The Action against Corruption in the Republic of Moldova presented the national authorities and civil society organizations with the results of its assessment on the composition and operation of the Superior Council of Magistracy (CSM) at an online workshop on 24 February 2020. The event brought together representatives of the Superior Council of Magistracy, Ministry of Justice, judiciary, civil society organizations and cooperation partners.
Ms Hanne Juncher, Executive Secretary of GRECO, H.E. Mr. Derek J. Hogan, US Ambassador to Moldova and Ms Luiza Gafton, Acting Chair of the CSM addressed the participants in the opening session of this roundtable.
In her address Ms Juncher, noted that the Council of Europe continues to follow closely the reform processes under way in the Republic of Moldova. The draft constitutional amendments currently under discussion in Parliament represent a positive step in bringing the role of the CSM closer to international standards. She expressed her hope that these amendments will be adopted soon and fully implemented.
Ambassador Hogan noted that the assessment report sets forth important recommendations in several areas, focused on CSM and the judiciary, that offer a valuable opportunity to reenergize efforts in making tangible progress on long-pending GRECO recommendations that would send a strong message about Moldova’s commitment to countering corruption and advancing European integration.
In subsequent sessions representatives of Moldovan institutions provided their views on the presented recommendations mentioning the need of political will in enhancing the competences and role of the CSM.
The event placed emphasis to analysis and solutions based on international standards regarding election procedure of judge members and lay-members of the CSM, mixed composition of judges and non-judges within the CSM, exclusion of the ex-officio members (the Minister of Justice, the Prosecutor General and the President of the Supreme Court of Justice), and the necessity for an anti-deadlock mechanism to avoid a stalemate during the election of non-judge members of the CSM by the Parliament.
The Council of Europe expert, Mr Felipe Garcia Marques, reiterated that several recommendations provided in the assessment report should be considered as transitory measures, emphasizing that the authorities could reconsider them when the Moldovan judiciary achieves a higher degree of internal independence.
The event served as an effective platform for the Council of Europe and the Moldovan counterparts to discuss ways of consolidating the functioning of the CSM and streamlining its composition in a way that would be in line with GRECO’s recommendations and with the international standards applicable to judicial councils.
This activity was organized within the framework of the “Action against corruption in the Republic of Moldova”, funded by the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs of the US Department of State and implemented by the Council of Europe.