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Tackling anti-corruption in the Moldovan Courts

Corruption is one of the major issues in Moldovan society. Significant work is being undertaken by the government to tackle this, and Agencia were appointed to provide expertise in delivering Court Reform.

The Challenge

Despite the introduction and implementation of legal and institutional frameworks, such as the National Anti-Corruption and Justice Sector Reform strategies, corruption still continues to pollute Moldovan society. Agencia were asked to address the following areas:

  • Support a series of governance and economic reform initiatives.
  • Reduce corruption and strengthen laws.
  • Provide recommendations for judges and appropriate sentencing.
  • Improve public confidence.

The Action

Corruptive Climate

Studies suggest that the courts and prosecutors were adopting their own interpretations of relevant sentencing provisions of the Criminal Code and Criminal Procedure Code, resulting in offenders receiving more lenient sentences.

Moreover, the range of punishments available to the courts were quickly diminished once bargaining or guilty pleas were actioned. If the prosecutor deemed the plea to be of mitigating or exceptional circumstance, a milder form of punishment, or a suspended sentence, could transpire.

The inconsistencies from one case to the next meant that the Moldovan government breached Article 30 from the United Nations Convention against Corruption. A document in which all nations are required to take necessary measures to ensure each sanction takes into account the seriousness of each incident.

Agencia Action

Creating Consistency
Assisting judges, by recommending appropriate sentences for crimes and offences associated to Articles 324, 325 and 326 of the Criminal Code, became Agencia’s main role. By using the best practices of the Sentencing Council for England and Wales guidelines for bribery, Agencia helped produced new guidelines, in hope of achieving consistency in sentencing.

Good Practice
By acknowledging criminal codes and procedures, studies of corruption cases and other guides provided by the ABA and the Criminal Board of the supreme Court of Justice, Agenica submitted an initial draft.

Solid Structures
Detailed schedules were devised for the three articles. The three articles were subdivided into separate sentencing ranges. Each had a starting point and under each specific article, for each offence, both the range of sentencing and starting points for a case with a plea bargain or a guilty plea, were added.

The Results

Agencia’s involvement has led to a lot of positive outcomes in Moldova. There is a greater feeling of transparency and respect between the judicial system and Moldovan society.

  • Maintained an independence of the judiciary system
  • New and trainee judges both welcomed, and requested, the new documentation
  • Restored aspects of public confidence in Moldovan society
  • Strengthened links with neighbouring nations and governing bodies

Company/Organisation

Good Governance Fund (GGF)

Date

2016

Location

Moldova

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