Almost 11 years ago, former Judge Stanislav Sorbalo was fired. This week, the Superior Council of Magistracy decided to reinstate him as a magistrate. The Superior Council of Magistracy also ordered the payment of the salary and all the due payments for the period Sorbalo was suspended from office. According to the Superior Council of Magistracy, Sorbalo would receive over 205,000 euros.
On July 7, the Superior Council of Magistracy decided to reinstate Sorbalo as a magistrate and pay him the salary, all earnings-related payments, and non-pecuniary damages for the period he was suspended from the office. This period was also added as an internship to his employment record. The Superior Council of Magistracy decided that Sorbalo would receive a sum amounting to over 205,000 euros (4 million lei).
“The Superior Council of Magistracy accepts former magistrate, Stanislav Sorbalo’s request, related to his reinstatement in office, paying him the salary. The Superior Council of Magistracy submits its decision to Moldova’s President Igor Dodon for the respective decree,” the president of the Superior Council of Magistracy communicated.
On January 22, 2009, the Superior Council of Magistracy examined the appeal of the President of the Superior Council of Magistracy against the decision of the Disciplinary Board regarding the application of the disciplinary sanction in the form of a warning to Sorbalo.
Following the examination of the appeal and the debates among the Superior Council of Magistracy members, the Disciplinary Board decided to cancel the application of the disciplinary sanction in the form of a warning, issuing a new decision. Based on the new decision, Sorbalo was dismissed.
Sorbalo says he tried to work in other positions, but he could not because of the article by which he was fired from the system by the Superior Council of Magistracy.
“For a while, I was employed in the penitentiary institutions no. 11 in Bălți. I worked for a few months as head of the penitentiary no. 11. But I worked for a while and resigned. Then I was deprived of the right to work as a lawyer, notary, bailiff, any field related to law. I was employed for six months,” the judge declared in front of the Superior Council of Magistracy members.
The judge says he participated in several contests for other positions but failed to be hired anywhere. Asked if he should present evidence in this regard, Sorbalo said he believes it is not necessary.
The judge says that he also had an attempt to go to work in Russia, but he did not succeed and since then he has lived from the money of his wife’s salary and his daughter’s disability pension.
At the same time, Sorbalo challenged at the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) the decision of the Superior Council of Magistracy, through which he was dismissed in 2009. His request has been pending in the court.
In 2019, the government agent initiated an amicable settlement procedure with the magistrate. A final decision of the Supreme Court of Justice followed, annulling the Superior Council of Magistracy’s 2009 decision.
“Mr. Sorbalo’s request is pending before the ECtHR. Initially, they gave us a deadline until September 30, 2019, to decide amicably. But we couldn’t find an amicable settling.
On October 2, 2019, the ECtHR invited the Government to give explanations, to examine the issue and initiate the procedure of amicable settling, and also one of the parties can start the amicable procedure. Here the government agent initiated the review procedure. The Supreme Court of Justice annulled the Superior Council of Magistracy’s decision no. 14/1 of January 22, 2009.
We submitted this request to the Superior Council of Magistracy.
The amicable decision depends on the Superior Council of Magistracy’s decision or the decisions that must be taken in enforcing the ECtHR suggestion. If we will not see a fair decision, and magistrate Sorbalo will not be reinstated, then we will challenge the decision and then the ECtHR will examine the pending case,” said the lawyer Gheorghe Ulianovschi, who is defending magistrate Sorbalo.
On July 7, 2020, the Superior Council of Magistracy also approved the request of Judge Eugen Popovici from the Orhei Court, related to his reinstatement in office and the payment of the salary and all the due payments for the period he was suspended from office.
Judge Popovici from the Orhei District Court was previously suspended from office because he was under criminal investigation. Previously, the Superior Council of Magistracy examined his request, but it didn’t make a decision.
According to the rapporteur, Anatolie Galben, member of the Superior Council of Magistracy, Popovici was suspended from office on November 13, 2018, and on May 5, the Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office ordered his removal from criminal prosecution. The ordinance issued by the Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office was not contested. Subsequently, Galben told us that there is no other reason to keep the suspended person and the only solution is to cancel the suspension and reinstate him.