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The President of the Venice Commission called for the independence and integrity of the judiciary and prosecution services

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The president of the Venice Commission Gianni Buquicchio made a statement  today, following the meeting with the Moldovan Minister of Justice Fadei Nagacevschi. Gianni Buquicchio stated that the Venice Commission recognised the current composition of the Superior Council of Magistracy (SCM) and called on the Moldovan institutions to work together to ensure the independence and integrity of the judiciary.

The president of the Venice Commission also expressed his concern about the current conflicts among the different institutions of the state. “Self-serving and divisive attitudes must be avoided. The Republic of Moldova needs to prove that it is a viable constitutional state, governed by the Rule of Law,” is mentioned in the statement.

Gianni Buquicchio highlighted the urge to respect the Constitution and the powers of the state institutions. “In this respect, I recall that the Venice Commission, in its October opinion, acknowledged the legitimacy of the current composition of the Superior Council of Magistracy. At the same time, these constitutional competences must always, and only, be used to fulfil legitimate institutional goals in the best interest of Moldovan citizens. There should be no room for vested or corporate interests.”

“I call on all the institutions of the Republic of Moldova to co-operate loyally and productively with each other to find a long-term solution for the independence and integrity of the judiciary and prosecution services, in compliance with the Moldovan Constitution and with the international principles of democracy and the rule of law.”

Shortly after, the Minister of Justice commented: “I hope that both the SCM and the judicial caste will read very carefully the statement of Mr. Buquicchio and interpret it in good faith, to understand that, today, we have no time to confront ourselves in the judiciary and we must find urgent solutions,” said the minister.

On November 25th, the Minister of Justice of Moldova Fadei Nagacevschi paid a visit to Strasbourg  and had a meeting with the president of the Venice Commission Gianni Buquicchio, with Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe Gabriella Battaini-Dragoni, and also he held a series of meetings with officials of the Council of Europe on cooperation projects and current priorities in the field of justice reform.

The members of the SCM ( six judges) were removed from office on September 27th during an extraordinary meeting of the General Assembly of Judges, following a decision issued by the Chișinău Court of Appeal. However, the members of the SCM didn’t recognise the decisions taken by the General Assembly of Judges. Since September, the SCM members continued to meet, adopting several decisions, which were later challenged in court because the SCM was declared not functional.

Photo: justice.gov.md

Justice

Former head of the Anti-corruption Prosecutor’s Office is under arrest

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Viorel Morari, former head of the Anti-corruption Prosecutor’s Office, was detained for a period of 20 days, in addition to initial 72 hours. A criminal case related to forgery of administrative documents and abuse of power was filed, on December 26, against him, based on notification documents registered with the General Prosecutor’s Office, as it is announced in a press release of the General Prosecutor’s Office.

On January 10, 2020, Viorel Morari was recognised as a suspect in the criminal investigation, he was detained and was to be involved in hearings related to the case.

” Viorel Morari is suspected that, in March 2017, he received from Vladimir Plahotniuc a complaint that was registered against the legal requirements, filing a criminal case and subsequently criminal prosecution, and falsifying several procedural documents within the criminal case. All of these actions were performed to protect the interests of his own and those of his complainant, the latter being involved as a suspect in a criminal case regarding the bank fraud, as well as obstructing the fast, complete and objective investigation of this criminal case,” it is mentioned in the press release.

In the criminal prosecution, Viorel Morari did not admit the commission of the crimes he is suspected of and, at this stage, does not cooperate with the investigation.

Morari was temporarily removed from office, at the beginning of December, during an internal control of prosecutors initiated by the new Prosecutor General Alexandru Stoianoglo. The decision to perform the controls was issued after Viorel Morari’s announcement of resuming the investigation into the Russian financing of the Party of Socialists of the Republic of Moldova.

Former head of the Anti-corruption Prosecutor’s Office told journalists that he does not exclude that the investigation would be related to the case on financing the socialists. Morari does not exclude that the general prosecutor, Alexandr Stoianoglo, would be connected to President Igor Dodon, and that he would like to see him detained, taking into account certain information Morari knows.

In a public message, head of the Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Moldova, Peter Michalko, stated that the EU institutions closely monitor what happens in prosecution in Moldova.

We are watching very closely what is happening in prosecution in Moldova. During last months, the anti-corruption…

Geplaatst door Peter Michalko op Zaterdag 11 januari 2020

Photo: ipn.md

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Justice

Study: Moldova doesn’t have proper mechanisms for protecting the asylum seekers arriving in the country

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Just before International Migrants Day, the State Office of the Ombudsman in cooperation with the Law Centre for Lawyers from Moldova published the results of their jointly conducted study: “Respecting the rights of foreign citizens who are being in the state custody.”

