Moldova
Head of state
Marian Lupu (acting)
Head of government
Vladimir Filat
Death penalty
abolitionist for all crimes
Population
3.5 million
Life expectancy
69.3 years
Under-5 mortality
16.7 per 1,000
Adult literacy
98.5 per cent

Reports continued of prison conditions amounting to inhuman and degrading treatment; impunity for torture and other ill-treatment; and unfair trials. Religious and other minorities faced discrimination, in the absence of legislation to prevent it.

Torture and other ill-treatment

Conditions in pre-trial detention and during transfer between detention centres and the courts frequently amounted to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.

  • Vasilii Cristioglo was detained on 19 January in Comrat, charged with burglary, and held from 21 January to the end of the year in pre-trial detention in Cahul. The cell had a toilet in full view of the other detainees, and no bedding was provided. Vasilii Cristioglo was forced to pay for blood tests when he suspected that he may have contracted hepatitis. During transfer to and from the court, Vasilii Cristioglo and other detainees were held in railway wagons for hours at a time over the summer in high temperatures, and not given any food or water during the day. In response to a complaint from his lawyer, the Cahul prosecutor admitted that hygiene regulations were ignored; there were no provisions for refrigeration and preparation of food, nor any facilities for washing dishes or for personal hygiene.
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Impunity

Trials against police officers accused of torture and other ill-treatment during post-election demonstrations in April 2009 continued. On 2 March 2011, Valentin Zubic, former deputy minister of the interior, was charged with misconduct in connection with the events. A government representative told the UN Human Rights Council during the discussion of Moldova at the Universal Periodic Review that there were 100 complaints following the events, 57 of which resulted in formal investigations, 27 cases resulted in prosecutions, and only two of those led to convictions.

  • On 27 October, two policemen accused of beating Anatol Matasaru during the events in April 2009 were acquitted on appeal. They had been given suspended sentences earlier in the year. Anatol Matasaru was detained on 8 April 2009 following the demonstrations, and reported that he had been beaten by police officers at the General Police Station in Chişinău and forced to lick their boots.
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Unfair trials

In its report to the UN Human Rights Council for the Universal Periodic Review, the Parliamentary Advocates for Human Rights of Moldova (the Ombudsman) stated that 25 per cent of all complaints received by the Ombudsman concerned unfair trials. The most frequent were failure to examine cases within a reasonable time, limited access to a qualified lawyer, non-enforcement of court decisions, and violations of procedural rules by courts. According to a survey conducted in May by the Institute for Public Policies, only 1 per cent of respondents had complete confidence in the justice system, and 42 per cent had no confidence at all.

On 3 November, Parliament approved an ambitious justice reform package for the court system, police and prosecutors. Measures included increasing the efficiency and independence of the judiciary; bringing the role of prosecutors into line with European standards; improving legal aid; reducing corruption; and improving respect for human rights.

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Discrimination

A draft law on discrimination was submitted to Parliament in February but had not been approved by the end of the year. Opposition remained to a provision in the law banning discrimination on the basis of sexual preference. The law failed to provide for clear complaint mechanisms and adequate sanctions.

Religious minorities

In September, the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief reported that members of religious minorities faced intimidation and vandalism from followers of the Orthodox Church. He criticized the 2007 Law on Religious Denominations for according the Moldovan Orthodox Church “special importance and a leading role” which had led to discrimination against other faiths.

  • In March, after over a decade of being refused registration, the Islamic League of the Republic of Moldova was registered as a religious organization despite opposition from the Orthodox Church.
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Transdniestrian Republic

The self-proclaimed Transdniestrian Republic remained a separate, but internationally unrecognized, entity within Moldova.

  • On 5 February, Ernest Vardanean was pardoned by the President of Transdniestria. Ernest Vardanean had been sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment for “treason in the form of espionage” in 2010 after an unfair trial.
  • Ostap Popovschii was detained by police in Tiraspol on 29 June in connection with drug crime. He was reportedly beaten by police on arrest to force him to sign a confession for an offence that he claimed he had not committed, and beaten again to force him to refuse a lawyer. He was denied medical care despite suffering from chronic bronchitis and asthma. On 29 July, the court sentenced him to 15 years’ imprisonment. The pre-trial detention conditions amounted to ill-treatment: the basement cell where he was held, designed to accommodate six people, held 19 detainees without natural light or ventilation; no bedding was provided and everyone slept on the concrete floor. Ostap Popovschii had access to a shower twice a month. During asthma attacks, he was taken into the corridor, but offered no medical assistance. At the end of the year he was in a prison hospital, but medical care remained inadequate.
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International justice

The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court entered into force for Moldova in January. However, the State failed to ratify the accompanying Agreement on Privileges and Immunities of the Court by the end of the year, and no steps had been taken to bring national legislation into line with the statute’s provisions.

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