Several non-governmental organizations declare their "deep concern about the non-transparent way of appointing the two judges to the Constitutional Court by the Parliament". In their statement, the NGOs says that "such a way of appointment, without explaining the reasons for cancelling the results of the previously organized contest, based on political criteria, shows a lack of consideration towards this institution and further undermines public confidence in the independence of the High Court", IPN reports.
The statement also mentions that on July 2, 2019, the Parliament announced a contest for the selection of two candidates for the constitutional judge position, which were to be selected by the Legal Committee for appointments and immunities and subsequently confirmed by the plenary of the Parliament. In the contest participated 23 candidates, a record number so far, which also indicates an increased confidence in the impartiality of the announced contest. On July 24, 2019, the Legal Committee for Appointments and Immunities interviewed the pre-selected candidates, making public all the interviews upon their completion.
After listening to the opinions of the representatives invited to the interview, the members of the Committee completed the candidates' evaluation sheets, giving a score to each candidate. According to section 26 of the Regulation governing the organization of the contest for selecting Constitutional Court judges on the part of the Parliament, the first two candidates with the highest score are considered winners. Nicolae Esanu and Vladimir Grosu obtained the highest scores. However, on August 16, 2019, the Parliament appointed two other persons, namely Domnica Manole and Vladimir Turcan, as constitutional judges, the latter not being among the candidates for the contest. The Parliament did not explain the reason for ignoring the results of the contest and the decision taken on August 16.
The signatory organizations regret the way in which the Parliament decided to select the Constitutional Court judges. "Ignoring the results of the organized contest, as well as selecting candidates who did not participate in the contest, discredits for the future the idea of the Parliament organizing public contests for high state positions. At the same time, deserving candidates are discouraged from participating in such announced competitions in the future. This further undermines society’s trust in a free and fair process of choosing the new members of the Constitutional Court, confidence already too much shaken as a result of the appointments of the last three constitutional judges in December 2018 and the activity of the Constitutional Court especially between June 7-9, 2019. We find with regret that another opportunity has been missed to create the premises for strengthening the integrity, authority and independence of the Constitutional Court,” the statement said.
NGOs call upon the Parliament to amend the Law on the Constitutional Court. Namely by stipulating the legislative obligation to set up a commission of well-known specialists, with extensive expertise in the field of law, in order to select the candidates for the constitutional judge position. Also, by providing selection criteria based on the principles of transparency, non-discrimination and free access to the competition. Only candidates who meet the highest criteria of professionalism, integrity, attachment to the values of human rights and widely known professional reputation shall be chosen.
The signatories of the statement are the Legal Resources Center of Moldova, Promo-LEX Association, the Association for Participatory Democracy (ADEPT), the Institute for European Policies and Reforms, the East-European Foundation, the Institute for Public Policies, the Association for Efficient and Responsible Governance, the Center for Investigative Journalism, Development Partnership Center, the Institute for Strategic Initiatives, the Independent Press Association, IDIS "Viitorul" and Amnesty International Moldova.
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