PAS lawmaker Vasile Grădinaru says that the brief recently issued by the Venice Commission on the amendments adopted by the PAS government to the prosecution legislation has not found anything unconstitutional, as the opposition claims. Like other PAS representatives earlier, Grădinaru promised during an IPN debate that the government “will take absolutely all the recommendations into account”, suggesting that some will be transposed into law, and others remain to be discussed.
Responding to criticism leveled by his opponent in the debate, Com-Soc MP Vasile Bolea, Grădinaru rejected the notion that the latest brief was a “red, or yellow, or whatever penalty card” shown to the new government by the Venice Commission.
“We’ve been in close contact with the Commission’s representatives. On some aspects, sure, there have been differences of opinion. For example, we resolved that the procedure of evaluating the Prosecutor General should be established by the Superior Council of Prosecutors. But the Venice Commission recommended that the procedure should be detailed directly in the Law. We will definitely take this into account”, said Vasile Grădinaru, who is also a member of Parliament’s Legal Commission.
Another objection raised by the Commission, as well as by the Moldovan opposition, concerned the suspension of the Prosecutor General and his or her deputies when criminal charges are brought against him or her. The PAS lawmaker argued that the deputies are appointed directly by the chief prosecutor and are therefore loyal and obedient. “This is how things are in Moldova. Maybe in other countries it’s different. This is something we’ll have to discuss. But, once again, we will take into account absolutely all the recommendations of the Venice Commission, even though they are not binding”.
“If we read this brief carefully, nowhere will we find the phrase that those amendments are unconstitutional”, added Vasile Grădinaru.
As for the criticism that the amendments were adopted in a hurry, the PAS lawmaker argued that the people are very unhappy about the quality of justice and they cannot put up with it any longer. “They want change to happen not tomorrow, not the day after tomorrow, but today. Now. Here”.
The urgency was also driven by another aspect: “People under suspicion have been fleeing the country just like that. We would, too, have loved to have this process of discussions and consultations last longer, but the time limits had to be compressed as much as possible for the very purpose of building a fair justice system and of bringing those responsible to account”, said Grădinaru, adding that, at any rate, no legal time limits have been violated.
As concerns the removal of the Prosecutor General from the make-up of the Superior Council of Prosecutors, according to Grădinaru, the recommendation has been to allow the chief prosecutor to take part in this process. “In other words, it’s not necessarily that he is a full member”. Considering that all the prosecutors are subordinated to the Prosecutor General, the rationale of his removal is to avoid any undue pressure that the chief prosecutor might put on other Council members, especially in proceedings that concern him directly.
The PAS lawmaker says that the independence of the Council has been guaranteed by the amendments in question. “Of twelve members, six are appointed by the General Assembly of Prosecutors. The seventh member is the chair of the Superior Council of the Judiciary, which, again, is an independent and autonomous body that cannot be considered political. Three are appointed by Parliament based on the representation principle and the rest are ex officio members. So, at least seven or eight members are already not dependent on the government”, says Grădinaru, concluding that this is a guarantee that the Council will represent the legitimate interests of the prosecutors, not the government.
The debate discussing the latest Venice Commission brief on Moldova’s justice reform was the 219th installment of the “Developing Political Culture” Series, run by IPN with the support of the Hanns Seidel Foundation.