Parliament Activity Review February 17-21, 2003
February 24, 2003
Opposition is still boycotting the Parliament sessions. During the week, MPs focussed on the Law on Fighting Extremism as well as the draft laws on changing the status of the National TV.
I. Law on Fighting Extremist Activities
ADEPT comment: The debates on the law commenced immediately it was published for public debates in mass media. However there was a low feedback, which focussed mainly on:
- Rejecting the initiative, on the grounds it runs counter to democratic norms and legal framework;
- Adopting the initiative and its immediate enforcement, on the grounds tough measures should be taken against the opposition "extremism". Such opinions were largely circulated in the state mass media.
As civil society failed to express its position and propose concrete improvements, deputies decided to adopt the law in the wording submitted by the President.
The law defines the notions of extremism, extremist activity, extremist organization, and extremist materials. The following measures shall be applied to the (political, non-governmental and religious) organizations involved in extremist activities:
- warning to stop extremist activities;
- appeal to the Court to suspend the activity of the relevant organization.
The law also provides sanctions for mass media, which circulates extremist information and prohibits extremist activities during public rallies. Penal and administrative sanctions shall be not specified directly in the Law, but rather in the specific laws.
One of the greatest difficulties in enforcing the law would be the interpretation of extremist activities by the law enforcement forces, which proved on numerous occasions they might enforce and interpret the law differently in different cases.
II. Law on the modification and completion of the Law on National Audiovisual Public Institution
ADEPT comment: The Parliament adopted in the first reading three draft laws on the establishment and operation of the Coordinating Council of the "Teleradio-Moldova" Company. The authors of the drafts are the Communist Faction, Social-Democratic Alliance Faction and a group of independent MPs.
All three drafts were submitted for the expertise of the Council of Europe. As the draft developed by the Social-Democratic Alliance was considered to be the best, the majority faction approved it as a basic for the second reading.
III. Law on social canteens
ADEPT comment: Under the law, social canteens are to be established as legal entities providing free services to the vulnerable strata of the society. Local government and entrepreneurs are entitled to establish such canteens under any form of ownership. The following may benefit of the canteen: pensioners, disabled and sick persons. Many deputies criticized this unclear definition of the persons entitled to benefit of the canteen and argued that it would make the enforcement cumbersome.
The canteens may provide the following services: daily meals, home delivery of cheap products, home delivery of clothes at a discount rate, etc. Canteens shall be funded out of the extra-budget funds and local budgets.
IV. Law on artifacts
ADEPT comment: The draft was adopted by the Parliament in the first reading and is intended to define the legal framework for the national crafts, so as to revive national traditions in the field.
The law guarantees the copyright on artifacts, and provides the procedure of their registration in the National Patrimony Register. Also, the law provides that state allocations shall be provided to support the national crafts and fund the programs in the field.
Needless to say, Prime-Minister referred on several occasions to the importance of supporting the crafts and to the obligation of the state institutions to promote national traditions by purchasing souvenirs.
V. Resolution on appointing new judges to the Supreme Court of Justice
ADEPT comment: Three new judges have been appointed to the Supreme Court of Justice, whereas other two judges have been promoted to the position of Deputy Chair of the Penal and Civil College of the Supreme Judiciary Body.
It is worth mentioning that it has been debated for long time whether judges should be appointed based on a contest. Although this time judges were selected based on a contest, it wasn't made public and the appropriateness of the applicants was evaluated only by the representatives of the majority faction, as Social-Democratic Alliance and Christian-Democratic Peoples' Party were boycotting the session.