Judicial Integrity in Moldova
Through collaboration with local organizations, Freedom House engages civil society and the justice sector and creates avenues for civil society and the public to galvanize government reforms.
Mobilizing Civil Society to Support Judicial Integrity in Moldova
Freedom House implements the multi-year Mobilizing Civil Society to Support Judicial Integrity in the Republic of Moldova project, which is funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL). This project aims to support justice sector reform in Moldova by creating an environment in which the public is better informed about ongoing developments in the country’s justice sector and how they impact citizens’ daily lives. Through collaboration with local organizations, Freedom House engages civil society in promoting justice sector reform, educates the public about past reforms and future opportunities, and creates avenues for civil society and the public to galvanize government actors to discuss important issues in the judicial system.
PROGRAM INITIATIVES IN MOLDOVA
Report on Monitoring the Selectivity of Criminal Justice
According to Freedom House’s (FH) 2021 Freedom in the World report on Moldova, “Moldova’s judicial branch continues to be highly susceptible to political pressures that hamper its independence” and “due process rights are poorly upheld in the Moldovan justice system.” Building on the successes of its first round of monitoring key criminal cases from January to August 2019, FH partner Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) used its revised and improved its unique methodology to complete its second round of monitoring cases that shed new insight on the phenomenon of selective justice in Moldova. During the second round of monitoring, three regional teams of lawyers and journalists conducted monitoring of 43 target cases from July 2020 to June 2021, closely tracking and analyzing the developments of Moldova’s most high-profile and consequential selective justice cases as they unfolded across the country. On September 24, 2021 report authors Mariana Ratu and Cristina Tarna presented the results of the second round of monitoring at a high-level roundtable in Chisinau, where they highlighted a number of detailed recommendations to political parties, law enforcement bodies, and representatives of the judiciary to reduce the practice of selective justice and increase the transparency of Moldova’s justice sector.
- Presentation of the second round of monitoring covering July 2020 – July 2021 (English audio)
- Presentation of the second round of monitoring covering July 2020 – July 2021 (Romanian audio)
- Final report of the second round of monitoring covering July 2020 - July 2021 (Romanian)
- Final report of the first round of monitoring covering January – August 2019 (English)
- Final report of the first round of monitoring covering January – August 2019 (Romanian)
UNCAC Shadow Report: Measures for Corruption Prevention and Asset Recovery in the Republic of Moldova
Moldova is currently under evaluation by the UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC), a process led by the Russian Federation and Palestine. Moldova’s National Anticorruption Center and UNDP have already submitted their reports for the two-country review panel. Moldova’s civil society also had the opportunity to submit a shadow report on the key issues facing Moldova in its fight against corruption, including in the justice sector.
To this end, Freedom House, in collaboration with subject matter experts from its partner organization, the Center for Analysis and Prevention of Corruption (CAPC), produced a shadow report providing an alternative analysis of Moldova’s performance on Chapters II (prevention measures) and IV (asset recovery) of UNCAC, which are the subject of the ongoing second review cycle. The report, titled Measures for Corruption Prevention and Asset Recovery in the Republic of Moldova provides a detailed assessment of the regulation, adoption and enforcement of UNCAC norms that builds on the conclusions and analysis of prior reports.
Justice Sector Integrity Report
Freedom House, in collaboration with subject matter experts from the civil society organizations Center for Investigative Journalism (CIJM) and Center for Analysis and Prevention of Corruption (CAPC), produced a shadow report on the state of justice sector reform implementation in Moldova. The report, titled Judicial Integrity: Achievements, Challenges, Prospects, is the product of discussions, consultations, and research regarding the Justice Sector Reform Strategy, an initiative that spanned from 2011 to 2016.
The report identifies implementation gaps in justice sector reform due to a lack of trust and transparent engagement between the justice sector and the media; an overreliance on frequent legislative or procedural modifications, which contribute to operational complexity; and a lack of political will in implementing initiatives. The assessment includes recommendations designed to enhance future judiciary reform efforts in Moldova, such as those outlined in the new Justice Sector Development Strategy (2018-2021).
