Veronica Mihailov: Appointment of SCM members by Parliament will partially ensure functionality of system

After the pre-vetting commission completes the assessment of all the candidates for member of the Superior Council of Magistracy (SCM) from among non-judges, Parliament will appoint the new members so as to unblock the system, said Minister of Justice Veronica Mihailov-Moraru, who called on the judges to put the public interest at the forefront and to swiftly choose the SCM members from among judges. The official admitted that a SCM consisting only of representatives of civil society is less representative, but noted that the authorities cannot allow the justice sector reform to be blocked, IPN reports.

On Monday, the Supreme Security Council decided to accelerate the constitution of the SCM. According to President Maia Sandu, the new SCM will become functional within 30 days. Parliament will name the SCM non-judge members who passed the pre-vetting. The minister of justice voiced hope that the judges will show responsibility and will elect the SCM judge members so as to unblock the system.

“I agree that the SCM needs to be representative for the interests of the judiciary. But as long as the judiciary delays the selection of judges who would work on the SCM, we cannot endlessly wait as the public interest is affected. The amendments made to the Constitution last year allowed diversifying the composition of the SCM and six members are now judges, while six members are representatives of civil society. Three candidates from among non-judges passed the pre-vetting. We hope the non-judge members will partially ensure the functionality of the system. In parallel, the challenges filed by those who didn’t agree with the decision of the pre-vetting commission can be examined and we hope the judges until April 28 will come up with other solutions. The General Assembly of Judges should have thought about the public interest. Justice is designed for the citizens and they should have selected the SCM members,” Veronica Mihailov-Moraru stated in the program “In Depth” on ProTV Chisinau channel.

Jurist Vladislav Gribincea said the judges are angry because the criteria used by the assessment commission are too rigorous. However, the cleaning of the system by excluding the persons with integrity problems is the only method for reforming the justice sector.

“The judges are angry because the Government, the authorities started to check their integrity. The judges do not agree with this reform as they saw that only 5 of the 28 candidates passed the test. The constitution of the SCM is only the first stage that is to be followed by the assessment of judges of the Supreme Court of Justice and then of the judges of the Appeals Coot and court presidents. They didn’t want to constitute this Council as they hoped that this reform will get stuck and will not go further. It’s clear that this vetting is not a pleasant exercise, but the honest persons should not be afraid. The judges were told to clean themselves. They didn’t do it and tolerated the abuses of their mates. If the SCM had worked and the anticorruption prosecutors had done their job, such a situation wouldn’t have been witnessed,” explained Vladislav Gribincea.

On Monday, the Supreme Security Council recommended Parliament to star preparing the legal framework for setting up an Anticorruption Court that will examine cases of grand corruption and corruption in the judicial system. This institution is to become functional within three months. The SCC also recommended the Ministry of Justice and the National Institute of Justice to cooperate and bring young judges to the system.

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