Activity of the Parliament on June 20-30, 2005
5 July 2005
The appointment of judges of the Supreme Court of Justice was one of topics that the Parliament ardently discussed in the period concerned. The parliamentary majority appointed six judges of the Supreme Court of Justice and rejected another four candidates without indicating any reasons, after a number of speeches which demanded to postpone the examination of this issue. The opposition criticized this procedure of groundless rejection of candidates, fearing that the independence of judges is influenced and the system is politicized this way. These opinions became strongly argued when the parliamentary majority turned down a proposal of the Superior Council of Magistrates to name the acting deputy chairmen of the Supreme Court of Justice, Constantin Gurschi and Vasile Pascaru, to continue running these offices, with the opposition describing this gesture as a political trick.
To mention that recent debates envisaged the candidacy of the court chairman, whom the parliamentary majority named however, after a number of speeches regarding this candidacy and the entire judiciary system of the country that the opposition vehemently criticized. In particular, opposition representatives insisted that the examination of such problems be postponed until examination of packages of laws aimed to reform the judiciary system, as the same persons docile to the power who fulfil its wishes later are named because of the lack of these amendments.
Another draft that parliamentarians discussed in details envisaged the gender equality, but debates had a tolerant and constructive nature this time.
Legislators also examined several draft international documents, as well as a number of amendments to the national legislation.
I. Law on Ratification of Protocol 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights
Commentary by ADEPT: The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe ratified this protocol in 2004 in a move to improve the control system established in the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and to offer ECHR a series of new means needed for a more operative examination of appeals.
Also, the protocol awards supplementary rights on adoption of ECHR decisions and namely concerning:
- consolidation of the ECHR capacity of filtration in order to eliminate groundless cases;
- introduction of new admission criteria for minor cases;
- introduction of a shorter procedure for minor cases.
The modifications introduced by this protocol call for a higher number of ECHR judges.
Also, the status of judges is modified, so that they are elected for one mandate for a 9-year term.
It is worth to mention that a new amendment is introduced to authorise the ECHR to declare any appeal which unfits the European Convention on Human Rights as inadmissible, or if the applicant did not suffer any important damage.
The protocol allows the European Union, as judiciary institution, to join the European Convention on Human Rights.
II. Law on Modification of the Education Law
Commentary by ADEPT: The Parliament prolonged the deadline for attestation of institutions of higher learning with one year through this law, in line with new rigours established by education legislation. In particular, the legislation obliges private educational institutions to hold a minimum statutory capital in the amount of:
- one million lei - for institutions of higher learning and vocational institutions;
- 500,000 lei - for secondary educational institutions;
- 300,000 lei - for elementary educational institutions, pre-school institutions, and other educational facilities.
Also, the law obliges all private educational institutions to own headquarters and necessary technical-material base for teaching process.
Earlier, many heads of private educational institutions had protested against introduction of these restrictions, as well as the very short deadline to bring the material base in compliance with these requirements. Parliamentarians have partly complied with these demands, prolonging only the deadline for introduction of restrictions, but did not reduce their size.
III. Law on Amendment of the Penal Code
Commentary by ADEPT: A new article - 309 - called "Torture" was introduced in the Penal Code through this law.Under the law, a 2-5-year jail term is in effect for the deliberate provocation of a pain or serious physical or psychic suffering to a person, especially with the purpose to obtain information and testimonies, to punish him/her or a third person for an action that he/she committed or he/she is suspected of having committed, to intimidate or to pressure a third person, or for any other reason based on discrimination, when a high ranking functionary or any other official provokes such a pain or suffering, except for pains and sufferings resulting from legal sanctions.
This article also contains a number of aggravating cases such as torture:
- on a pregnant woman;
- on a minor;
- applied by two or more persons;
- seizing the helplessness condition of victim;
- applied by a high ranking official, etc.
A 5-10 detention term is in effect for such cases.
Many nongovernmental organisations specialised in protection of human rights had earlier signalled the need to introduce amendments to the Penal Code in a move to charge the torture and inhuman or degrading treatments which are frequently applied in the internal law system of Moldova.
IV. Draft law on modification and completion of the Code on Administrative Contraventions
Commentary by ADEPT: The draft law adopted in the first lecture aims to modify the existing orders or summoning of a person as offender. Orders similar to provisions of the Code on Penal and Civil Procedure are introduced indeed in the Code on Administrative Contraventions, regulating in details the following:
- summoning place (at home or residence; in dependence of the temporary location of offender; an address indicated by offender, in hospitals, in detention facility; at military units, etc.);
- text of summon (name and headquarter of the summoning body; date and issuing number; identity data of the summoned person; month, date, place and time of summoning; reception evidence, etc.);
- summoning mode (handing in of summon; handing in of summon to a relative or a person who lives together with the summoned person; summoning through post service; online summoning; summoning via mass media, etc.).
V. Draft law on insurance of equal chances to women and men
Commentary by ADEPT: Being a key topic of different meetings, the problem of equal chances became official through adoption of this draft law in the first reading, aimed to regulate the field.
The key elements of this draft include among others:
- prohibition of employment discrimination and contests for employment of only one gender;
- insurance of representation of genders in administration of parties;
- insurance of a 30 percent minimum representation of each of genders in lists of electoral competitors;
- establishing of a series of discriminatory measures that employers are prohibited to apply;
- establishing of detailed competences of central and local public authorities in charge with insurance of equal chances;
- establishing of compensations for damage caused through gender discrimination, etc.