According to a press release published on the website of the State Information Agency, which presented the main outcomes of the study, the national mechanisms that regulate the status of foreigners are focused on identifying the reasons for removing the foreigners from the Republic of Moldova, rather than ensuring the necessary protection for them, the legal norms do not offer effective guarantees to the applicants for protection, and the administrative bodies often abuse the assigned prerogatives. 

Especially, the study refers to the fact that the national law of the Republic of Moldova allows the return of foreigners to the territories where they could be exposed to torture, inhuman or degrading treatment, regardless of the risk they pose to national security and public order. There are inconsistencies between the legislation on the regime of foreigners in the Republic of Moldova and the Administrative Code of the country.

Infringements of existing legal framework and commitments made by Moldova within the pale of international treaties were discovered within the study. The competent authorities do not always respect the principle of non-return according to the Geneva Convention. Therefore, it may be accused of violating the provisions of Article 33 of the Geneva Convention.

Moreover, according to the study, there is no certainty that a foreign person who is detained in Moldova is provided with anti-torture guarantees (a lawyer, a doctor, informing relatives, an interpreter, the right to remain silent, etc.) until the actual documentation period. Cases of ignoring asylum applications, failure to provide access to the asylum procedure, immediate return to the country of origin or immediate take-off, detention on the territory of the airport for a long time, failure to inform the Bureau for Migration and Asylum about the arrival of asylum seekers or the delayed information about this fact were declared as being identified at Chișinău International Airport.

The Law Centre for Lawyers from Moldova recorded situations where asylum seekers were declared undesirable, while still being in the administrative procedure for examining their asylum applications or immediately after an administrative decision rejecting the application for asylum was issued, without any possibility of appealing against such a decision.

The trigger of the study was the case of six Turkish citizens whose rights were violated by being abducted and surrendered to the Turkish authorities in the form of a camouflaged expulsion (illegal transfer of persons), despite all international commitments. The State Ombudsman condemned the decision of the authorities, at that time, and presented an opinion accompanied by recommendations in the Parliament.

The study assessed the situation from 2018 to 2019, referring to the entry, stay, removal, request for protection, public custody, as well as the exit of foreigners from Moldova.

Photo: James Ross/AAP

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Prime Minister Ion Chicu met with several high-ranking officials in Strasbourg

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Prime Minister Ion Chicu paid a visit to several important institutions in Strasbourg and met with their high-ranking officials today. First, as it was announced in a statement of the Government of Moldova, Prime Minister Chicu discussed with the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Marija Pejčinović Burić.

Prime Minister Chicu expressed his gratitude for the constant support given to the Republic of Moldova during the 25 years partnership between Moldova and the Council of Europe. He confirmed the commitment of the Republic of Moldova to implement the Association Agreement with the EU, the top priorities being the justice reform and the modernisation of the economy. The prime minister mentioned that the expertise provided by the structures of the Council of Europe, as well as the dose of constructive criticism, are indispensable to the country’s efforts to advance the implementation of internal reforms, according to the statement.

Prime Minister Ion Chicu and the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Marija Pejčinović Burić, during their meeting |source: gov.md

The head of the Moldovan Government also had a meeting with the President of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), Linos-Alexandre Sicilianos. During their meeting, the officials exchanged opinions regarding the conditions of detention in the Republic of Moldova, Prime Minister Chicu mentioning the Government’s intention to advance in the building project of a new penitentiary, with the financial assistance of the Council of Europe Development Bank. On the other hand, Ion Chicu expressed the Government’s support for the process of reforming the ECHR and the mechanisms for examining the applications submitted to the Court, as well as he appreciated the contribution of the European Court in promoting democratic reforms and human rights in the Republic of Moldova, as another Government statement claimed.

Prime Minister Ion Chicu and the President of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), Linos-Alexandre Sicilianos |source: gov.md

The third meeting was held between Prime Minister Ion Chicu and the President of the European Commission for Democracy through Law (known also as the Venice Commission), Gianni BuquicchioThe central topic of the officials’ discussions concerned the implementation of justice reform in the Republic of Moldova. The Prime Minister Chicu informed the Venice Commission president that the Moldovan executive took note of the institution’s opinion on the Law on the reform of the Supreme Court of Justice and the Prosecutor’s Office, claiming that the adjusted bill will be presented soon for a final opinion during the session of the Venice Commission in March 2020.

Prime Minister Ion Chicu and the President of the Venice Commission, Gianni Buquicchio |source: gov.md

Photo: gov.md
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