Amending the Law on Prosecutor’s Office – Chronology

Amending the Law on Prosecutor’s Office – Chronology
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23 August 2021 | 18:37

10 August

The Minister of Justice, Sergiu Litvinenco, announced on Tuesday, August 10, that he registered a draft law related to the amendment of the Law on the Prosecutor’s Office.

“We have registered a project that comes to amend the Law on the Prosecutor’s Office, in the sense of including mechanisms to evaluate the activity of the Prosecutor General and to establish his disciplinary liability. Both mechanisms provide for the possibility of dismissing the Prosecutor General in cases based on the proposal of the Superior Council of Prosecutors. (…) The proposed changes will not affect the independence and autonomy of the prosecution. These changes contain sufficient guarantees for professional evaluations. Other changes relate to the composition of the Superior Council of Prosecutors. The current provisions do not hold the prosecutor accountable. The project we registered comes to restore a certain balance between the rights and obligations of the general prosecutor,” said Sergiu Litvinenco

On the same day, the representatives of the General Prosecutor’s Office came with a reaction.

“The level of understanding by the current government of the principles of the rule of law is unexpectedly low and, at the moment. The Prosecutor’s Office’s response to any attack on its institutional and procedural independence will be proportional to the gravity of such attacks.

The Superior Council of Prosecutors reacted too and published a note.

”The Superior Council of Prosecutors is deeply opposed to the way in which, lately, the institution of the Prosecutor’s Office has been attacked by serious accusations, which, however, have no legal support and are essentially manipulative.”

The president of the Center for Legal Resources of Moldova, Vladislav Gribincea, claims that by amending the Law on the Prosecutor’s Office “every time the government does not like the prosecutor general creates dangerous precedents and puts the prosecutor general at the mercy of politicians.”

The Minister of Justice Proposed to Amend the Law on Prosecutor’s Office so that the Prosecutor General Could Be Evaluated by a Special Committee

13 August

The draft amendment to the Law on the Prosecutor’s Office, initiated by Action and Solidarity Party deputies, was supported on Friday, the 13th, in the plenary of the Legislature by the parliamentary majority. With 59 votes, the draft was voted in the first reading.

“The performances of the General Prosecutor are to be evaluated by a special commission, which will be set up at the notification of the President of the country or at least 3 members of the Superior Council of Prosecutors, and if after the evaluation the head of the General Prosecutor’s Office obtains the qualification “failed”, the Superior Council of Prosecutors will propose to the President of Moldova the dismissal of the Prosecutor General,” this being the main change made to the Law on the Prosecutor’s Office.

On the same day, the Parliament voted for another amendment that changed the number of members of the Superior Council of Prosecutors from 15 to 12. Thus, the general prosecutor, the chief prosecutor of the UTA Gagauzia Prosecutor’s Office, and the president of the Bar Association were excluded from the composition of the Superior Council of Prosecutors.

“The need to exclude the Prosecutor General from the Superior Council of Prosecutors aims to reduce the influence of the Prosecutor General on the Council and on the rest of the Superior Council of Prosecutors members. Given that the Prosecutor General is appointed for a term of 7 years, and the members of the Superior Council of Prosecutors are appointed for a term of 4 years, there is a risk that the Prosecutor General may exercise certain influences over the members of the Superior Council of Prosecutors both during and after the mandate of Superior Council of Prosecutors members ends,” stated Sergiu Litvinenco.

18 August

The General Prosecutor’s Office gave a negative assessment of the draft amendment on the Prosecutor’s Office law. According to the institution, “the authors of the project are in fact seeking the establishment of new grounds and procedures, with the direct involvement of political institutions, for the early dismissal of the prosecutor general.”

”We consider that project does not take into account European standards and recommendations for the establishment of the rule of law and seeks to legislate interference with the independence of the Prosecutor’s Office and prosecutors, which can in no way be accepted.

We opt for reforms carried out in a framework of legality, ensuring the principle of separation of powers in the state, based on fair dialogue and mutual respect, so that society has confidence that all measures taken have good faith objectives.”

On the same day, the parliamentary faction of the Shor Party announced that it registered an initiative to introduce amendments to the Constitution of Moldova which presupposes that the Prosecutor General be elected by the citizens.

The deputy of the Bloc of Communists and Socialists, Vasile Bolea, declared that the amendments proposed by the Action and Solidarity Party to the Prosecutor’s Law could be declared unconstitutional.

“This project is weak and must be consulted with international bodies. Violation of several procedures could lead to the Constitutional Court declaring this draft unconstitutional. Any attempt to amend the Law on the Prosecutor’s Office without hearing the opinion of the Superior Council of Prosecutors and what international bodies say may result in failure,” declared Vasile Bolea.

19 August

The General Prosecutor’s Office addresses the Venice Commission and the Consultative Council of European Prosecutors of the Council of Europe, the International Association of Prosecutors, and the diplomatic corps accredited in Moldova requesting their point of view in the context of amending the Law on the General Prosecutor’s Office.

According to Stoianoglo, the purpose of the project is “the resignation of the Prosecutor General at any cost”.

On the same day, the Cabinet of Ministers approved the draft laws on the Prosecutor’s Office and the change of the composition of the Superior Council of Prosecutors. The representatives of ATU Gagauzia in the Government did not support the amendment to the Law on the Prosecutor’s Office.

23 August

On Monday, Alexandr Stoianoglo submitted a ten-step package to the government, which he proposes to fight corruption:

  • Restriction of immunity for Members. We propose that all Members of Parliament no longer enjoy parliamentary immunity.
  • Establishment of mechanisms for prosecuting, including criminal, members of collegiate bodies – those who voted to lease the airport, transfer state property, etc.
  • Optimizing, cleaning the Prosecutor’s Office of people who have made decisions that have harmed the state. Compromised prosecutors. To establish a moratorium for 6 months. Simplification of the procedure for holding prosecutors accountable.
  • Reassessment of the regulatory framework approved during the “captured state” period in the field of justice.
  • Reconceptualizing the efficiency of the Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office. We propose the attribution of competencies for the Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office for the examination and investigation of large cases of corruption.
  • Creation of a specialized anti-corruption court to investigate large cases of corruption.
  • Extending the powers of prosecutors to investigative measures, including large cases of corruption.
  • We propose attributions for the prosecutor regarding the temporary suspension from office of the persons investigated in corrupt actions.
  • Liability for minor offenses. Up to 100 contravention units.
  • Execution of Constitutional Court decisions regarding decisions on criminal rules.
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