Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom from:
a. Arbitrary Deprivation of Life and other Unlawful or Politically Motivated Killings
There were no reports that the government or its agents committed arbitrary or unlawful killings during the year.
There were no reports of disappearances by or on behalf of government authorities.
c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
While the law prohibits such practices, the human rights ombudsman reported allegations of torture and physical abuse, mainly in detention facilities and psychiatric institutions, continued. There were cases of mistreatment in pretrial detention within police stations, particularly in regional police inspectorates.
During the first half of the year, the antitorture division of the Prosecutor General’s Office received 328 allegations of torture and mistreatment, 113 of which involved investigation officers, 72 other police units, including the Carabinieri (a special police force responsible for public order and infrastructure security) and customs officers, 42 employees of the penitentiary system, 26 traffic police, 13 teachers, eight criminal police, two National Anticorruption Center officers, and one person from the military. Prosecutors initiated 49 criminal cases and sent 15 cases to court.
In most cases, police applied violence during detention as a means of intimidation or discrimination, to obtain evidence and confessions, and to punish alleged offenses. Most of the alleged incidents occurred on the street or in public places, followed by police stations, detention facilities, military units, education facilities, and victims’ homes. Educational facilities registered 12 cases of alleged torture, while military units registered 11 cases. Most incidents involved beatings, followed by physical violence following immobilization, other methods, such as beatings using batons, water bottles, and books, and threats or other forms of psychological abuse. The slight decrease in mistreatment complaints during the year was due to harsher sanctions for torture. Humiliating treatment continued to be a problem in penitentiaries and psychiatric institutions.
The human rights ombudsman reported that most allegations of torture and sub-standard detention conditions occurred at Penitentiary No. 13 in Chisinau, Penitentiary No. 11 in Balti, Penitentiaries No. 15 and No. 4 in Cricova. During the first six months of the year, members of the Ombudsman’s National Mechanism to Prevent Torture made 10 preventative visits to prisons, pretrial detention facilities, boarding schools for children with mental disabilities, and a foster home for persons with disabilities. Most of their observations concerned poor detention conditions, lack of sufficient medical care, signs of mistreatment of detainees, verbal and physical abuse of persons with disabilities placed in foster homes, and insufficient qualified staff at specialized institutions for children with disabilities.
In August 2017 Andrei Braguta was found dead at Penitentiary No.16 while held in pretrial detention. According to preliminary information, while in detention, several inmates beat Braguta with the tacit approval of prison guards, who ignored his pleas for help and medical assistance. The Prosecutor General’s Office detained five persons, including three police officers, on charges of torture, investigated an additional 10 officers suspected of mistreating detainees, and sued 13 police officers. The case was ongoing.
In May the International Secretariat of the World Organization against Torture requested government intervention in the case of Serghei Cosovan, a 46-year-old businessman and former local city councilor, who was put in pretrial detention in Prison No. 16 in Chisinau in September 2017 on charges of fraud and abuse of office. Cosovan was diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver and underwent several surgeries while in detention. He was transferred to house arrest on April 24, and the next day prosecutors filed a new criminal case on the same offense and reimprisoned him. Experts from the Ombudsman’s Office noted Cosovan required an urgent liver transplant and treatment at an accredited public medical institution specializing in severe hepatic disease and liver transplants, but the Department of Penitentiary Institutions was unable to offer the service and had no contracts with an appropriate medical provider to perform the surgery. While in custody, the prison administration refused to pass along the medication provided for Cosovan’s condition.
Investigation of degrading treatment of patients in psycho-neurological institutions was deficient. In most cases, prosecutors refused to investigate complaints submitted by patients, questioning the accuracy of allegations made by persons with mental disabilities. According to the human rights nongovernmental organization (NGO) Promo-Lex, most prosecutors and investigators lacked technical skills to investigate acts of violence or torture in psychiatric institutions. Another problem was the lack of a regulatory framework for the psychological assessment of victims of torture and inhumane or degrading treatment in psychiatric institutions.
According to the Moldovan Institute for Human Rights, residents of residential psychiatric facilities and psycho-neurological institutions continued to be subject to verbal and physical abuse, deprivation of liberty, forced labor, and forced medication. Unconfirmed cases of sexual abuse were reported by persons confined in residential institutions for mentally disabled persons, which are overseen by the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Social Protection.
There were cases of coerced confinement of sane persons in institutions for the mentally ill. In September, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ordered the government to pay 7,000 euros ($8,050) for moral damages to a man who was placed in a mental health facility after hitting the former Minister of Labor, Social protection, and Family in 2014. The victim claimed he had not hit the minister and had only asked a question about pensions at one of the minister’s regional meetings.
