Alegerile parlamentare din 2021 în Republica Moldova -

The three deteriorated pillars

|print version||
Sergiu Grosu / September 15, 2006
ADEPT logo

Undermining of the third pillar

Half of the term for the implementation o the European Union — Moldova Action Plan (EUMAP) has passed. Quasi-unanimous estimates of local and international experts are reduced to the finding that the things seem to go the right way as regards the adoption of normative acts, but positive practical consequences are not observed and, on the contrary, the appearing phenomena do not meet the expectations. The modality of arresting the sales manager of the private TV channel PRO TV for the presumed bribe taking held “red-handed” is the latest example with an internal and international resonance. This case raises a big interest — do the accused and his charges fall under incidence of Article 333 (2) of the Penal Code? — Why the plenary exercising of the right to defence was obstructed? — Why the arrest and detention in a hardly identified facility were needed? On the other hand, this case is also interesting for its potential impact.

The specific relations between acting Moldovan authorities and mass media have a dark enough story, if we recall the cases of “Accente”, “Moldavskye Vedomosti”, “Euro TV”, “Antena C”, “ORT v Moldove”, the “special” operation of evacuation of striking journalists from “Teleradio-Moldova” in 2004, etc. The tradition of addressing open letters signed by ambassadors of the European Union (E.U.), the United States and international democratic institutions to support Moldovan journalists and to urge the authorities to respect the freedom of expression and the freedom of mass media also demonstrates the bad state of things in this field. This story of relations between authorities and mass media had an impact on public opinion in the new case — PRO TV. The latter outlines the fact that law enforcement institutions in Moldova do not care about collateral effects of their actions (the intervention of the OSCE Mission confirms this supposition).

The context of the event is interesting in this regard: a) immediately after the accomplishments of judicial and law reform obtained by Moldova in the period of independence were debated at an international conference with the participation of prime minister, chairman of the Supreme Court of Justice, other high-ranking dignitaries and representatives of European institutions; b) during the International Seminar “Moldova and East Europe: Reform, Integration, Settlement of Conflicts, Regional Cooperation” in Chisinau; c) when the Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration attended an international conference in Berlin, making efforts that deserve all support to persuade the influent audience over insufficiency of the European Neighbourhood Police (ENP) for Moldova’s European options.

When the Moldovan authorities affirm on various occasions that the European integration is a strategic goal of Moldova, they must expect that European partners look at any invocation of pro-European claims in the light of the building based on the three pillars of the E.U.: economy and social policies; foreign policy and common security; justice and interior affairs, in accordance with the 1992 Maastricht Treaty. Let’s see what signals the E.U. has received from Moldova in the past month only in the light of the three pillars:

  1. Economy and social policies. It was confirmed on basis of some documents that after nearly three years of implementation of the Economic Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (EGPRSP) Moldova remains the poorest country in Europe. Really, the publication of data on properties and incomes of dignitaries induces the legitimate question — if they are the poorest in Europe then how poor the common citizens should be? What happens with the economy and social policy of Moldova if high-ranking functionaries have properties of only several thousands of dollars, some after running leading posts for tens of years? Under these conditions, there is no reason to affirm that Moldova has enemies who brand it as the poorest country in Europe;
  2. foreign policy and security. If the E.U. is participating more actively in settling the Transnistrian conflict, the conduct of the referendum on attachment of districts from the left bank o the Dniester river to Russia demonstrates how grave is this problem and in what direction it develops;
  3. justice and interior affairs. This is namely the field where the meddling of other states and historical adversities cannot be invoked. It seems that it is subversively acted toward this European pillar, too, including through the modality of opening the PRO TV case, while this is the only pillar on which Moldova could focus alone its policies in order to gain the E.U. confidence that it follows the best way. This fact imposes a concise analysis of the state of things in the field of justice and interior affairs.

Drawbacks and priorities of justice and interior affairs

The conference “Pace of Judiciary Reform in Moldova. Accomplishments, Problems, Perspectives”, which was recently organised in Chisinau within the Joint Programme of the European Commission and the Council of Europe for Moldova, was an occasion to sum up and highlight the results of this reform estimated in the light of implementation of EUMAP, with the justice being a priority of the Plan.

A public servant who does not work in this system but knows it very well and has access to different information and even must analyse relevant problems like a professional was an interesting enough feature. Thus, the secretary of the Supreme Security Council, Ion Morei, former prosecutor and former justice minister, has recently told journalists that the “judicial system still has a lot of work to do in order to regain the trust of society …there is much work to do for legal education from high-ranking to low-ranking dignitaries, whose mentality does not have respect for law.”[1]

Certain evolutions in this field are being observed and it was mentioned above that they mainly refer to modification of legislation, but we note that the things develop slowly regarding institutional implementation and practice and many problems remain unsolved. The most pressing drawbacks and immediate priorities are linked to:


The recent proposal of the E.U. for Ukraine regarding the drafting of a new document to substitute the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement and to serve as basis for future bilateral relations suggests us that something of this kind will be proposed soon to Moldova, too. It would be regretful if the new offer, be it marked by standard approaches, would focus on “deteriorated condition” of the European integration pillars. But there is a very little time for “repairs” and it is very important to make real efforts, so that very soon:

  1. dignitaries declare the real values of their properties and incomes, trying to destroy Moldova’s fame of the poorest country in Europe at least this way;
  2. to try persuading the E.U. that its new agreement with Ukraine must stipulate solutions to security problems in the Transnistrian section of the Moldovan-Ukrainian border. Moldova could ask the E.U. to convince Ukraine also to ban the access of separatist leaders of Transnistria to its territory, while the air traffic between Transnistria and Russia be regulated and controlled by legal authorities of Moldova. Logically, the separatist leaders in Transnistria cannot be considered subjects of the negotiation process after the September 17 referendum (indeed what could be discussed — the term when Transndiestria will become de jure part of Russia?) and, therefore, they must be treated as offenders and must be tried under the Penal Code, including outside of Moldova. Also, the separatist regime, though it is a regime de facto, ignores ostentatiously the norms of international law — the ECHR judgment on Ilascu and many resolutions of European democratic institutions obliging the execution of ECHR judgments; obstructs the strategic partner of Moldova to honour its international commitments on withdrawal of ammunition and military personnel from Moldova; the 2006 events in Crimea demonstrated that the example of Transnistrian separatism is invoked by separatist elements in Ukraine as an example of success worthy of being followed. All these facts must be convincing enough for the Ukrainian authorities to act the same way like the E.U. regarding the “black list” of separatist leaders who are prohibited access to the E.U. This would be a legal procedure since the regimes de facto may be sanctioned for violation of international norms. As regards the relations with the Russian Federation, they may be pragmatic only after their “monetisation” and after the embargo imposed to Moldova. Insisting on Ukraine and the E.U. (which has a positive influence on this country) to allow Russian airships from the eastern districts of Moldova to fly over the Ukrainian territory for landing and take-off with the consent and control of competent authorities of Moldova only is an element of the pragmatism aimed to combat the separatism. Most be find another solutions[2];
  3. to remedy the drawbacks of justice and interior affairs as soon as possible, especially those mentioned above.
  1. Daily FLUX, #125 from 07.09.2006
  2. Bring the phantom republics in from the cold, Charles King, International Herald Tribune, September 14, 2006
Referendum on background of explosions Appeal of GUAM and eventual implications