Access to justice is frequently limited for persons living in poverty and those with disabilities, gender-based violence survivors and elderly people – these are the insights from a survey carried out by the Moldova Social Innovation Lab (MiLab) of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Moldova in Criuleni, Cimișlia, Soroca districts and Gagauzia region. The survey’s participants listed several difficulties in access to justice, such as long distances to the courts, long time for case review, and infrastructure in the court houses, which is only partially adjusted for access of persons with mobility disabilities, hearing and visual impairments.
The “Strengthening efficiency and access to justice in Moldova” project, implemented by UNDP and financed by Sweden, aims to contribute to improving access to justice and increasing justice efficiency through human rights - centered interventions.
Attending the event for presenting the project to the partners, Anna Lyberg, Ambassador of Sweden to the Republic of Moldova, stated: “Justice is an important people’s right, and we believe that all the interventions in reforming the justice should start with the following questions – what the needs of people are when accessing the justice and how the sector should be adapted so that people’s rights are respected and social security and resilience is ensured? I hope the current project will give us the space and the necessary tools to find answers to these questions and that we will manage to involve more people all over Moldova in this process.”
Dima Al-Khatib, UNDP Resident Representative, mentioned that: “A people-centered justice starts with understanding the litigants’ needs and identifying the solutions for existing problems. This can be provided by an open and inclusive justice system, which would operate in collaboration with other sectors, such as health, education, labor force employment, etc. The project presented today aims to contribute to increasing access to and efficiency of justice for all.”
Minister of Justice Fadei Nagacevschi stated: “The Ministry of Justice expresses its gratitude for the launching of this important project which will support the strengthening of efficiency and access to justice in Moldova, implemented by the United Nations Development Programme and funded by the Government of Sweden. All efforts are to be strengthened by the synergy of all actors involved in the administration of justice, in order to ensure the correct and qualitative application of criminal law, a requirement that seeks to protect the person against arbitrary decisions, excluding abusive and extensive interpretations.”
The online meeting was attended by the development partners, judges, prosecutors, lawyers, representatives of law enforcement institutions, academia, civil society, mediators, and experts, etc.
The “Strengthening efficiency and access to justice in Moldova” project has a budget of 2.8 million USD and will be carried out until 2022. The project will be implemented in partnership with two NGOs – Institute for Penal Reforms and INVENTO. The implementation partners will contribute to increasing coordination and cooperation among the key stakeholders in the justice sector from four intervention regions of the project (Soroca, Criuleni, Cimișlia, and Comrat). Dialogue platforms will be created with project support to identify solutions for increasing efficiency and access to justice and training sessions will be organized for professionals from the justice area in the four mentioned districts.
Four non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the intervention regions will receive training and counseling, so that they can effectively participate in a constructive dialogue with the justice chain actors and proactively engage in claiming the rights of litigants. The partner NGOs will become a source of information and expertise for the local authorities, as well as for the men and women in the target communities.
Another project direction will include technical assistance to strengthening the capacities of national forensic institutions - the National Center for Judicial Expertise, the Forensic and Judicial Expertise Center of the General Police Inspectorate, and the Centre for Legal Medicine, so as to enhance their institutional efficiency and capacities to provide quality services. In addition, the legal framework on forensic expertise will be revised, and the national forensic institutions will benefit from support for obtaining and extending accreditation in accordance with the ISO standards for the investigations and examinations they perform.