Legal proceedings continued in the case of a doctor at an institution in Balti arrested in 2013 for the serial rape, sexual assault, forced abortion, and abuse of patients with mental disabilities. In 2016 a court found the doctor guilty of numerous counts of rape and sentenced him to 13 years in prison. The defendant appealed the ruling, and the case was pending at the Balti Court of Appeal at year’s end. The court postponed the hearings at least 15 times at the lawyers’ request. The doctor remained free pending trial.
According to a report Promo-Lex, there was no mechanism to investigate alleged acts of torture in Transnistria by Transnistrian security forces. Transnistria established an “investigative committee” in 2012. The committee has not initiated any criminal cases for “providing statements under coercion by means of violence, humiliation, or torture.” Promo-Lex noted that authorities perpetrated most inhuman and degrading treatment in the Transnistrian region in order to obtain self-incriminating confessions.
Prison and Detention Center Conditions
Conditions in most prisons and detention centers, including those in Transnistria, remained harsh and amounted to inhuman and degrading treatment owing to poor sanitation, lack of privacy, barred or insufficient access to outside walks, and a lack of facilities adapted to persons with disabilities. Several detention facilities underwent minor repair during the year.
Promo-LEX noted that the ECHR concluded in an October ruling that courts issuing arrest warrants in the Transnistrian region “were part of a system that did not respect legal provisions,” especially because of detentions going beyond legal norms and examination of appeals to extend detention terms in the absence of the defendants. Quoting detainees from the region, Promo-LEX said detention conditions were dangerous to life and health.
Physical Conditions: Prisons and detention centers were overcrowded. Human rights NGOs asserted that the abuse and increased use of preventative arrests combined with insufficient application of alternative noncustodial measures contributed to the overcrowding of detention facilities. As of January, the total number of persons in incarceration was 7,635, of which 5,539 were inmates in prisons and 2,096 were held in pretrial detention centers. The official maximum capacity was 5,221 inmates for prisons and 1.514 for pretrial detention centers. Human rights monitors asserted that the official maximum capacities exceeded required international standards. Thus, incarceration numbers reflected overcrowding and resulted in access to only a minimum number of sanitation facilities. The obsolete infrastructure in most prisons did not allow for a separation of prisoners according to minimum required standards, which led to continued violence among inmates. Placement of minors with adult inmates, particularly at Prison no.13 continued to be a problem.
During the first nine months of the year, members of the Council for Prevention of Torture, as part of the national mechanism to prevent torture (NMPT), conducted 11 preventive visits to one prison, six pretrial detention facilities, two residential institutions for children with mental disabilities, and one foster home for persons with disabilities. The main deficiencies found included: pretrial detention exceeding the legally required 72 hours (in some cases, up to several months); poor detention conditions in most pretrial detention facilities; deficient food and medical services; overcrowding and poor detention conditions; poor sanitary conditions; failure to separate minor detainees from adults; insufficient food; deficient medical care for detainees; and a lack of accessibility for persons with disabilities. The NMPT also identified a shortage of personnel in most residential institutions, a lack of specialized personnel including medical staff for the institutions hosting persons with disabilities, deficient healthcare, verbal and physical abuse by personnel against persons with disabilities, involuntary confinement of patients, and a lack of a complaint filing mechanism.
As in previous years, reported detention conditions at Penitentiary No.13 in Chisinau were the worst. Several high-profile detainees held in the penitentiary complained of detention in basement cells that did not meet national or international standards. Allegations of torture and inhuman treatment increased. In multiple cases, the ECHR found that detention conditions in Penitentiary No. 13 were contrary to the European Convention on Human Rights. Cells were overcrowded (in some cells, up to 16 inmates were placed in an area measuring 258 square feet), unhygienic, and lacked ventilation, natural light, or permanent access to water for personal hygiene. Despite numerous calls from the ombudsman and international organizations to close the penitentiary due to inhuman detention conditions, authorities reported they were not able to find an alternative detention facility due to financial constraints.
According to the ombudsman, the situation in police station detention facilities did not change during the year. The office reported inadequate conditions for food distribution; inadequate sanitary conditions in the showers; inadequate health-care facilities; lack of pillows, mattresses, clean bed linen, and clothing; and a lack of a mechanism to file complaints. Detention facilities, located mostly in the basements of police stations, generally lacked access to natural light, adequate ventilation, and sewage systems. Inmates had a daily food budget of approximately 20 lei ($1.20). Human rights NGOs also noted facility staff did not provide pretrial detainees with meals on the days of their court hearings–a potentially severe problem for detainees transported long distances to stand trial, which in some cases meant they received no food for a day.