Justice Moldova Online Platform
Freedom House’s Justice Moldova online platform serves as a tool facilitating productive collaboration between Moldovan citizens and key justice sector bodies in Moldova. The platform allows ordinary citizens to discuss key issues in the justice sector, propose solutions, and stay abreast of relevant news.
Empowering the Next Generation of Legal Professionals
Freedom House partner INVENTO holds regular roundtables and other events designed to serve as informal spaces for the community of young lawyers in Moldova to communicate, build relationships and learn about new opportunities for mutual cooperation. Through the “Justice Marathon” mini-grants program, INVENTO also supports local initiatives that take innovative approaches to solving justice sector issues. With INVENTO’s support, one mini-grant awardee formally registered as an NGO – the Public Association “Action for Justice” – that formalizes an existing group of over 50 young law specialists in Moldova.
Justice First Policy Briefs
Developing Holistic Legal Education at Moldovan Universities
By Thomas Barrett
Barrett's brief provides an overview of the current state of the Moldovan legal education system, highlighting the benefits of reform for the development of future lawyers.
Selective Justice and the Role of the National Integrity Authority
By Daniel Goinic
Goinic's brief analyzes the impact of selective justice on Moldova's asset and integrity verification system, focusing on the role of the National Integrity Authority (NIA).
The Rule of Law in Moldova's Age of COVID-19
By Radu Mîrza
Mîrza's brief examines threats to the rule of law in Moldova that have resulted from the misuse of emergency powers during the pandemic, highlighting vulnerabilities created by the failures of Moldova's outdated state infrastructure.
"Justice First" Policy Briefs - Second Edition Competition
The competition for the third round of “Justice First” policy brief authors is now closed. To learn more about how to apply in the future, please click here.
Event: Interinstitutional Dialogue
Freedom House partner Center for Investigative Journalism (CIJM) facilitates regular press clubs that convene government officials from the justice sector, independent journalists, and civil society in order to foster meaningful engagement between these stakeholders. Participants discuss various challenges associated with the justice sector in Moldova, including that of building trust and transparency between stakeholders. Recordings of recent sessions (in Romanian) are accessible via the below links.
- “Democracy and press freedom in Moldova, in regional and international context: discussion with Freedom House experts.” (May 2019)
- “Cases against lawyers. What is the role of prosecutors?” (June 2019)
- “Former anticorruption prosecutor Viorel Morari to speak for the first time about the reasons for his resignation.” (June 2019)
Event: Journalistic Investigations on Justice Sector Reform
Freedom House partner Center for Investigative Journalism (CIJM) educates and mentors journalists to improve their capacity to report and analyze challenges facing the justice sector. Through a training and mentorship program and support for investigative reporting, CIJM's network of journalists has shed light on some key issues, including the connections between kinship, friendship, and nepotism in the justice sector; judges' low salaries and their major debt to the judicial system due to issues in the system; and legal abuse facing people with psycho-social disabilities. Two recently published journalistic investigations (in Romanian) are available below.
- Who Are the Magistrates ‘Removed From Exercising Administrative Functions?' by Mariana Colun | June 27, 2019
- How Do Anti-Corruption Prosecutors Live? ‘Modestly’ and From Donations by Julieta Savitchiv | June 7, 2019
- Magistrates with a Bad Reputation Awarded Diplomas and Honorary Titles by Mariana Colun with support from Cornelia Cozonac | March 21, 2018
- How Justice is (Not) Served for People with Psychosocial Disabilities by Mariana Colun and Natalia Porubin | January 24, 2018
CIJM's team of journalists also manages an interactive “Judicial Corruption Map” where citizens may report on instances of corruption throughout Moldova. CIJM's team investigates these complaints and produces in-depth articles on their findings.
Freedom House partner Ziarul de Garda also raises the profile of the issue of selective justice by producing and distributing print and online multimedia products throughout Moldova’s regions. Ziarul de Garda’s publications are distributed in both Romanian and Russian languages, serving as a vital source of information on justice sector issues for Moldova’s Russian-speaking population.