To improve things in the justice system in Moldova, small steps should be taken, but they must be completed and the political class plays a role here. Political influence should be reduced strictly to the legislative process, the quality of laws, not to promotion and assessment of judges.
“We should not have the feeling that we, as litigants or as beneficiaries of justice, have a pocket justice. There should be strict delimitation between politics and justice,” UN Committee Against Torture member Ana Racu stated in an interview for IPN.
According to the expert, polls often show that the political class interferes in justice and this interference made some of the judges docile. The appointment for a five-year term followed by assessment and reappointment also made the judges docile, obedient, convenient and submissive. This makes them unwilling to excel as they know there is that ceiling that keeps them in suspense.
Ana Racu believes there should be very clear criteria defined in the legislation for taking up the post and for being later promoted, by eliminating the five-year period that makes the judges obedient. The subjective assessment criteria used during years by the justice chiefs should be removed. These chiefs should play a managerial role and should not be directly involved in the assessment of judges.
The legislation on the integrity of judges should function well. “If you cannot prove how you gained your property, you should leave. It’s simple. On the other hand, there are more voices in justice now who want the justice system to be improved from inside. This critical mass of people can contribute to such an improvement,” stated Ana Racu.
She noted that in case of detention, the person can count or cannot count on equitable justice. From legal viewpoint, there are no obstacles to the access to justice. As regards the quality of justice, some of the decisions taken by judges can dissatisfy. According to the Public Opinion Barometer, the population trusts justice to a very small extent and this is regrettable as this points to particular perceptions existing in society and also demotivates the judges. The image of justice is also influenced by the effort made by judges in the interaction with the press and the general public. The judges are often to blame for the erroneous interpretations or for the fact that too great emphases are placed on some of the cases as they do not clearly explain the situation.
The interview was held as part of IPN Agency’s project “Exposing Injustice Though Multimedia”. Ana Racu is a human rights and communication expect. She held a number of posts in the NGO sector, the UNDP and the Department of Penitentiary Institutions. In 2011-2013, she represented Moldova at the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture. Currently, she is a member of the UN Committee Against Torture.