Back Council of Europe anti-torture Committee publishes report on Moldova

The Council of Europe's Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) has today published the report on its most recent visit to Moldova, which took place from 21 to 27 July 2010, together with the response of the Moldovan Government. Both documents have been made public with the agreement of the Moldovan authorities.
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The initial objective of the visit was to re-examine the situation in prison and police establishments in the Transnistrian region (*) of the Republic of Moldova. However, on the spot, the delegation was not allowed to speak to remand prisoners in private. Such a restriction contradicts one of the fundamental characteristics of the preventive mechanism embodied by the CPT; consequently, the delegation interrupted its visit to the region. The CPT indicates in the report that it is prepared to resume the visit as soon as the power to interview all categories of detained persons in private is again guaranteed, as had been the case during the Committee’s previous visits to the region. In their response, the Moldovan authorities state that they are ready to take action to ensure that any future visits to the region take place without restrictions.

The delegation visited Penitentiary establishments Nos. 8 and 12 in Bender, which both operate under the authority of the Moldovan Ministry of Justice but are located in an area controlled by the Transnistrian de facto authorities. In its report, the CPT recommends that the Moldovan authorities pursue their strategy to combat inter-prisoner violence and intimidation, in particular at Penitentiary establishment No. 12 where the delegation found that prison staff had been exploiting the informal prisoner hierarchy to impose order. The delegation also found, at Penitentiary establishment No. 8, that the problems arising from the decision of the de facto municipal authorities some years ago to cut the establishment’s access to the water and electricity mains, and to disconnect it from the city’s sewage disposal system, have not been fully resolved; the CPT calls upon the Moldovan authorities to develop an effective negotiation strategy with the de facto authorities so that the penitentiary establishments in Bender return to as near normality as possible. In their response, the Moldovan authorities provide detailed information on steps taken and envisaged to fight against violence and intimidation in prison, including at Penitentiary establishment No. 12, and indicate that the supply of basic services to Bender penitentiary establishments will be constantly monitored by the competent bodies of the Republic of Moldova.

The delegation also re-examined the treatment of persons detained by the police. Several detained persons met indicated that the behaviour of police officers had considerably improved as compared with only a few years ago. Moreover, the dismissal of a number of police officers and related criminal investigations following the events of April 2009 (**) had apparently had a major deterrent effect. However, the delegation did gather information about a number of cases of alleged police ill-treatment, some of a very serious nature. In response to the Committee’s recommendations, the Moldovan authorities state that detailed action plans have been drawn up to improve professional training for the police and reinforce procedural safeguards against ill-treatment. The Moldovan authorities also indicate that police staff have received a clear message of “zero tolerance” of ill-treatment and that an Anti-Torture Division has been set up within the Prosecution Service.

The CPT's visit report and the Moldovan Government's response are available in French and in the official language of the Republic of Moldova on the Committee's website:

The Committee will review the treatment of persons deprived of their liberty in Moldova during a periodic visit scheduled for 2011.

(*) This region unilaterally declared itself an independent republic in the early 1990s.
(**) See the CPT’s report on the 2009 visit to Moldova and the Government’s response.