• The government in Chisinau presented to the ECtHR its position on the admissibility and merits of the applications filed by the lawyers of suspended Prosecutor General Alexandr Stoianoglo

    The government in Chisinau presented to the ECtHR its position on the admissibility and merits of the applications filed by the lawyers of suspended Prosecutor General Alexandr Stoianoglo
    by
    26 September 2022 | 11:47

    The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) of the Republic of Moldova announces that the Government submitted on 22 September 2022 to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) its observations on the admissibility and merits of the applications submitted by the lawyers of the suspended Prosecutor General Alexandr Stoianoglo on the application of preventive measures and on his suspension from the office of Prosecutor General.

    According to the Ministry of Justice, “after examining the views of all the authorities involved, the Government has come to the conclusion that there was no violation of the applicant’s fundamental rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Convention in these applications”.

    More specifically, the representatives of the Ministry of Justice say that the first application filed by the lawyers of the suspended Prosecutor General concerns the placement of Stoianoglo under house arrest following the initiation of criminal proceedings against him by a prosecutor appointed for this purpose by the Supreme Council of Prosecutors (SCP), including the purposes pursued by the application of that measure, as well as the prohibition to participate in events, debates, public communications, applied to the applicant at the time of his release under judicial control.

    The second application concerns the suspension of the applicant from the office of Public Prosecutor following the initiation of the criminal proceedings against him and the impossibility of challenging that measure under national law.

    Thus, in the context of the first application, “the Government argued that the placing of the applicant under house arrest was based on the existence of a reasonable suspicion that he had committed certain offences, and was justified including by the risks which determined the necessity of depriving the suspended Prosecutor General Alexandr Stoianoglo of his liberty,” the MoJ reports.

    “Moreover, the limitation of the applicant’s right to liberty and security of person did not pursue any purpose other than that required by Article 5 §1 (c) of the Convention, namely to bring the applicant before the competent judicial authority, given the existence of a reasonable suspicion that he had committed a criminal offence and the risks justifying the restriction of individual liberty. It was further submitted that the restriction of the applicant’s right to freedom of assembly was provided for by law (Article 191 para. (3) (3) (3) of the Code of Criminal Procedure), pursued the legitimate aims resulting from ensuring public safety, preventing the commission of crimes, defending order and protecting the rights and freedoms of other persons, being necessary in a democratic society and proportionate in the circumstances of the case,” a Ministry of Justice information note said.

    With regard to the second claim, according to the MoJ, “the Government distinguished between the administrative dispute procedure initiated by the applicant at the national level, whereby he chose to challenge the PSC’s decision on the appointment of a prosecutor to investigate the alleged criminal offences against him, and his suspension from office by virtue of the law”.

    “In this regard, it was argued that the applicant did not make use of the most effective and appropriate remedy provided for by national law in the context of challenging the PSC’s decision and the criminal charges against him, since these elements were more likely to fall within the scope of judicial review exercised by the investigating judge under the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure,” the Ministry of Justice adds.

    With reference to the applicant’s possibility of challenging his suspension from office before a judicial body, the Government argued that Article 6 of the Convention was not applicable to that procedure, since, under national law, suspension from the office of public prosecutor was automatically imposed following the initiation of a criminal case and the legislature had not introduced the possibility of challenging such a measure. In addition, the applicant has not argued the existence of any civil rights or obligations which would have resulted from the application of that measure”, the Ministry of Justice also announces.

    Next, the Court will send the Government’s observations to the applicant and grant him a deadline to present his own position on the questions raised by the Court and the arguments put forward by the Government, as well as his claims for just satisfaction, Justice Ministry representatives add.

    In January 2022, lawyers for the suspended Prosecutor General, Alexandr Stoianoglo, sent a complaint to the ECHR seeking a finding of “violation of Stoianoglo’s rights regarding the unlawful application of all pre-trial measures”.

    A few days later, lawyers sent a new complaint to the ECHR about Stoianoglo’s suspension from the office of Prosecutor General. The suspended Prosecutor General, Alexandr Stoianoglo, who is subject to a pre-trial detention order in the form of provisional release under judicial supervision, is under investigation for passive corruption, false statements, abuse of office and exceeding the powers of his office.

    On 23 May, the Superior Council of Prosecutors (SCP) approved the report of the Evaluation Commission and was to propose to Moldovan President Maia Sandu the dismissal of Alexandr Stoianoglo as Prosecutor General, after he received an “unsatisfactory” evaluation rating.

    AUTHOR MAIL sabinrufa1@gmail.com

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