The Goods of 2017 in Justice and Rule of Law

 

 

With highs and lows, 2017 is nearing its end. It is a good time for conclusions. On this occasion, IPN has gathered good thought from all over the globe, this time only good thoughts, from decision-makers and from those on the receiving end of these decisions. What good has come of 2017? This is the question we posed to the people who have accepted to join us in our pursuit of the good in our surroundings and in the events that affect us. Although many things do not follow our wishes, winners are the people and societies that learn to see challenges and lesser things as extra opportunities to get involved and make things better. For each of the topics we approach, we provide rankings that reflect the opinions of those who developed them. Read further for the good things 2017 has brought to the fields of Justice and Rule of Law.

Top-5 from the Legal Resources Center in Moldova:

1. Cohesion of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) on matters of Justice, Human Rights, and Rule of Law.

“CSOs have always cooperated and communicated within their fields of work, but in 2017 cohesion among independent CSOs has been felt across the board, working towards stopping the promotion and adoption of certain legislative initiatives dangerous to the Moldovan democracy and rule of law. For example, the adoption of a Bill that imposed excessive interdictions and requirements on the activity of CSOs. The civil associations Bill, initially drafted by a designated work group, was in accordance with the best international practices and standards. Consequently, the Minister of Justice came in with a series of additions contrary to international standards, which put in jeopardy the entire associations sector and the whole of Moldovan democracy. At that point, over 160 CSOs had signed an appeal for the authorities to renounce the initiative of limiting CSO activity.”

2. Stopping the adoption process for the Law on capital liberalization and financial incentives.

“Through the joint effort of CSOs and development partners, who have formulated recommendations, we thwarted the adoption of this Law, which would have legalized certain illegal actions and have compromised efforts to fight corruption and strengthen the rule of law in Moldova.”

3. Confirmation of the rule on publishing the names of the parties involved in judicial decisions.

“At the beginning of 2017, the portal for courts of law removed the option to search judicial decisions by names of the parties involved. Around that, discussions started on amending the Regulations of the Superior Court of Magistrates (CSM) with regards to publishing judicial decisions. Certain authorities were insisting on the anonymity of all judicial rulings, i.e. to exclude individual names. A sizeable number of journalists, media institutions and NGOs requested introducing a rule make those names public, with clearly justified exceptions. After several months of debates, in October 2017, the CSM adopted the rule on making names public, with certain exceptions. The CSM President played a major role in the adoption of this solution, having presented the regulation draft.”

Top-5 from the Ministry of Justice:

1. Amendments to the Civil Procedure Code – introducing the simplified procedure, the digital file, preparing the grounds for trial.

2. Amendments to the Civil Code, which is under current assessment by the Government. A most complex set of amendments to the CC, raising it to the best of international standards.

3. New National Action Plan on Human Rights.

4. Simplification of the Contravention procedure, part of another complex document, soon to be submitted for promotion to the Government.

5. Amendments to the enforcement of criminal sentences.

3. Programs accessible to people with sight and hearing deficiencies

“Starting with 1 September 2017, TV and radio channels must offer one daily broadcast, between 17.00 and 23.00, adapted to the needs of people with visual or hearing disabilities. Sign language should be used for breaking news, emergency broadcasts, and public security and health programs. Weather forecasts are offered in both video and audio format. Another novelty is that, starting 1 January 2018, TV channels will ensure access for people with hearing and sight deficiencies during election campaigns. The same decision provides for the use of broadcasting to promote a positive image of people with disabilities. Starting with this year, the Broadcasting Council will award programs that provide access for people with hearing and sight deficiencies.”

Mass media outlets united against great common dangers

“At the beginning of the year, when journalist Mariana Rață was under the threat of criminal trial, for having used data on a former official, which he had deemed as private, journalists united into a campaign that had over 20 information outlets posting only de-personalized news for one day, thus proving what happens when official documents are made impersonal and public information is restricted. In the second half of the year, journalists have united in fighting the elimination of names from the search engines of judicial courts. After protests, public debates and statements, the Superior Council of Magistrates has adopted a rule that eliminates the depersonalization of judicial rulings. By the end of the year judicial search engines had reverted the variety of options for informational searches.”