The Parliament of Moldova approved the amendments to the Law on the Prosecutor's Office, changing the mechanism for appointing the prosecutor general.
The bill provides for the creation of an independent commission under the Ministry of Justice, which will conduct a preliminary selection of candidates for the position of prosecutor general during an open competition. Further, the Supreme Council of Prosecutors will be able to elect the Prosecutor General from the short list proposed by this commission. The commission will consist of 5 members: the Minister of Justice, a former prosecutor or former judge with at least 10 years of experience, one international expert with extensive experience in the field of prosecution and anti-corruption, one recognized national expert or professor in the field of law and one representative of civil society . Herewith a national expert will be appointed by the chairman of the parliament, and a psychologist will help the commission. Members of the commission must have an impeccable reputation and at least 10 years of experience in the specialty. Based on the results of a public competition, this commission must determine at least two candidates who will be proposed for approval by the Supreme Council of Prosecutors. At the same time, the Supreme Council of Prosecutors will have the right to refuse one or several candidates from the list on the basis of a reasoned decision only if the procedure for selecting candidates by the Ministry of Justice commission has been violated. In this case, the commission will submit other candidates for consideration and approval. If after rejecting some candidates only 1 candidate remains in the competition, the commission may fill up the list or announce a new competition. In addition, from the law is excluded the obligation to test candidates for the post of general prosecutor and deputy prosecutors on a lie detector (polygraph), since this procedure is not an internationally recognized scientific method. Other amendments include expanding the circle of candidates for the position of prosecutor general. Currently, the law provides for candidates 10 years of legal experience and 5 years of experience in the prosecutor's office. The amendments shorten these periods, and candidates will have to have 5 years of experience as either a prosecutor or a judge, and 8 years of experience as a lawyer or criminal prosecution officer. Another change involves expanding the composition of the Supreme Council of Prosecutors at the expense of the chairman of the Union of Lawyers, the Ombudsman and a representative of civil society, which will be approved by the government. The Minister of Justice Olesea Stamate noted that the changes are aimed at strengthening the role of the executive branch in the process of selecting a candidate for the post of general prosecutor through a transparent procedure, and they do not jeopardize the independence and autonomy of the prosecutor's office, since the Supreme Council of Prosecutors will play a decisive role in choosing the proposed candidate. Parliamentary opposition has criticized the bill, saying that the mechanism for appointing a prosecutor will be politicized, new rules can reduce the independence of the prosecutor’s office and cut back on the authority of the Supreme Council of Prosecutors. Representatives of the Democratic Party stated that the draft amendments are unconstitutional, and they appeal it to the Constitutional Court. Currently, the prosecutor general is being selected through a competition organized by the Supreme Council of Prosecutors, after which the candidacy is proposed to the head of state for approval.// 16.09.2019 — InfoMarket.