Parliament Activity during 26-30 May 2003
2 June 2003
After the first round of elections held on 25 May 2003, the Moldovan Deputies resumed their legislative activity, although, over the next two weeks the entire attention of the public opinion will be focused on the second round of elections, whose major outcome will be the election of the General Mayor of Chisinau Municipality. During the two days of plenary sittings held in the week following the elections, the Parliament examined and adopted a number of significant legislative acts.
I. Code of Civil Procedure
ADEPT Comment: Parliament adopted integrally the new Code of Civil Procedure, which is to enter into force by 12 June 2003, when, pursuant to constitutional provisions, the entire judicial system of Moldova is to be re-organised (a detailed analysis of the new Code of Civil Procedure will be published on this web site soon).
II. Law on the Application of the New Code of Criminal Procedure
ADEPT Comment: Recently, the Parliament adopted the new Code of Criminal Procedure. To apply it a special law needs to establish the transition stages and the method of application of the new provisions during these stages.
According to this law, the Code will enter into force on 12 June 2003. All criminal cases and those under investigation at that time will be subjected to the new procedures.
The Law also provides that where judges have already proceeded with investigating certain cases and are moved to other bodies as a result of the re-organisation of the judicial system, they will retain their competence and will go on with the investigations underway.
Since by 12 June there is very little time which will obviously not be enough to set up the bodies provided for under the new Code, the law stipulates that the acting judges will be performing the functions of the judges of instruction on a temporary basis, but not until later than 1 January 2004.
Regretfully, the deputies have failed to provide for other new bodies created under the Code (such as the officers of criminal investigation, the collection and administration of evidence, the alternative sentence) to start functioning after a certain time. One can say almost surely that the late adoption of the new Code of Criminal Procedure and of the new Code of Civil Procedure makes their entry into force by 12 June 2003 problematic. However, on the other hand, it is a good thing that together with these two codes the new criminal and civil codes will enter into force, both of which have been expected so eagerly by the entire judicial community in Moldova. Practically, the current Parliament has succeeded in adopting these new five codes of utmost importance (criminal, of criminal procedure, civil, of civil procedure, and the new Labour Code).
Probably, in the near future a new code on minor offences will be adopted, other elements of this reform having already been put in place (at least formally).
III. Law on the Amendment of the Criminal Code
ADEPT Comment: Although not yet in force, the new Criminal Code has already undergone a number of changes and additions, and special note should be taken of the following:
- The site of offence. It has been established that this notion should designate the place where the damaging action or inaction has been committed, irrespective of the time of occurrence of consequences.
- Particularly large and large proportions, considerable and essential damage. It has been established that:
- particularly large proportions are those that exceed 1,500 conventional fine units (over 27,000 lei);
- large proportions are those that exceed 500 conventional fine units (over 9,000 lei);
- considerable or essential damage is determined on the basis of the value, quantity and importance of assets to the victim, his/her material condition and income, the condition of having dependants, other circumstances that have a direct influence on the material condition of the victim etc.
- Close relatives. This category has been established to include parents, children, adopting parents, adopted children, brothers and sisters, grandparents and grandchildren.
- Pardoning the victims of human trafficking. It has been determined that such victims are pardoned for the committed offences as part of above cases, if they agree to co-operate with the bodies of criminal investigation in the given case.
It is to be noted that all these changes have been suggested by practitioners and citizens.
It is more than likely that upon the application of the Code new flaws will be detected. However, it is good that a significant number of flaws have been corrected before the entry into force of the new Code, which fact shows that the Parliament does not hold a very rigid position with regard to adopted legislation.
IV. Law on the Amendment and Completion of the Law on Administrative Courts
ADEPT Comment: these changes bring the Law on Administrative Courts in line with the constitutional provisions of other legislative acts related to the reform of judicial bodies, as well as the new regulations in the field of local public administration.
The rights of the Government, of the territorial office of the State Chancellery and of the district chairman to dispute the illegal acts of the local public administration authorities are included.
V. Law on the Amendment and Completion of the Law on the Status of Refugees
ADEPT Comment: This law stipulates for moving the General Division for Refugees from the subordination of the Ministry of Justice to that of the Department for Migration. The latter will be responsible not only for keeping the record of simple migrants, but also for the determining the status of refugees for individuals who are escaping a real or imminent danger in their country of stay.
VI. Law on the Ratification of the Constitution of the International Organisation for Migration
ADEPT Comment: By ratifying this act, Moldova will become full-fledged member of the International Organisation for Migration, whose membership will be an efficient tool of promoting Moldova's interests internationally. The principal outcome of Moldova's co-operation with the IOM will be a better handling of the phenomenon of migration and the legal regulation thereof. The IOM puts a special emphasis on the respect of the rights of migrants and their social protection.
One of the major aims Moldova pursues by joining the IOM is to obtain the financial and technical means needed to create a system of evidence and control of migration fluxes.
VII. Law on the Amendment and Completion of the Law on Additional Social Protection of War Invalids and WW2 Veterans and their Families
The changes will include in the category of individuals entitled to additional social protection the following:
- invalids who participated in the liquidation of the consequences of the Chernobyl accident, and who were sent to work there by ministries, departments, enterprises and organisations;
- individuals who have fallen sick with actinic disease or have become invalids as a result of nuclear experiments, accidents with ionic radiation and their consequences at civil or military atomic sites during army service.
The annual cost of the law is estimated at over 400,000 lei, which will be taken from the budget of state social insurance fund.
It is to be noted that the current government is ever more intent on adopting legislation incrementing social assistance. Although there can be no questioning of the fact that the vulnerable social strata need to be better protected, concern arises about the almost complete neglect of the sphere of investments (material, technological etc.). The consumption of resources is growing, yet there is no guarantee that the current trend of rising budget inflows will persist. As a result, given the lack of foreign loans, at a certain point there might emerge a situation of general crisis which might even lead to the inability to pay wages and social benefits.
VIII. The Law on the Modification and Completion of the Law of Citizenship, adopted by the Parliament in the first reading
ADEPT Comment: The proposed changes will abolish the current provisions banning the Moldovan citizens to hold double or multiple citizenship.
Notably, this restriction has been abolished from the Constitution at the end of 2002 and this law, proposed by the President, makes a detailed elaboration of the said constitutional amendment.
IX. Code of Railway Transportation, adopted in the first reading
ADEPT Comment: At present, the circulation of the railway transports in Moldova is not regulated through a specific legislative act, and the 1964 Statute of Railways of the former USSR is still being applied.
The Code adopted by the Parliament in the first reading contains over 160 articles, divided into three chapters:
- The foundations of the activity of the railway transports (general principles, fields and areas of protection of the railway transports, the economic and financial principles of activity of railways, the security of transportation, the security of goods and objects of railway transports, the labour and remuneration relations of employees in the railway sector).
- The functioning and interaction of the railways with the expeditors and addresses of goods, passengers and other physical and legal persons.
- Final provisions.