published and it was clear that at least one representative delegated by PSRM tried to alter the results, which is inadmissible. Consequently, I think that was a good decision,” stated Victor Ciobanu.

The expert expressed his confidence that the coalition is not about to crumble until the eventual fall of the Government and snap elections, as none of the parts is interested in that. However, a compromise needs to be reached.

“ACUM should hand over certain ministries to Socialists for giving them the opportunity to be jointly responsible for the government. Otherwise, PSRM is in a very comfortable position to be in power and have no responsibility for the government activity, therefore being free to criticise it,” stated the expert.

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