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Application of Legislation, Criminal Cases, Court Rulings

Application of Legislation, Criminal Cases, Court Rulings

European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) held a round table in Chisinau in October, where it presented its report and recommendations on ratification of Protocol No. 12 to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and the European Charter of Regional and Minority Languages. ECRI noted that Moldova still lacks objective statistical data that could be used to measure racism and racial discrimination. It was proposed to involve ethnic minorities in the decision-making process regarding school optimisation and take necessary measures to compensate for the closure of schools.

The law “On Ensuring Equality”, which came into force in January 2013, did not correspond to international standards. It made no direct reference to sexual orientation and gender identity as one of the prohibited grounds for discrimination, except in the workplace. Police failed to investigate several cases of assault on LGBT activists.

On January 10, parliamentary faction of the Democratic Party stated that they would come forward with a legislative initiative to punish anti-state calls. This was stated in an official response of the Speaker of Parliament, leader of the Democratic Party, Marian Lupu to the statement of People's Assembly of Gaugazia on the attitude to the requirement of the "Council of Unification of the Republic of Moldova and Romania" to change the status of Gagauzia. "The status of the autonomous territorial unit, is not only regulated by the relevant organic law, but also secured and guaranteed by Art. 111 of the Constitution of Moldova. Note that neither the president nor the prime minister, let alone Speaker of the Parliament, do not intend to consider the possibility of changing the special legal status of Gagauzia, as well as the status of the Republic of Moldova", - stressed the speaker.

On January 16, at a session of the government, the bill of the Liberal Party was rejected. The bill mandated the knowledge of state language for employees of public sector enterprises or enterprises with a predominance of state capital, as well as a ban on the employment in such enterprise of people, who do not speak the state language. Minister of Labour, Social Protection and Family Valentina Buliga said: "I think we need to create conditions so that everyone knows the official language, but we cannot force people to do it through the Labour Code". Minister Buliga was supported by the Prime Minister Vladimir Filat. He pointed out that it is necessary to clearly separate the civil servants, which the law requires to know the state language, and other employees of enterprises regardless of their form of ownership.

On the other hand, on February 28, The Ministry of Justice had issued a document on registering the representation of the international human rights movement "World Without Nazism" in the Republic of Moldova.

On June 4, Constitutional Court issued a verdict on the Communist Party’s claim. The ban on political use of the “hammer and sickle” symbols was recognised as unconstitutional. Changes to the administrative code, providing for punishments for the use of soviet symbols, on which the activists of Moldovan Communist Youth were already charged, were also cancelled. Decision has been made despite the "independent opinion" of the two Constitutional Court judges Igor Dolya and Alexandru Tenasa. On June 24, Court of Chenkany dropped all charges against three people, who were earlier fined for the use of “hammer and sickle” symbol.

On June 6, Chisinau Appeals Chamber ordered the Ministry of Justice to register the association «Eu sint moldovan – eu graiesc moldoveneste» (“I am Moldovan – I speak Moldovan”). Ministry of Justice had earlier refused to register this non-governmental organisation, under the pretext that NGO’s name contradicts the law on the use of languages on Moldovan territory. In October 2013, the Council for Prevention and Elimination of Discrimination and Promotion Equality commenced its work in Moldova.

On October 11, the Moldovan Parliament, despite the protests of the Orthodox Church, lifted the ban on the dissemination of information and taking actions aimed at "propaganda... of relationships that are not related to marriage and the family in accordance with the Constitution and the Family Code". At the same time, act passed in 2003 the Law on Combating Extremist Activity, which defines it as including activities aimed at inciting hatred towards minorities, is not very much applied. When it comes to hate crimes the law enforcement officers continue to go only by the Criminal Code, and not by the law, which still has not clearly defined the liability, and not one person has been brought to justice in accordance with the law.

It is noteworthy that the Ministry of Dducation actively promotes the removal of the curriculum of subjects related to the history of national minorities, which contradicts the concept of national policy and promotes assimilation of minorities. However, in response to the decision of the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Moldova to exclude the subjects "History, tradition and culture of the Gagauz people," and "History, tradition and culture of the Bulgarian and Ukrainian peoples" from the curriculum of Gagauzia, the authorities reported that they would not comply with this decision, and these subjects will continue to be taught in the schools of Gagauzia, in accordance with the previously approved program.

On June 9, court ordered the Bishop of Balti Markell to publicly apologise to LGBT citizens and pay 10 000 lei in moral damages for his xenophobic statements.

Facts that can only be described as the direct connivance of xenophobia were recorded, too. On March 15, Balti city court had dismissed the case against a Russophobic teacher Victor Kravchenko, “famous” for public insults and threats against the Russian-speaking students. Judge Elena Grumeza rejected the claim, because she did not find anything contrary to the law in Kravchenko’s words and actions. However, on April 23, it turned out that only one out of several cases against Kravchenko was dismissed.

In 2014, the police did not properly investigate several cases of attacks against activists defending the rights of LGBT people.

In 2020, the police, prosecutors and the judiciary benefited from the Council of Europe regional project “Improving Access to Justice for Victims of Discrimination, Hate Crimes and Hate Crime in the Eastern Partnership” (February 1, 2019 – December 31, 2021) funded by the European Union. In particular, the project dealt with the field of data collection on hate crimes, including the necessary IT solutions, based on the “Situational analysis of the collection of disaggregated data on discrimination, hate crimes and hate speech in the Republic of Moldova”, prepared under the same project in november. 2019 and the report “Disaggregated data collection on hate crimes, hate speech and discrimination in the Republic of Moldova: recommendations and situational analysis”, published in September 2020

In December 2020, 17 police officers (9 men and 8 women) took part in a training of trainers on detecting and investigating hate crimes, jointly organized by the OSCE Mission to Moldova and the Joint Law Enforcement Training Center of the Ministry of Moldova. Academy of Internal Affairs.

From October to December 2021, a training course on hate speech for judges was held in the Republic of Moldova using the HELP platform, adapted to the Moldovan context and legislative framework. The event was implemented within the framework of the regional project “Improving access to justice for victims of discrimination, hate crimes and hate speech in the Eastern Partnership” in cooperation with the National Institute of Justice of the Republic of Moldova, which is one of the 13 HELP courses that are held at the national level by the National Institute of Justice . The training was aimed at supporting judges from the Republic of Moldova in their work related to cases of hate speech, to better understand the concept and manifestations of hate speech, to study European legislation on this topic and to learn best practices in combating hate speech.

Total in Moldova from 2016 to 2020 was investigated, according to official data, 17 criminal cases related to hate crimes and 58 sentences were issued.

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