Torture and other ill-treatment in police detention remained widespread; the state failed to carry out prompt and impartial investigations and police officers sometimes evaded penalties. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) activists were again denied the right to demonstrate. Fair trial standards were not upheld in the self-proclaimed territory of Transdniestria.
In March the UN Committee against Torture published its concluding observations on Moldova’s second periodic report. The Committee expressed concern at the “numerous and consistent allegations of widespread use of torture and other forms of ill-treatment in police custody” and called on the authorities to publicly and unambiguously condemn torture. It also expressed concern that pre-trial temporary isolation facilities continued to fall under police jurisdiction despite the fact that plans to build new detention centres and transfer management to the Ministry of Justice were part of the Moldova National Human Rights Action Plan in 2005. Ensuring the separation of the authorities responsible for interrogation and those in charge of detention is an important safeguard against torture and other ill-treatment in detention.Top of page
In November the Prosecutor General’s office announced that the system of specialized prosecutors for the investigation of torture allegations, which had been in operation since 2007 in Bălţi, Cahul and the capital, Chişinău, would be extended to the whole country. However, there were continuing problems of impunity for torture and other ill-treatment. The state failed to carry out prompt, thorough and independent investigations into torture allegations. Witnesses were put at risk by the failure to suspend from active duty police officers who were under investigation for torture or other ill-treatment for the duration of the official investigation. In some cases police officers had evaded sanctions altogether.
At the end of the year trials were continuing against police officers accused of torture and other ill-treatment as a result of the large number of detentions during and after the violent demonstrations against the April 2009 parliamentary election results. Lawyers and NGOs reported delays and withholding of evidence by the authorities. In August, members of the National Commission, set up in October 2009 to investigate and report on the events, stated that the Ministry of Internal Affairs had withheld video evidence taken by their street operatives during the demonstrations. This came to light when the Prosecutor General’s office showed a video which they stated had been filmed by Ministry of Internal Affairs operatives and which had not previously been made available to the National Commission.
On 28 April, the Chişinău Court of Appeal ruled that a pro-equality march planned by LGBT rights activists for 2 May in the city centre should be relocated to an unfrequented area in the city, due to “security and public morality concerns”. The organization, Information Centre GenderDoc-M, applied to Chişinău City Hall in March to hold a demonstration in the Grand National Assembly Square in the city centre, anticipating approximately 50 participants. The organization did not receive a response to its application, but Chişinău City Hall sent a request to the Chişinău Court of Appeal to have the march banned from the city centre. The activists refused to hold the march in the authorized location in protest against the decision. Chişinău city authorities applied for the march to be banned in response to numerous petitions from a range of religious and other anti-LGBT rights groups. The counter-demonstration organized by those groups was allowed to take place in the city centre on the same day.Top of page
On 12 October, Moldova ratified the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, with effect from 1 January 2011.Top of page