1 month in force, Assembly Law stirs controversy

More than 20 Moldovan judges, prosecutors, barristers and NGO representatives controversially debated on the Assembly Law on Friday, within a training course titled “Freedom of assembly as a means a exercising one's right to opinion and free expression”, organized by the Promo-Lex Association, Info Prim Neo reports. All participants have agreed on the necessity to have such an act, in accordance with the main international treaties related to human rights. However, they have shown concerned as to the lack of a clear mechanism to apply the law and ask the Parliament to give a more exact interpretation of some procedures. Most of the debates were stirred by the articles on who can organize meetings, who can install temporary constructions in public spaces, and on the spontaneous meetings. Moreover, the judges believe the law maximumly diminishes the role of local authorities in deciding on allowing meetings. According judge Anastasia Pascari, the law makes it impossible for city halls to promptly anticipate certain situations the meetings could degenerate into, even in cases when they have factual evidence in this regard. “What sense would it make for a judge to ban a meeting after it has taken place? ” she asked. Also prosecutor Dorin Turcan has said the law contradicts the legislation in force and should be bettered, to take into consideration all the situations that might appear in the future, although no litigation has been recorded since the law entered force a month ago. The participants reiterated that, in a democratic state, the freedom of meetings should enjoy constitutional protection – a provision to state the right, but also the obligation to protect it. Moreover, the legislation should not allow the authorities too many freedom of action. The workshop, organized with the support of the Swedish Agency SIDA and of the Soros Foundation-Moldova, is part of a program of continuous education, where every participant shall get a minimum of 40 points, equal to the number of lectures attended. Five regional workshops of Court of Appeals are to be held in the coming months, Info Prim Neo reports.

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