“Society no longer wants to tolerate immunity,” said the executive director of the Institute for European Policies and Reforms (IPRE) Iulian Groza, referring to society’s attitude to the current changes in the justice sector. In a public debate entitled “State of justice sector reform in the Republic of Moldova on the granting of the EU candidate status: Conception, practical actions, effects, general perception”, which was hosted by IPN News Agency, the expert said the people want the manifestations of corruption, and not only the small ones, to be combated. “Most of all, the people want end results to be achieved in the fight against grand corruption, regardless of the position, level and status of persons,” he stated.
The speaker noted that the Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office, in the way it was created, had the task of fighting exclusively grand corruption, but the adopted law and the changes witnessed meanwhile, including at legislative level, made so that the institution had to deal with many and banal cases. As a result, both the efficiency and the authority of this institution that should focus on difficult cases, complex financial analyses and investigation of national/international schemes diminished.
“A team of well-trained, courageous prosecutors was needed... I know that the National Anticorruption Center and the Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office are being assessed and procedures are performed in accordance with the specific measures defined in the national strategy for ensuring the independence and integrity of justice. There are also processes that should involve the revision of the frameworks, including institutional and legislative ones, so as to increase the efficiency of the fight against upper-level corruption”.
Even if there was particular resistance inside the system, Iulian Groza considers that the Superior Council of Prosecutors ultimately sent the signal that a new anticorruption prosecutor should be a named following a rather complex pre-vetting process. “As a result, we have an a new anticorruption prosecutor with experience of working in the prosecution service of a state with established democracy, with experience of handling difficult cases, including of corruption, in the United States. This fact can send a signal to the system, but first of all to the citizens who wait for the credibility of this institution to be restored.”
As to the pressure exerted on judges, including through the agency of news conferences, Iulian Groza said he agrees that a large part of those who use this instrument indeed do it in order to exert pressure so as to solve particular problems. But there is also another side as some of the people make their sorrows public in the hope that this will help them obtain justice.
As regards the EU’s conditionality concerning the fight against corruption and de-oligarchization related to the candidate status, the expert said this offer the persons from the justice system who are courageous, upright and consider that they were marginalized in time to manifest themselves. “This way, public perception of judges and prosecutors will change,” noted the IPRE director.