Moldovan President Maia Sandu said that a new court for major corruption cases would be operational within three months at most.
The new court for major corruption cases is set to hear cases of crime within the judicial system, as well as major corruption cases.
“We need a judiciary system that is independent of corruption, that delivers justice, to succeed in building a European Moldova and to restore people’s trust in justice and their own country,” Sandu said.
As part of his announcement, Sandu pointed out that some judges, in the past, had let criminals go free. The current court system had also turned a blind eye to the laundering of more than $20 billion of Russian funds within Moldova, and the “grand theft” of those funds.
The current government in Chisinau has applied for EU membership for Moldova, making justice reform one of its primary goals. Six of the nine reforms proposed by Brussels are tied to the justice sector.
At present, Moldovan courts take years to deliver verdicts in major corruption cases. Often, defendants are allowed to go free because the pace of the case is so slow that it passes the statute of limitations of the crime.
Sandu has also said she plans to fast track the election of the new members of the Superior Council of Magistracy, a government regulatory body dealing with disciplinary issues and judges.
Last week, Moldova’s General Assembly of Judges postponed the appointments of members that had already been chosen, evaluated and vetted by the Superior Council of Magistracy.
The pro-Russia Socialists Party of Moldova (PSRM) has alleged that Sandu and the ruling Action and Solidarity (PAS) party are exerting undue pressure on the judicial system.
“The Supreme Council of Magistracy must not turn into a political annexe of the PAS party that promotes a policy of consolidating the personal power of Maia Sandu,” said the PSRM in a statement.
MEP Dragos Tudorache, the rapporteur for the European Parliament on Moldova, hit back. Tackling corruption is essential for states looking to join the EU, he said, and Russia wants to maintain the status quo and curb much-needed justice sector reform.
“If you want to destabilise a state, if you want to hold it back, pull it back, you encourage corruption and those who are part of a corrupt system, being careful to push buttons where necessary to keep in office those who grew and created networks of influence in such a system so important to the functioning of a state,” Tudorache said of the new court for major corruption cases.
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