Over 1,000 applications against Moldova pending at ECHR in July

As many as 1,020 applications against the Republic of Moldova were pending at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) at the start of this July. President of the Legal Resources Center of Moldova Vladislav Gribincea said 980 of these applications had big chances of being decided in favor of the applicants. In an interview for IPN, Vladislav Gribincea said the figure is big as Moldova during 23 years was convicted by the ECHR in 618 cases for human rights violations.

“Of the 980 applications, possibly not all will result in convictions as the Government can itself recognize the violation. But the number of 980 acceptable applications is very large, especially in relation to the country’s population. This is a workload for the European Court for ten years to come,” noted Vladislav Gribincea.

An analysis by the Legal Resources Center shows that Moldova in 2019 ranked fifth among the countries against which the ECHR pronounced the largest number of decisions. “The fact that there are many acceptable applications filed to the ECHR shows that a large number of violations were committed. But this is not always due to justice or injustice. The number of applications can be generated, for example, by the legal system, like the situation in Hungary, where everyone’s pensions were systemically reduced by a law. Justice is not involved here. It goes to a legislative action. Hypothetically, this is possible, but in the case of the Republic of Moldova, most of the convictions are related to the judiciary system,” explained Vladislav Gribincea.

Starting with 1997 until July 1, 2020, there were ascertained 618 violations. Of these, 200 violations (32%) refer to the violation of the right to a fair trial, 149 violations (24%) to the prohibition of torture, 92% violations (15%) to the right to liberty and security, which is the right to be free, 30 violations (5%) to the respect for private life, while 19 cases (3%) to the freedom of expression.

“It’s hard to name a group of violations that would dominate. Yes, there are many unexecuted court decisions, 68 if I’m not wrong. These decisions were passed before 2010. After 2010, we have few convictions in this regard and they originate in the 1990s, when the court decisions were adopted and the Ministry of Finance didn’t implement them. Now something like this does not exist,” said the president of the Legal Resources Center.

“I would say that of the over 200 violations of the European Convention, of the right to a fair trial, 2/3 are due not to the non-execution of court decisions, but to the behavior of judges.  These 2/3 of violations are very different. The 140 remaining violations refer to the invalidation of irrevocable court judgments, when judges up to the Supreme Court of Justice or the Appeals Court said a case should be solved in a particular way, but in a period changed their mind. This is unacceptable. If the judge passed a judgment and this is final, it should be implemented and can be remedied only in case of very serious shortcomings. They, the judges, easily accepted to reverse the proposed solution. The European Court convicted us for such acts in over 60 cases and this is a lot – 10% of all the convictions”.

According to Vladislav Gribincea, the judges most often revise the own position based on arguments that existed in the case, which is they, by a particular date, said the arguments should be treated this way, while after a particular date reversed the own solution based on the same arguments. “This is unacceptable. We tried to examine in detail this phenomenon and didn’t find a plausible explanation. In some of the cases, there are economic interests indeed. Then, the inversing of the solution can be related to corruption. This is not for sure, but we cannot exclude something like this. In other cases, there were major political interests and the judges could have been thus influenced. I think we should seriously ponder over when the judges easier accept such influences.”

The interview was held in the framework of IPN’s project “Injustice Revealed Through Multimedia”.

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