The pre-vetting procedure is being protracted, and the Ministry of Justice must explain to the members of the pre-vetting commission that the government is paying a political price for this delay, says Vladislav Gribincea, president of the Legal Resources Center. According to the expert, the second stage of the reform should be the cleaning of the Supreme Court of Justice and anti-corruption prosecutors.
The pre-vetting commission, which looks at the professionalism and integrity of candidates for members of the High Council of Prosecutors and High Council of the Judiciary, is composed of three members appointed by Parliament and three members delegated by Moldova’s development partners. According to Gribincea, the entity, which started its work back in April, seems to be in no hurry to deliver a final evaluation.
“This vetting process will take a little longer than expected, but it will enable citizens to ask legitimate questions of those serving in the judiciary: how they earned their assets and how they did their jobs. This must happen as soon as possible. It’s obviously being protracted, because I have the impression that this pre-vetting commission works in European style, that is, taking its time. But the Ministry of Justice must explain to them that there is a political price to be paid for this procrastination. If the HCJ and HCP become clean, things will become simpler at lower levels”, said Vladislav Gribincea said during a show on Vocea Basarabiei.
The expert believes that, after the pre-vetting process, a deep reform of the Supreme Court of Justice should follow.
“The incumbent SCJ judges are relatively young. There are questions about many of these judges as regards their wealth, but by law they are in office until they reach the age of 65. These people cannot be easily removed, but they have the last word in the most important cases. After the evaluation of the SCJ judges, the anti-corruption prosecutors, the chief judges, the judges of the Courts of Appeal should follow. It’s hard to set a mechanism in motion, but it will bear fruit eventually”, said the expert.
Gribincea believes the government genuinely wants to reform the judiciary. According to him, the explanation as to why only opposition members seem to be targeted by prosecutors is in that the current government simply hasn’t been in power long enough to commit serious abuses.
“I don’t think that those who are now in government want to subjugate the judiciary. I see that sometimes wrong decisions are made, but with good intentions. Still, this is nowhere near the Plahotniuc era, when there was a scheme hidden under every piece of legislation that was adopted. But it’s true, people are waiting much longer than expected”, said Vladislav Gribincea.