STATEMENT by the Freedom Moldova Foundation on new version of the Superior Council of Magistracy’s Ruleson Publishing Court Judgments
The Freedom Moldova Human Rights Foundation expresses its concern about new restrictions on access to justice and transparency of justice imposed by the new version of the Rules on publishing court judgments on the national portal of courts of law and on the website of the Supreme Court of Justice, approved by the Superior Council of Magistracy (SCM) on October 10, 2017.

Under the new Rules, the SCM has toughened conditions of publishing court judgments and partially limited access to them for journalists, civil society and even the parties in trial, as follows:

- Rule 9 requires deleting information on date and time of court session, after it was held. Information shall be published at least 3 days before the scheduled date of court session, so that it will be impossible to verify under the deleting requirement.

- all parties in trials that may infringe upon the interests of justice (?) or a trade secret shall be anonymized (Rule 18 para. c)). Therefore, with reference to a trade secret or the so-called ‘interests of justice’ it allows limiting access to information on high profile cases, including the so-called “$1 billion fraud” case.

- court rulings shall not be published anymore on the national portal of courts of law (Rule 19), except for decisions on the merits.

Besides few abovementioned tightenings the Rules failed to bring something new and there was no reason to reword it ‘in a new version’ (after it was enacted in June 2016).

The Freedom Moldova Foundation considers that the above changes simply roll back the commitments of the authorities concerning open access for all citizens to legal cases, which Moldova assumed in 2007 , and for which since then huge resources were allocated by the international partners of our country.

We urge the Superior Council of Magistracy to revise those paragraphs of the new Rules that additionally limit access to justice and its transparency. We also reserve the right in the terms established by the law to appeal against the SCM decision on the new Rules to the Supreme Court of Justice.

See the Moldovan Government Resolution No.776 as of 03/07/2007, para.36 publishing on the web portal the information of public interest on activity of courts of law

October 11, 2017

Published at 12-10-2017, 16:33