Health care was inadequate at most penitentiaries. While government regulations require authorities to separate individuals suspected of suffering from tuberculosis from the other detainees, authorities reportedly co-located individuals with various diseases with persons with an unconfirmed diagnosis of tuberculosis, potentially exposing them to infection. Most penitentiaries lacked appropriate facilities for persons with disabilities, which led to inhuman and degrading treatment. Promo-Lex asserted that 30 prisoners died each year due to inadequate medical care.
Police mistreatment of detainees remained a major problem in Transnistria. Detention conditions in the region did not improve.
Administration: Internal investigation procedures in the penitentiary system remained weak, and detainees continued to have restricted access to complaint mechanisms. While detainees generally had the right to submit complaints to judicial authorities, detainees reported censorship and retaliatory punishment by prison personnel or other inmates before or after filing complaints.
Prisoners in the initial period of their sentences and those serving life sentences did not have the right to long-term visits. Access for lawyers to visit their clients in Penitentiary No. 13 improved.
Attorneys for detainees in politically sensitive cases reported difficulties and restrictions in accessing their clients. In one case, attorneys for businessperson Veaceslav Platon, who was sentenced to 30 years in prison for fraud and money laundering, complained of limited access to their client and multiple restrictions imposed by the prison administration. During a September visit to Platon, the attorneys reported their client was bruised from beatings by prison staff and requested the prison administration call an ambulance. They claimed the administration refused and instead had a security squad drag Platon out of the meeting room by force, and masked security guards used physical violence on them when they tried to intervene on their client’s behalf. One of the lawyers was seriously injured and taken to the emergency room. The lawyers filed complaints with the prosecutor’s office and the National Administration of Penitentiaries. Their requests remain unanswered as of the time of this report. In addition to reported beatings, Veaceslav Platon complained of inhuman and degrading treatment while in detention including denial of access to potable water, restricted access to his lawyers, and no access to his family for the past two years.
Reliable information on the administration of prisons in the Transnistria region was generally not available. Transnistrian authorities reported approximately 3,352 detainees in the region.
Independent Monitoring: The government permitted some independent monitoring of prison conditions by local and international human rights observers, and prison officials generally allowed observers to interview inmates in private. Attempts by Amnesty International, the ombudsman, and human rights NGOs to visit detainees held in connection with the country’s 2014 high-profile bank fraud case were unsuccessful.
Improvements: During the year the National Administration of Penitentiaries launched a pilot project and installed video-conferencing equipment in two of the 17 detention facilities in the country. The equipment will allow online court hearings of prison inmates within penitentiary institutions, reducing personnel and transportation costs, and ensuring better security of court hearing participants.
There were no reports of any independent monitoring of detention facilities in the Transnistrian region during the year.
d. Arbitrary Arrest or Detention
The constitution and law prohibit arbitrary arrest and detention and provides for the right of any person to challenge the lawfulness of his or her arrest or detention in court, but authorities sometimes failed to respect these requirements.
According to Promo-Lex, the police continued the practice of routinely detaining persons sought by unrecognized Transnistrian authorities and transferring them to Transnistrian law enforcement bodies without due process. The country’s courts previously ruled the 1999 agreement establishing such cooperation to be unconstitutional, but the practice continued informally.
In Transnistria, authorities reportedly engaged with impunity in the arbitrary arrest and detention of individuals. There were cases of Transnistrian authorities detaining individuals on fabricated charges without due process.
On July 27, in Transnistria, Ghenadie Kuzmiciov, a former head of customs and internal affairs for the region, was abducted. The human rights NGO Promo-Lex and Kuzmiciov’s lawyer stated during a press conference that Kuzmiciov’s car was stopped by a police unit on his way into Chisinau. According to reports, four unknown persons removed Kuzmiciov from his vehicle and placed him into a separate car without interference from the police. Five days later, Transnistrian authorities confirmed Kuzmiciov was in their custody. Kuzmiciov has been charged by Transnistrian authorities for controlling contraband as part of an organized group and faced 10 years in prison. The case was ongoing at the time of this report.
