Round-table discussion and public hearing before the second reading of the Administrative Code with representatives of the Parliament and NGOs at the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova: Georg Schmidt, President of the Administrative Court of Trier; Dr. Stefan Hülshörster, Director of the IRZ; Rolf Hüffer, former President of the Higher Administrative Court of Bavaria (from left to right)
Round-table discussion and public hearing before the second reading of the Administrative Code with representatives of the Parliament and NGOs at the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova: Georg Schmidt, President of the Administrative Court of Trier; Dr. Stefan Hülshörster, Director of the IRZ; Rolf Hüffer, former President of the Higher Administrative Court of Bavaria (from left to right)

Legal Policy Situation

Not only since the signing of the Association Agreement with the EU in June 2014, which entered into full force in July 2016, Moldova, which is also part of the EU’s Eastern Partnership, has been endeavouring to implement the ambitious structural reforms that it has committed itself to within the framework of the Agreement. The Republic of Moldova is thus moving closer to the EU, on the one hand, but on the other hand, after the election of a new President at the end of 2016, Moldova is divided between rapprochement with the EU and a Russia-friendly policy. At the beginning of 2017, there was talk of a possible annulment of the Association Agreement, however, the Moldovan government emphasised its determination to continue on the road to Europe. The forthcoming parliamentary elections in the autumn of next year will show whether and to what extent the Europe-oriented reform course is to be continued.

Overall Concept

Cooperation with the partner institutions in the Republic of Moldova continued to be intensified also in 2017 and was advanced with particular commitment. With grants from the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection and project funding from the Federal Foreign Office, numerous specialist events were held, particularly in the areas of the reform of criminal procedure law, administrative law, notarial law and the legal profession. One of the focal points was the consultation on the reform of criminal procedure law, not least at the special request of the Moldovan Deputy Minister of Justice. In this context, the IRZ has facilitated numerous consultations and working meetings, and the German experts have issued expert opinions on this subject on several occasions. Work in Moldova also focused on drafting an administrative code consisting of a general part, a part with an administrative procedure law and a third part with an administrative process law. After many years of preparatory work, the draft code was now presented to Parliament in a first reading and, together with representatives of the Moldovan Parliament’s Committee on Legal Affairs, was moved along and further revised between the first and second reading. Against this backdrop, the further training of future administrative judges has been stepped up and will continue to receive more attention also in the future. In the third focal area of advanced training and the promotion of junior lawyers, very practice-oriented advanced training courses were carried out tailored to judges and the public prosecutor’s office and this in cooperation with the National Institute of Justice. And there was an additional course of study at the State University for the promotion of junior lawyers. Furthermore, the IRZ cooperated closely with the Constitutional Court. In addition to this work, the IRZ has been involved in various EU projects the subjects of which fit well into the IRZ portfolio.

Foci of Activity 2017

Constitutional Law/Human Rights and their Enforceability

  • International Conference at the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Moldova in Chișinău
  • Expert discussion on the collaboration of constitutional bodies in Chișinău

Civil and Commercial Law

  • Further training in relational and judgement technology in Chișinău

Public Law

  • Discussions with experts on drafting the Moldovan Administrative Code in Chișinău
  • Closed conference on the Administrative Code in Hanover
  • Expert conference on administrative law in Chișinău
  • Second round table with representatives of Parliament and civil society on the amendments and recasting of the Administrative Code between first and second reading of the draft law in the Parliament in Chișinău
  • Closed conference on the Administrative Code in Bonn
  • Closed conference on the Administrative Code in Minden and Bückeburg
  • Participation in the conference of European judges’ associations on judicial reform and the integrity of justice in Chișinău

Criminal and Penitentiary Law

  • Information visit by the Deputy Minister of Justice of the Republic of Moldova to Bonn, Cologne and Düsseldorf on the reform of criminal procedure law
  • Assessment of parts of the Moldovan Criminal Procedure Act as a basis for the forthcoming reform consultations
  • First working session on the planned changes in Moldovan criminal procedure law in Chișinău
  • Second working session on reform of the Criminal Procedure Act in Chișinău
  • Third working session on the reform project in criminal procedure law in Chișinău
  • Round table with representatives of the police, Public Prosecutor’s Office and judges on initiating and organising criminal proceedings and on the distribution of powers of jurisdiction
  • Expert discussion on costs in criminal proceedings and the role of the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Chișinău
  • Expert discussion and seminar on the status of reforms in penitentiary law and the preparation of individual penitentiary plans in Chișinău
  • Further training on the interrogation of witnesses in Chișinău
  • Further training on fact-finding and the assessment of evidence in ChișinăuFurther training on the working methods of criminal judges for the judges and Public Prosecutor’s Office in Chișinău
  • Further training for the staff of the Anti-Corruption Agency in Chișinău
  • “Moot Court” in criminal procedure law in Chișinău
  • Participation of a German expert in a conference of the Moldovan General Prosecutor’s Office in Chișinău

Basic and Further Training

  • Accompanying studies on the introduction to German and European law at the State University in Chișinău
  • Research stay at the University of Bonn for a scholarship holder undertaking such accompanying studies
  • Methodology “Train-the-Trainer” (basic and advanced seminar) in Chișinău

