OPINION POLL: Is Amnesty an Option for Moldova?

OPINION POLL: Is Amnesty an Option for Moldova?
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29 November 2021 | 03:43

Parliament prepares amnesty for 1,723 prisoners on the 30th anniversary of Moldova’s independence. The amnesty will not apply to those who have committed particularly or exceptionally serious crimes, as well as corruption and corruption-related offenses. There are several voices in society opposing the initiative, arguing that due to imperfect legislation and corruption in the judiciary, the amnesty could benefit people who do not fall within the provisions of the law.

Violeta Gașițoi, lawyer

Moldova remains a state with a high level of corruption, which nothing can control or guarantee. In my opinion, the amnesty goes against the principle of a democratic state, which implies individualization of criminal punishment, supremacy of the law, and the power of the judiciary. The amnesty act itself violates these general principles of the rule of law and represents nothing other than interference by the legislative and executive powers in the judiciary. The principles of a democratic state presuppose that a court decision, which is final and irrevocable, must be carried out exactly, in accordance with international law and standards. Once issued, the judgment cannot be modified and changed by any other power, executive or legislative. The issuing of the Amnesty Act nullifies all the effects of a conviction, diminishes the act of justice, and introduces legal uncertainty into society. From the precedents we have with the issuing of amnesty laws, we can see that a lot has been done with reclassifying criminal cases and indictments to bring them under the amnesty law, or other methods have been found to pardon serious and particularly serious crimes. In the 2016 amnesty, prosecutors accused of overstepping their duties to free several gangsters were released, judges who freed particularly dangerous criminals were amnestied. Likewise, police torturers, corrupt civil servants, gangsters, rapists, one of the pimps was pardoned twice at the time, people who killed people in road accidents were pardoned, criminals who set up an entire counterfeiting industry were released, etc. During that period 2601 detainees were released, including about 489 from prisons. During the same period, more than 1000 people under investigation were pardoned… There is a high risk that the 2021 amnesty will release all those who are now accused of illicit enrichment. Until we eliminate corruption, influence peddling, this law should not exist, because the state still cannot control this phenomenon.

Veaceslav Ropot, lawyer

Amnesty in our country is like gambling. There are already statements in the press that the law on amnesty will ease the situation of mothers with many children… The reality is different. The Pardons Commission recently examined and rejected several requests for pardons for convicts in Rusca Prison, including Tamara Ursu, sentenced to 7 years and 2 months in prison, who is the mother of 3 minor children aged 2 to 5. She has no disciplinary violations during the execution of her sentence, has not been found to have caused material or moral harm, has received a favorable opinion from the prison administration, has admitted her guilt before the Pardons Commission… However, her application was refused. She was even denied the opportunity to attend a repeat interview with the Pardons Commission. The same goes for the right to amnesty. If mothers with children are to be given priority, why are the decisions so selective?

Stanislav Pavlovschi, former ECtHR judge

Amnesty is not a solution to grant freedoms. The solution should be to review all suspicious conviction cases. Firstly, because no civilized state can tolerate a situation where prisons are full of innocent people. Secondly: the democratic states do not apply amnesty, because that way the purpose of criminal punishment is not achieved. The convicted person must be released when he/she no longer poses a danger to society.

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