ECHR conviction in case of Furtună points to existence of unpunished deviations, opinions

The conviction of Moldova by the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Furtună v. Moldova, by which the state was obliged to pay over €75,000 damages to the plaintiff, shows that a feeling of impunity exists in Moldova and the deviations allowed by some of the judges are not punished. This judgment forms part of a series of decisions against the Republic of Moldova that refer to the violation of security of juridical relations, said members of the law firm “Bivol Soțchi & Partners”, who represented the applicant at the ECHR.

In a news conference at IPN, lawyer Andrei Bivol, associate expert of the consulting company Fides BSP, said it is a broader, negative phenomenon typical of the Moldovan justice system. There is a lack of respect for the principle of security of juridical relations here.

“What does security of juridical relations mean? It means that when a final and irrevocable judgment exists, as in the case of Furtună, this cannot be modified in a year, two or seven years, when absolutely all the time limits for appealing had expired and there are no reasons for extraordinary challenging, by review. Even if in that period, in 2012, the Civic Procedure Code underwent a rather significant reform that restored the possibility of reviewing a decision in an extraordinary way after all the time limits expired, it seems that some of the judges or courts of law treated these provisions not so seriously,” said Andrei Bivol.

According to him, in the case of Furtună, corruption is surely the first suspicion that comes to mind. “There is no evidence and you cannot prove anything in seven years. We are in 2020 and it is hard to imagine that the judges of a court of appeal, who have 10-15 years of judicial experience, do not understand and do not know how a rather strict Civil Procedure Code provision concerning appeal time limits and revision reasons can be applied,” explained the lawyer.

According to him, the Government and, implicitly, society, respond for such decisions as the sums paid to the plaintiffs as damages is allocated from the state budget. In Moldova, there is no mechanism or procedure for holding judges who pass such judgments accountable.

In its judgment, the ECHR indicated the initials of the judges who took part in the examination of the case. “This may seem insignificant, but the Court seldom indicates the initials or names of judges, prosecutors or other officials who take part in the examinations of cases in national courts of law. The indication of the initials of judges is a powerful signal that the decisions taken by these are revolting and inexplicable and do not have a place in a state with the rule of law. Regrettably, this decision forms part of a series of decisions against the Republic of Moldova that refer to the violation of security of juridical relations,” stated Andrei Bivol.

Inna Soțchi, who heads the law firm “Bivol Soțchi & Partners”, said the panel of judges who in 2013 allowed the appeal included Alexandru Gheorghieș, Valeriu Harmaniuc and Natalia Chircu. “I want to note that only two of these judges took part in the examination of the case. I suspect it was an ad-hoc panel created particularly for solving this despite. Or someone of the judges who were to examine the case didn’t assume the risk to allow an appeal after the judgment was passed over seven years ago,” stated the lawyer.

The news conference titled “Case of Furtună against Moldova from the angle of security of juridical relations. Why was the Republic of Moldova convicted by the ECHR and who answers for this?” forms part of the series of conferences held in the framework of IPN’s project “Injustice Revealed through Multimedia”. The project’s partner is the Lawyers Union of Moldova. IPN Agency does not assume the right to decide if the organizers of news conferences are right in the cases about which they will speak as this is the exclusive prerogative of justice, but the exaggeratedly long examination period of these cases, which is much longer than the law allows, can be considered an act of evident unfairness and injustice. IPN News Agency does not bear responsibility for the public statements made in the public sphere by the organizers of news conferences.

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