Projects financed by the European Union

EU Technical Assistance Project: Support to the Pre-Trial Investigation, Prosecution and the Defence Set-Up in Moldova

In the spring of 2017, this EU-funded project was successfully completed over a period of 30 months. Among other things, the project developed a draft amendment to the Public Prosecutor’s Act as well as relevant implementing provisions within the framework of the first component “Legislative consultation, strengthening the institutional capacity of criminal law authorities”. The new law has been in force since August 2016 and the most important changes concern the selection of the Prosecutor General, who will henceforth be proposed by a Council of Prosecutors. The project has also advised on the drafting of a code of ethics for the Public Prosecutor’s Office and a law on the organisation of the General Prosecutor’s Office. In addition to the General Prosecutor’s Office, there will only be two specialised public prosecutors’ offices: in the field of anti-corruption and the fight against organised crime. The project has also developed recommendations on anti-corruption measures and the establishment of an anti-corruption department. In 2017, tailor-made further training seminars and training courses for prosecutors and investigating magistrates in the areas of investigation methods, forensics and tax fraud were also held as part of the second component. In order to improve the dialogue between civil society, the Public Prosecutor’s Office, the police and journalists, the project also organised three round tables. Furthermore, it initiated a very well received English course for members of the prosecution service. As part of the implementation of the third component of the project “Strengthening public confidence”, three surveys on criminal law were carried out with different target groups and their results presented. The interviewees for this survey included people involved in criminal proceedings, members of the general public and owners of small and medium-sized enterprises. The project also provided support for the development of communication strategies and for public appearances. Finally, three study visits were made to Romania and Sweden on topics such as electronic case management, work methodology and implementation of anti-corruption strategies.

EU Technical Assistance Project: Support to the Constitutional Court of Moldova

This project with a volume of almost EUR 1.4 million ended in September 2017 after a period of 19 months. The four-member international team of experts supported the Moldovan Constitutional Court in its efforts to improve the internal organisation of the court and to restructure the working and research methods, in particular of its academic staff. This was done, among other things, by means of training courses on the methodological working methods and a series of further training courses on the interpretation of the case law of the European Court of Human Rights and established European constitutional courts as well as on the recommendations of the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe. In addition, the judges of the Moldovan Constitutional Court visited the Council of Europe and the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg, the Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe and the Lithuanian Constitutional Court in Vilnius. In doing so, they were able to exchange information with their colleagues on the different workflows and on the interaction between the European and national levels. In the legislative consultation component, two project experts were represented in the Commission of the Ministry of Justice, that had to draw up proposals for the revision of the law on the Constitutional Court. This legislative reform could not be completed during the course of the project. Many activities also served to improve the court’s public relations strategy. For example, seminars were held for employees of non-governmental organizations and journalists in order to improve the quality of Moldovan media coverage of the Constitutional Court. The last Steering Committee meeting and the closing event in September 2017 made it clear how positively the project was assessed by all sides. The Lithuanian Constitutional Court and the German School of Law in Warsaw participated in this project as consortium partners.

EU Twinning Project: Capacity Building of the National Centre for Personal Data Protection of the Republic of Moldova

This Twinning project is being carried out in cooperation with the Latvian Ministry of Justice as a junior partner and the National Centre for Data Protection of the Republic of Moldova. It started on 2 October 2017 and has a duration of 24 months. The project has a budget of EUR 1 million. The overall objective of the project is to secure personal data protection and privacy in Moldova in accordance with the legal framework and EU standards. Furthermore, the exchange of data between EU Member States and Moldova is to be secured from May 2018, when the EU General Data Protection Regulation enters into force and Directive 2016/680 has to be introduced into national law by EU Member States. The project consists of three components:

  • Harmonisation of national legislation in the field of personal data protection with the EU Acquis, including the provisions of the General Data Protection Regulation and the EU Directive 2016/680. The current legal situation in the Republic of Moldova is being reviewed and compared with the two EU regulations. A draft law and a strategic plan for the years 2020 to 2022 are to be drawn up.
  • Support of the National Centre for Personal Data Protection and other relevant institutions in the implementation of the new Data Protection Act still to be drafted. A code of conduct for those who gather and process data will be designed and a “Train-the-Trainer” programme will be implemented. The handling of violations of data protection regulations is also practiced.
  • Raising awareness of the public and of persons who verify and process data with regard to the regulations of the General Data Protection Regulation and the EU Directive 2016/680.

Outlook

The IRZ will continue its deliberations, in particular on the Administrative Code and the Criminal Procedure Act and will also provide advisory support at the parliamentary level. In April 2017, the Moldovan Ministry of Justice presented the strategy paper on the development of the penitentiary system for the period 2016 to 2020, which was approved by the government in December 2016. The IRZ will support the reform projects in the penitentiary sector on the basis of the advice already given on the Criminal Procedure Act and an earlier EU Twinning-Project and will consult to the Moldovan partners. Furthermore, events on the topics of constitutional law, legal further training and legislative techniques are planned. After the adoption of the Administrative Code and, possibly, of the Criminal Procedure Act, the necessary consultations on the implementation of the law will be vigorously pursued.