Fourth further training measure in Chişinău to implement the Administrative Code: IRZ expert Georg Schmidt, President of the Trier Administrative Court, in discussion with the participants
Fourth further training measure in Chişinău to implement the Administrative Code: IRZ expert Georg Schmidt, President of the Trier Administrative Court, in discussion with the participants

Strategic Framework

Legal Policy Starting Point

Three years after the EU Association Agreement with the extended and comprehensive free trade area entered into force, Moldova still lacks political stability and has not achieved the long-awaited prosperity. Political corruption and a society burdened by poverty are still the order of the day in the country, which is located between the tense political poles of Russia and Europe. Important political events in 2019 were the parliamentary elections on 24 February, which led to replacement of the previously ruling Democratic Party. Three months after the parliamentary elections, the pro-European block ACUM and the pro-Russian Socialist Party (PSRM) formed an alliance to oppose the country‘s oligarch after protracted negotiations. In spring, the Moldovan parliament elected Maia Sandu of ACUM as the new prime minister in a dramatic vote, against the declared will of the Constitutional Court. After the governing coalition was dismissed by a vote of no confidence in midNovember 2019 following just a short period in office, the Socialist Party (PSRM) and the Democratic Party (PDM) quickly formed a new government under Prime Minister Ion Chicu on 14 November 2019. The uncertain political situation and the many personnel changes in the judicial field also led to delays in IRZ‘s cooperation with Moldova after the elections. It remains to be seen whether and how the new government will continue the reform plans set out by Prime Minister Sandu‘s former government.

Overall Concept

IRZ began its activities in the Republic of Moldova in 2005 and since then has accompanied Moldovan partner institutions during sweeping judicial reforms. IRZ partners in Moldova include the Parliament, the Ministry of Justice, the Supreme Court, the Department of Penitentiary Institutions, the Association of Judges, the Supreme Judicial Council and the Academy of Public Administration. IRZ has also worked with the Constitutional Court in the past.

Administrative law reform has been an important priority of IRZ‘s work in Moldova for a long time. The Administrative Code, which consists of an administrative procedural law and administrative court procedure law section, entered into force on 1 April 2019 after more than ten years of intensive consultations. The Administrative Code provides for the establishment of specialised chambers within the ordinary courts. Implementation of the Code will focus on the basic and further training of future administrative judges, civil servants and students. But there is still a need for long-term counselling in this field.

Counselling on the draft legislation on penitentiary institutions in the Republic of Moldova is another priority. Over the course of various conclaves, IRZ was able to give final advice to the working group on the draft legislation so that it could be submitted to the Moldovan government for appraisal. However, no action has been taken thus far due to the domestic political situation.

In addition, IRZ has provided advice to support reforms of criminal procedure law in Moldova for a long time. But this work has also remained gridlocked for the political reasons outlined above. Due to existing deficits in the application of the law, IRZ also supports approaches to improve judicial procedures and efforts to increase the transparency and quality of court rulings.

Focus of Activity in 2019

Civil and Commercial Law

  • Trilateral working visit to Berlin on consumer protection (for Moldova, Ukraine, Belarus)
  • Preparation of a manual on relational and judgement techniques in civil proceedings Public Law
  • Four consecutive training measures in Chişinău in order to implement the Administrative Code
  • Development of a further training guide on the Administrative Code
  • Opinion on the amendments to the Administrative Code

Criminal Law and Penitentiary Law

  • Written assessment and translation of the new draft legislation on penitentiary institutions
  • Conclave in Chişinău on the reform of the penitentiary law
  • Practical basic training measure for employees of the admission departments that will be established in Goian
  • Continuation of the conclave in Chişinău on the reform of the penitentiary law
  • Initial counselling of the investigation commission and the working group in Chişinău on the methodology of the investigation report
  • Discussion and advice on the interim result of the report by the investigation commission in Chişinău

Projects funded by the European Union

EU Technical Assistance Project: Support to the Police Reform in the Republic of Moldova

Since the end of 2018, IRZ has been involved in the implementation of the project “Support to the Police Reform in the Republic of Moldova“ under the leadership of its Belgian partner B&S. Equipped with a project budget of almost €3.7 million and a term of 38 months, the project aims to align police work in Moldova with EU and international standards. The project work focuses on the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Central Police Directorate as beneficiary authorities.