ROLE OF THE POLICE AND SECURITY APPARATUS
The national police force is the primary law enforcement body and is responsible for internal security, public order, traffic, migration, and border enforcement. The police force has two divisions, criminal and public order police. It reports to the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The agencies under the ministry are the General Police Inspectorate, Border Police, the Civil Protection Service, Carabinieri, and the Bureau for Migration and Asylum. During the year, customs and border police dismissed several officials for abuse and conducting unwarranted searches at the country’s border crossing points.
A 2016 law reformed the structure of the Prosecutor General’s Office and governs the activity of two specialized prosecution offices: the anticorruption prosecution office and the prosecutor’s office on combatting organized crime and special cases (e.g., terrorism and torture). In line with the law, parliament changed the process for appointing the prosecutor general: the Superior Council of Prosecutors nominates candidates for prosecutor general, and the president appoints one of the candidates to a single seven-year mandate. Previously, parliament had this appointment authority.
The government made little progress in holding officials accountable for the security force crackdown on postelection demonstrations in 2009 that resulted in three deaths. In October, the ECHR ruled that the country violated Article 3 of the convention because the government was slow to investigate and only imposed mild punishments against police officers who tortured protesters in April 2009. The case involved two young women who were forced to strip naked and perform sit-ups in front of a police officer at the General Police Office in Chisinau. Prosecutors initiated a criminal investigation into three police officers allegedly involved in the case nine months after the incident. The criminal investigation of one of the police officers was terminated after his actions were downgraded to an administrative offense. The other two officers received five-year suspensions.
Overall, prosecutors opened 71 criminal cases against security force personnel. The Prosecutor General’s Office finalized and sent to court 27 cases against 46 police officers. As of September, the judges issued irreversible decisions in 23 cases against 36 law enforcement employees. The courts acquitted 36 police officers, issued four administrative fines, 10 suspended sentences, and two imprisonment sentences against three police officers. Five criminal cases against 11 law enforcement employees were still pending in courts. In January the Supreme Court of Justice dismissed the prosecutors’ appeal of an earlier ruling that acquitted a former head of the Chisinau Public Order Department and his deputy. The two were accused of abuse of power for allegedly beating a former member of parliament in 2009.
ARREST PROCEDURES AND TREATMENT OF DETAINEES
The law allows judges to issue arrest warrants based on evidence from prosecutors. Authorities must promptly inform detainees of the reasons for their arrest and describe the charges against them. Authorities may detain suspects without charge for 72 hours. In a 2016-17 study on procedural guarantees in the pretrial stage of the criminal process, Amnesty International found serious violations of procedural norms during police apprehension and pretrial detention. According to the study, in most cases authorities summoned persons to the police station without a citation or took them into police custody without informing them of the charges against them. In many cases, authorities forced or intimidated detained individuals into providing confessions in the absence of a lawyer. In some cases, questioning in police custody exceeded the legally allowed three hours. Other violations included purposeful altering of protocols, detention in police custody that exceeded legal time limits, and denial of the right to a lawyer or communication with relatives.
Once charged, a detainee may be released pending trial. The law provides for bail, but authorities generally did not use it due to a lack of practical mechanisms for implementation. In lieu of confinement, the courts can also implement judicial controls in the form of house arrest or travel restrictions. The law provides safeguards against arbitrary use of pretrial detention and requires noncustodial alternatives wherever possible. Judges disproportionally used noncustodial alternative arrest mechanisms in cases with political implications.
Detainees have the right to a defense attorney, but at times authorities restricted this right. In some cases, authorities did not grant detainees access to a lawyer until 24 hours after detention. The government required the local bar association to provide representation to indigent defendants, but the government frequently delayed reimbursements of legal fees. Indigent defendants often did not have adequate counsel.
In June, representatives from the Union of Lawyers organized a rally in front of the Court of Appeals and criticized violations of the right to freedom and safety, inhuman detention, and excessive arrests applied by prosecutors and judges.
Pretrial Detention: The law permits pretrial detention for up to 30 days. The courts may extend pretrial detention upon the request of prosecutors, submitted at the end of each 30-day period, for up to 12 months, depending on the severity of the charges. Pretrial detention lasting from several months to several years was common. In 2016 the Constitutional Court ruled that law enforcement agencies could not hold citizens in preventative detention for more than 30 days with a warrant or for more than 12 months cumulatively. The court also ruled that court decisions imposing 90 days of preventative arrest at a time were illegal.
According to a Promo-Lex report, police made arrests during the year in violation of domestic law and international norms. Preventative arrest and detention, when detainees are most vulnerable to torture and mistreatment, were applied excessively. The rate of acceptance of prosecutors’ requests to apply preventative arrest exceeded 80 percent in 2017.
