Freedom House seeks proposals from both rising and experienced independent researchers, scholars, and affiliated research analysts, especially those based in Moldova, the Eastern Partnership region, and the European Union, for forward-looking briefs on the following theme:
Selective Justice: The Fight Against Political Influence in Moldova’s Justice System
In the wake of a series of constitutional crises and dramatic transfers of government over the past several years, it is clear that Moldova continues to struggle to establish a truly independent judiciary. Research and monitoring by the NGO Lawyers for Human Rights has established that politically-compromised actors within the judiciary system have used a wide variety of methods to both protect their political allies and punish their political opponents, including by delaying proceedings, complicating public oversight, selectively recognizing evidence, intimidating judges or witnesses, and controlling the flow of information to the press. Years of failure to bring a just conclusion to high-profile cases like the ‘theft of a billion,’ the Shor case, and the Laundromat case have also undermined faith in the justice system among the public – nearly 90% of whom believe the judicial system is influenced by political interests. Similarly, Moldova’s international partners have also increasingly expressed concern and disappointment with the slow rate of reform, as well as the continued evidence of state capture and undue influence over the legal process.
Attempts to bring reform and integrity to the justice system have progressed slowly and achieved mixed success. Recent legislative initiatives in support of judicial reform have been delayed for months in the Constitutional Court and criticized by international partners as lacking “vision and strategy.” Meanwhile, an initiative to review criminal cases accused of political motivation launched by the Prosecutor General’s Office in February has yet to complete the first set of 38 cases. In the wake of yet another tumultuous transition of power following November 2020 presidential elections, questions of political influence, selective justice and judicial independence will continue to be highly relevant to Moldova’s national reform debate. As reform efforts move forward, it is critical that civil society organizations and independent media, who have played a vital role in exposing cases of selective justice in the past, have a seat at the table in the decision making process.
This brief would examine the current state of political influence and selective justice in Moldova’s justice system, and consider the different roles government, civil society, and media stakeholders can play to combat it. Competitive proposals will identify key obstacles to judicial reform and offer actionable recommendations for Moldova’s government, justice sector institutions, and other reformist stakeholders in wider society to achieve meaningful change.
Please submit concept proposals to [email protected] by January 25, 2021, with “Moldova Policy Briefs” in the subject line. The concept proposal should consist of an abstract of no more than 200 words in English, an outline of the argument and recommendations to be presented, and a CV for the principal researcher or researchers. Organizations may submit proposals for more than one brief.
Contracted researchers will be asked to deliver a draft of 2500-3000 words. The brief will be published by Freedom House, with the byline and affiliation of the scholar or researcher. An honorarium of $250 per brief is provided.
The Justice First policy brief series is a gift of the United States Government, funded by the U.S. State Department Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs under the project “Mobilizing Civil Society to Support Judicial Integrity in the Republic of Moldova” and implemented by Freedom House.