Aims of the Project

  • Improvement in the efficiency, transparency and professionalism of the police force
  • Support for transparent selection and promotion procedures
  • Improvement in the basic and further training of police officers
  • Improvement in police enforcement
  • Improvement in collaboration between authorities
  • Support for the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Central Police Directorate in public relations and investigations, as well as in internal budgeting and planning procedures

Efforts to improve the police system continued, despite the above-mentioned domestic political turmoil and the resulting multiple changes in the leadership at the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Moldovan Central Police Directorate. Within the framework of the project, around 20 training sessions and 67 workshops have taken place so far, reaching a total of 1,117 participants.

A Moldovan police delegation visited Germany and Austria in November 2019. The participants of the study trip had the opportunity to gain insight into the structure, organisation and work of, among others, the Austrian Police Academy and a Bavarian police headquarters at various working meetings. In the same month, high-ranking officials from the National AntiCorruption Centre, the Public Prosecutor‘s Office for Combating Corruption and other institutions visited the Finnish Ministry of Justice and the General Prosecutor‘s Office as part of a study visit to Finland.

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

The project, which ends in January 2020 after a three-month extension and therefore reached a total term of 27 months, was successfully implemented by IRZ together with the Latvian Ministry of Justice as junior partner. The aim of the project was to support the National Centre for Data Protection of the Republic of Moldova (NCPDP) in bringing personal data protection and privacy in line with the EU legal framework and standards. The project was divided into three components:

  • Harmonisation of national legislation in the field of personal data protection with EU Acquis, including the provisions of the General Data Protection Regulation and EU Directive 2016/680
  • Support of the NCPDP and other relevant institutions in the implementation of the new Data Protection Act
  • Raising awareness within the general public and among persons who verify and process data

The measures initiated last year in the three components were brought to a successful conclusion in the reporting year. Together with the Moldovan partners, the experts involved in the project developed recommendations for the adaptation of various laws and, in workshops and seminars, drew up a strategic plan for the protection of personal data and the further development of the NCPDP until 2024. Not only the NCPDP staff, but also employees of other authorities that deal with the issue of data protection were familiarised with the EU requirements in numerous further training seminars. In this way, the project reached many members of the Moldovan public administration. To gain insight into the practical implementation of data protection in the European partner states, Moldovan parliamentarians visited Germany and Latvia in September. As part of the study trip, they held expert talks at the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection, the German Bundestag, the Office of the Federal Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information, the Federal Ministry of the Interior, for Building and Homeland Affairs, the Latvian Parliament and the Latvian Data Protection Authority.

In 2019, the project partners cooperated closely with the NCPDP to develop materials to raise awareness within the Moldovan population for issues of data protection and personal data and to inform them about their rights in this regard. In this context, the NCPDP‘s website was also redesigned to suit the needs of the target group and to improve its ease of use

Outlook

As soon as it is clear which reforms the new Moldovan government intends to pursue, IRZ will examine whether and how it can continue to support its Moldovan partners in these reforms over 2020. Although the three-phase seminars for training Moldovan legal practitioners on the new Administrative Code were successfully completed, there is likely to be a continuing need for training of the target groups. Provided that the reforms of criminal procedural law and penitentiary law continue, IRZ intends to build on the work that has been done so far. The same applies to the issues of consumer protection and policy to combat corruption. Finally, the training of the staff of the admission departments in the prisons remains a priority as well. Admission departments are an important element of the strategy paper on the development of the penitentiary system until 2020 presented by the Moldovan Ministry of Justice in April 2017.