Detainee’s Ability to Challenge Lawfulness of Detention before a Court: The law provides that persons who are arrested or detained are entitled to challenge the legal basis or arbitrary nature of their detention in court and obtain prompt release and compensation if found to have been unlawfully detained. Authorities sometimes failed to respect these provisions.
e. Denial of Fair Public Trial
While the law provides for an independent judiciary, instances of government officials failing to respect judicial independence remained a problem. Official pressure on judges and corruption in the justice sector continued to be serious problems. Lack of independence in the judiciary was prevalent with allegations that some judges made rulings based on political orders or out of fear of retaliation. Judges often failed to assign cases randomly, as required by law.
Selective justice continued to be a problem. Lawyers for the former mayor of Chisinau, Dorin Chirtoaca, who was indicted in a 2015 parking lot procurement case, claimed that multiple violations of judicial procedures occurred during his trial throughout the year, including hearings held behind closed doors, barring lawyers’ access to case files and evidence, and exceeding the 12-month limit on how long a person can be held in court custody before either their release or receiving a final court sentence.
In June the courts issued a decision invalidating the results of the Chisinau mayoral election won by a political opposition figure, drawing criticism of the judicial process from civil society, local and international organizations, and EU officials. International and local observers considered the courts’ decision politically motivated, nontransparent, and illegitimate.
According to the World Bank report, Moldova–Improving Access to Justice: From Resources to Results, released in September, over 60 percent of citizens and businesses believed that ordinary citizens and businesspeople were unlikely to get a fair trial. Many of the respondents also believed that justice was selective and affected by corruption.
During the year the public and the press did not have access to court proceedings in several high-profile cases involving present and former government and city officials, and bank officials. Lawyers complained of violations of defendants’ rights to a fair public trial. Following a visit to the country in June, the UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Michel Forst, noted that lawyers faced politically motivated criminal charges or were threatened each time they defended people with opinions dissenting from authorities. A number of lawyers claimed authorities had opened criminal charges against them on fabricated charges.
Inspector judges are responsible for enforcing a judicial code of ethics and investigating cases of judicial misconduct or ethical breaches. They report to the Superior Council of Magistrates. In 2017 the disciplinary board of the council initiated 55 disciplinary actions and applied seven sanctions, including one reprimand, five warnings, and one dismissal. In 47 cases, the board stopped the investigation and dismissed the alleged violations.
Media representatives and NGOs were concerned about limitations on access to data on the single courts’ national portal developed by the Ministry of Justice’s Agency for Court Administration. Civil society and journalists complained that, because there was no search option, they could not find the names of those involved in court cases, nor could they determine who adjudicated or prosecuted the case.
In 2017 appeals court judge Domnica Manole was dismissed by a presidential decree following a Superior Council of Magistrates decision declaring her unfit to serve, based upon an advisory opinion by the Security and Intelligence Service (SIS). Legal experts asserted that removal of a judge based upon a SIS opinion was illegal and a signal to judges that, should they oppose the government, they could be excluded from the judiciary. In December 2017 the Constitutional Court ruled the dismissal of a judge based on an SIS opinion unconstitutional, but on November 19, the Supreme Court of Justice rejected Manole’s wrongful dismissal claim, finding in favor of the Superior Court Magistrates. Separately, in 2016 Manole faced criminal prosecution on charges of issuing an illegal ruling. She had overturned a Central Electoral Commission decision to block a referendum to amend the constitution. Legal experts criticized the case against her as solely based on her decision later being overturned by a higher court rather than any direct evidence of corruption. The Supreme Court of Justice denied Manole’s appeal and allowed the criminal case against her to continue. Throughout the year, the judiciary postponed hearings multiple times, and, as of November, her case was unresolved.
Although the law presumes the innocence of defendants in criminal cases, authorities did not always respect this presumption. Judges’ remarks occasionally jeopardized the presumption of innocence.
Defendants have the right to be informed promptly and in detail of the charges against them and to a fair and public trial without undue delay. Prosecutors present cases to a judge or panel of judges. Defendants have the right to a lawyer and to attend proceedings, confront witnesses, and present evidence. The law requires the government to provide an attorney to indigent defendants. The practice of appointing temporary defense lawyers without allowing them to prepare adequately was common and undermined the right to legal assistance.
