Incidents in Security Zone show state’s inability to ensure human rights

Cristina Durnea, jurist and mass-media expert, said the regularity with which cases of violation of human rights and freedoms by military men of the joint peacekeeping forces in the Transnistrian region happen is regrettable. The inaction of the Moldovan constitutional authorities when the human rights are encroached upon is also condemnable.

In a news conference at IPN, Cristina Durnea said the actions to intimidate or threaten citizens are fully dissonant with the provisions of the legislation of the Republic of Moldova and the international one. Under the Constitution, the state guarantees each person’s right to life and physical, mental integrity, while the individual freedom and safety of the person are inviolable. The search and arrest of a person can take place only in the conditions defined by the law.

The expert refereed to the recent case of intimidation of two journalists from Chisinau, who were on a professional mission in the Security Zone. She reminded that there are legal provisions on the freedom of expression – right guaranteed to the media by the state. The Independent Journalism Center, alongside other media organizations and representatives of civil society, were those who came in support of the journalists, stating publicly their concern about these dangerous precedents and asking the authorities to intervene. Regrettably, these calls were neglected by the authorities.

According to the jurist, practice shows that the Republic of Moldova is unable to ensure citizens’ rights guaranteed by the national legislation and through the angle of commitments undertaken at international level. The fact that the journalists cannot bank on the legitimate authorities in situations of intimidation discourages the press from collecting facts in the Transnistrian region. As a result, the freedom of the press in general is undermined.

On February 9, journalist Viorica Tataru and her colleague Andrei Captarenco were stopped at a checkpoint in the Security Zone owing to the on-board video camera. The military men asked that the videos should be erased, without making reference to any legal act. Viorica Tataru said there is a serious problem as regards the journalists’ access to the Transnistrian region. She called on the journalistic guild to become involved and to ask that this problem of access should be considered.

Vadim Vieru, director of the Human Rights Program of Promo-LEX Association, said that when the journalists go to the Security Zone to collect facts about social problems, they should enjoy particular guarantees and protection that are guaranteed by the Constitution and enforced by the law. The lack of reaction on the part of the authorities and international organizations, as in the most recent case that involved the journalists, is serious and dangerous. The fact that the incident wasn’t condemned publicly can lead to impunity and consequently these cases can multiply.

The news conference forms part of the series of conferences held in the framework of IPN’s project “Exposing Injustice through Multimedia”. 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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