[JURIST] The EU said [report, PDF] Monday that Moldova needs to do more to encourage an independent judiciary and investigate bank fraud in a released Monday. The report follows the EU-Moldova Association Agreement [text, PDF], which fully entered force in July and aims to strengthen the political and economic integration of Moldova and the EU. According to the joint report, Moldova has adopted a number of reforms to encourage an independent judiciary. However, further reforms are needed due to continued political interference in the judiciary by legislators. In speaking to reforms necessary in the judiciary, the report commented that:
Respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms requires greater attention, in part due to weaknesses in the justice system. Perceived political interference in the judiciary and law enforcement is a systemic impediment to social and economic development. There have also been instances of judges being prosecuted for their decisions. The same goes for lawyers engaged in high-profile cases. The EU and other international partners have questioned the wide-spread use of pre-trial detention, especially in cases linked to participation in demonstrations.
Further reform efforts are also needed in the business sector, which is affected by endemic corruption and inconsistent policymaking. In a press release [text] that accompanied the report, High Representative Federica Mogherini [official profile] said that “further work is needed, and on this path Moldova can count on the European Union.”
Since the EU-Moldova Association Agreement was signed, the EU has cemented its position as Moldova’s main trading partner, with 63 percent of Moldovan exports going to the EU and about 50 percent of imports coming from the EU. Moldova’s human rights record has also come into question recently. In July Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website, in Romanian] condemned [JURIST report] Moldova’s chemical castration law. In June the European Court of Human Rights [official website] ruled [JURIST report] Moldova’s gay protest ban violated the right to protest. The rights of the Romani people have also been controversial. In April a UN rights expert urged [JURIST report] EU member states to do more to ensure that Roma peoples receive the support necessary to fully enjoy all their basic human rights. Then in May the UN Working Group on discrimination against women in law and in practice urged [JURIST report] the Moldovan government to adopt a comprehensive anti-discrimination law.