The law prescribes high standards for pro bono legal aid attorneys and defendants’ access to attorneys. Law enforcement, however, did not always enforce these provisions. Legal experts and defendants said in most cases, pro bono legal aid attorneys were poorly prepared and not motivated to work on cases. Defendants can request postponement of a hearing if attorneys need additional time for preparation. Interpretation is provided upon request and was generally available. Judges can delay hearings if additional time is needed to find interpreters for certain uncommon languages. Defendants may refuse to provide evidence against themselves, unless they plead guilty and the judge reviews and endorses their guilty.
The law provides a right to appeal convictions to a higher court on matter of facts and law.
In Transnistria, there were credible reports that authorities disregarded trial procedures and denied defendants a fair trial.
POLITICAL PRISONERS AND DETAINEES
In 2017 the Riscani court found Grigore Petrenco, leader of the opposition Our Home Moldova Party, and five other activists guilty of organizing and leading mass disorder accompanied by violence. The court fined the defendants and issued them suspended prison sentences ranging from three to four-and-a-half years. The defendants declared the ruling was illegal and politically motivated because the court had qualified participation in peaceful antigovernment protests in 2015 as mass disorder. The group appealed the ruling at the Court of Appeals and remained under judicial review at year’s end. Amnesty International Moldova stated the court ruling was biased, violated the right to a free trial, freedom of peaceful assembly, and freedom of association. In August 2017 Petrenco fled to Germany and requested political asylum, which was granted to him and his family.
On June 11, in Transnistria, the leader of the Communist Party and opposition figure, Oleg Horjan, was arrested by the region’s de facto authorities after being stripped of his immunity as a member of the Transnistrian “Supreme Soviet,” the secessionist region’s legislature. Charges against Horjan included: organizing illegal protests; resisting and use of force against Transnistrian law enforcement; and insulting a Transnistrian “official.” On November 2, the Tiraspol City Court sentenced Horjan to four years and six months in prison and fined the equivalent of $394.
CIVIL JUDICIAL PROCEDURES AND REMEDIES
The law allows citizens to seek damages in civil courts for human rights violations. Under the constitution, the government is liable when authorities violate a person’s rights by administrative means, fail to reply in a timely manner to an application for relief, or commit misconduct during a prosecution. Judgments awarded in such cases were often small and not enforced. Once all domestic avenues for legal remedy are exhausted, individuals may appeal cases involving the government’s alleged violation of rights provided under the European Convention on Human Rights to the ECHR. Citizens who have exhausted all available domestic remedies may also submit a written communication to the UN Human Rights Committee.
While the government declared a zero tolerance policy toward torture, victims of alleged torture frequently lacked access to effective civil judicial remedies, especially in cases involving mistreatment in penal institutions.
A mediation law establishes an alternative mechanism for voluntarily resolving civil and criminal cases and sets forth rules for professional mediators, but the country lacked an implementation mechanism.
In April, the Chisinau Court of Appeals ruled in favor of a former detainee who complained of inhuman and degrading treatment while being held at Penitentiary No.13. The Court ordered the Ministry of Justice to pay the plaintiff 120,000 lei ($7,180) in moral damages. This was one of the few reported cases where a court ordered an equitable remedy for violation of the European Convention on Human Rights.
At the end of 2017, there were 1,348 cases pending against the country in the ECHR. In 2017 the court delivered 16 judgments against the state and ordered the government to pay over 107,348 euros ($123,000) in damages. The government generally complied with ECHR orders promptly.
The country endorsed the Terezin Declaration in 2009 and the Guidelines and Best Practices in 2010. Although the law provides for restitution of private property confiscated during the “successive fascist and Soviet regimes” to politically repressed or exiled persons, it does not apply to property confiscated from minority groups. The government has not enacted any laws concerning restitution of communal property.
In September 2017, the Supreme Court of Justice ruled in favor of the Jewish community in dismissing an appeal by the Agency of Public Property and upholding a Court of Appeals decision, which rejected the agency’s claim on the Rabbi Tsirilson Synagogue and Magen David Yeshiva ruins, both purchased by the Jewish community in 2010. In May the Jewish community submitted a request to renew a building permit with the Chisinau Mayor’s Office to renovate the property.
f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence
The constitution prohibits arbitrary interference with privacy, family, home or correspondence unless necessary to ensure state security, economic welfare or public order, or to prevent crimes. During the year government agents often failed to respect these prohibitions.
In August, a number of politically affiliated media outlets published excerpts from the private email correspondence of several opposition party leaders. Unconfirmed reports of illegal wiretaps of the telephones of leaders; surveillance; threats against family members; and intimidation against regional representatives of opposition parties increased during the year.