Justice in Moldova continues to be selective, roundtable meting

Justice in the Republic of Moldova continues to be selective. Selectivity of justice can be influenced not only by interests from the political sphere, but also by the interests of influence groups from the business sector or even from the criminal world. The indulgence of prosecutors and judges can be seen in particular cases, while in other cases the approach is diametrically opposed and this cannot be named fair justice. Such statements were made in a roundtable meeting that centered on the study “Challenges of selective justice in the Republic of Moldova: findings, ideas and solutions”. The event was organized by Freedom House Moldova and the Association “Jurists for Humana Rights”, IPN reports.

Journalist Mariana Rață, co-author of the study, said the phenomenon of selective justice should be regarded as a product of unnatural cooperation between the judiciary and influence groups of any kind (political, business or even criminal).

A number of 43 criminal cases were monitored as part of the analysis and this showed that the situation concerning communication of courts of law has improved compared with the previous study. In 16 of the analyzed cases, a political context or political affiliation of the accused or suspect was detected. In four of the cases, it goes to representatives of the Party of Socialists, while in three of the cases – to representatives of the Șor Party. Also, in 22 of the 43 cases, the subjects are affiliated to “the Platon interest group”, while in another seven cases the suspects were in hostile relations with “the Platon group”.

Jurist Cristina Țărnă, co-author of the study, noted that in nine of the 43 cases and also in six cases that weren’t covered by the monitoring, the prosecutors adopted nonuniform approaches in relation to the unjust enrichment of judges and prosecutors based on the findings of the National Integrity Authority. In the case of Veaceslav Platon, the charges were dropped, while in the case of Vlad Filat these were maintained. Judge Bîrnaz, who was accused of involvement in the Laundromat case, was acquitted. The author recommended the law enforcement agencies, the prosecution bodies and the courts of law to avoid differentiated approaches, especially if the persons affiliated to the interest group or the government enjoys most of the benefits compared with the persons regarded as their rivals.

Minister of Justice Sergiu Litvinenco agreed that justice in Moldova continues to be selective. He stated that there are particular differences between the first and the second reports on the selectivity of justice, of 2019 and of 2021, but the situation remained as bad in essence. The indulgence of prosecutors and judges can be seen in particular cases, while in other cases the approached is diametrically opposed and this cannot be named fair justice. Faire justice is when things are treated equally, regardless of the subjects involved. “The main conclusion is that we have many things to do to build a justice system that would not be described as selective. The reform plans in the sector somehow derive from the conclusions of the report,” stated the minister.

Laura Hruby, Charge d’Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Chisinau, said that as other countries, the United States learned by long and sometimes difficult experience that justice works only when all are equal before the law. This principle is the cornerstone of each democracy. In his address at the UN General Assembly, U.S. President Joe Biden underlined the Moldovans’ determination to strengthen the democratic institutions. “You are here because you form part of that fight for democracy and work to ensure in practice justice for all the citizens of Moldova. The U.S. will remain a reliable partner in this important process,” stated Laura Hruby.

Mark Behrendt, the Director for Europe and Eurasia programs at Freedom House, noted that in 2019, when the first monitoring stage was launched, they realized that they became involved in a very sensitive and polarized debate on the size of the political influence and its impact on the justice sector. Freedom House and Jurists for Human Rights underline the importance of an objective analysis of the problem. The first monitoring report underscored specific manifestations of selective justice in Moldova and the second report confirmed these.

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