Igor Boțan: Important things were done in justice, but a system reform is yet needed

The fourth edition of the justice secure reform the past 11 years is taking place in Moldova. “The first edition was launched in May 2011 based on seven pillars and we then reached a point when we had to declare the “small justice sector reform”. Many important things were done. There were adopted laws and improved the working conditions of judges, prosecutors, but we reached the conclusion that a small justice sector reform was needed. That small reform was launched in 2017 and we then had a reform in 2019 and one more edition later,” expert Igor Boțan stated in IPN’s public debate “State of justice sector reform in the Republic of Moldova on the granting of the EU candidate status: Conception, practical actions, effects, general perception”.

According to the executive director of the Association for Participatory Democracy ADEPT, the witnessed good things met with a big problem related to the quality of judges. “Ex-minister of judges Alexandu Tănase after the first edition of the justice sector reform said that 80% of the judges should leave. A new cohort of well-trained, motivated judges was needed so as to cut the tentacles that connected the judges and shrewd guys from the business sector. Now the current government says that we need pre-vetting and vetting, which is the pre-testing and testing of those who want to become members of the SCM and SCP,” he stated, noting that the ruling party says they were mandated by the people to reform the justice sector, but 80% of the judges were renewed and this body should take an active part and support this reform.

Igor Boțan said that the voice of judges should be heard. “My opinion is that the body of judges, the General Assembly of this body should become a closed caste that should take care of the cleaning of this caste. The judges and prosecutors are the elite of this society and this body of judges and prosecutors should be motivated to take care of cleanup among its ranks. They should be the first to remove all the appearing lepers. I have big doubts that the law on vetting, pre-vetting would be successful if an internal group of judges and prosecutors does not lend a hand and does not guarantee that they, knowing things from inside, can transmit messages to society and to the political class about what is wrong and what should be done and they should take care of the cleanup inside the system,” he stated.

Igor Boțan expressed his conviction that most of the judges and prosecutors are upright and well-intentioned persons, but an association of judges who know very well the law and hire jurists who are not judges is needed for them not to become the target of dissatisfaction. These judges and jurists can design together documents and the leader of this association will represent the members and will protect the judges this way. The association should present its viewpoint. A decent society is not possible without a decent body of judges and prosecutors.

The debate forms part of IPN Agency’s project “Support for the justice sector reform by covering high-profile cases of alleged injustice in multimedia format”.

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