Moldova has made ‘insufficient progress in anti-corruption reforms regarding lawmakers, judges and prosecutors

Moldova has dragged its feet on introducing reforms that would prevent corruption among judges, lawmakers and prosecutors, the Council of Europe’s anti-graft body said in a report published Tuesday.

The Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) report assesses progress made by the former Soviet republic in implementing recommendations made two years ago.

It says it is regrettable that the government has increasingly used emergency procedures to pass laws, bypassing parliament. It also expressed concern about “repeated failure to systematically ensure adequate time-frames for meaningful public consultation and parliamentary debate.”

It singled out the absence of a code of conduct for members of parliament, particularly rules to deal with conflicts of interest and contacts with lobbyists and third parties. It said clear and objective criteria on lifting parliamentary immunity were not yet in place.

In 2018, the group concluded that only four of 18 recommendations had been implemented since an 2016 evaluation report.

Since then, only one of the 14 pending recommendations, is now considered partially implemented. Nine recommendations remain now only partially implemented and another four, not yet implemented.

GRECO said “progress is clearly insufficient” regarding measures relating to lawmakers.

The group aims to improve the capacity of its members to fight corruption by monitoring their compliance with anti-corruption standards and helps states to identify deficiencies in national anti-cotruption policies

While welcoming that a previous draft law providing for a general vetting of judges has been dropped, the group noted that there was still “a lack of clear, predictable and comprehensive rules on appointment and promotion of judges,” to avoid candidates with integrity risks.

It said a five-year probation period for judges needed to be abolished, and more transparency was needed in the judicial system including for the Superior Council of the Magistracy (SCM) to strengthen the objectivity of disciplinary procedures and measures against judges.

GRECO said the makeup of the SCM should be revised to abolish the ex-officio membership of the justice minister and the prosecutor general.

It said that judicial and lay members of the Council should be elected “following a fair and transparent procedure.”

It concluded that Moldova’s level of compliance remains “globally unsatisfactory” and called on authorities to provide a new progress report by the end of September 2021.

It has 47 Europe member states, Belarus, Kazakhstan and the United States of America.


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