Representatives of a number of nongovernmental organizations expressed their concern about the lack of transparency and about the risk of hasty adoption of a series of legislative initiatives that institute radical changes in the judicial system and in the Code of Civil Procedure and that provide for the creation of specialized courts that would deal with corruption-related offense. The NGOs made a public appeal by which they call on the decision makers, especially the Government and Parliament, not to allow deviations from the previously assumed objectives and not to promote in a hurry initiatives that can become dangerous in the conditions existing in Moldova.
Nadejda Hriptievschi, program director at the Legal Resources Center of Moldova, in a news conference at IPN, said that in May the Center for the Judicial Sector Reform made public a set of proposals of legislative amendments that refer to the judicial organization, civil procedure and penal procedure. One of the initiatives provides for the reorganization of the Supreme Court of Justice so that 17 of its judges are chosen from among career judges, while 16 from among academicians, lawyers and civil society members. Also, the Appeals Court is to be divided into two courts of appeal – for the municipality of Chisinau and for 19 districts situated in central and eastern Moldova. These and other proposals are not justified.
As to the reorganization of the Supreme Court of Justice, Nadejda Hriptievschi said it is not so important where the person comes from. The professionalism and will at the level of the whole institution are more important. This Court can now engage civil society members through its scientific board and can also engage society in drafting explanatory decisions and recommendations, but the quality of these leaves to be desired and this amendment is thus useless. “Why don’t we promote the best judges, but formulate such kinds of proposals? We do not want the judges to be demotivated. On the contrary, we want those who are good and devoted to be motivated,” she stated.
Vadim Vieru, of “Promo-LEX” Association, said one of the proposed amendments stipulates that the state tax will be paid when the trial is over, but civil society opposes such a change. The state tax’s main goal is to prevent the submission of abusive claims to courts. If this tax is not paid at the start, a very larger number of applications can be submitted to courts and this will generate a heavier workload for judges. Also, many incomes will fail to be collected into the very tight state budget.
Iulian Groza, program coordinator at the Institute for European Polices and Reforms, noted that all the decisional transparency rules were respected while these initiatives were formulated, but these do not contain the relevant appraisal provided by civil society in June. Some of the proposals run counter to the objectives of the justice sector reform and, instead of promoting the laws included in this strategy and the commitments made to the EU, superficial initiatives are put forward, while the approach is symptomatic.
The appeal was signed by the Legal Resources Center of Moldova, Amnesty International – Moldova, “Promo-LEX” Association, the Association for Participatory Democracy (ADEPT), the Foreign Policy Association, the Institute for European Policies and Reforms, the Independent Analytical Center “Expert-Grup” and other NGOs.