[ 2011-12-01  comments | 525 views ]
The investigation and prompt probation of cases of torture registered after the 7 April 2009 events had serious weaknesses in the first days. Therefore, both the victims and their lawyers doubt that conviction sentences will be issued in the cases still pending before the courts. The Center for Investigative Journalism reached this conclusion during the debate of the Investigative Journalists Club, organized on 1 December on the topic “Weaknesses and Achievements in Investigating Torture Cases Registered After 7 April 2009 Events.” The public lawyer Olesea Doronceanu thinks that, in April 2009, no political will existed or the intention of the prosecutor’s office to identify the cases of torture, and this explains why the public opinion has never found out who committed the abuses. “In the torture cases many things were not done in time and, therefore, unfortunately we won’t have conviction sentences against the tormentors. Today’s prosecutors who are still investigating or who represent in court the cases of torture of 7 April have practically their hands tied because after one year and a half they cannot do anything, the evidence is already gone,” Olesea Doronceanu said. At the same time, she estimated that the quality of criminal investigations by the prosecutors changed after 7 April 2009. The lawyer thinks this is due to the creation of the Division for Combating Torture within the General Prosecutor’s Office and to the trainings. “As a result, we have a different attitude of prosecutors to the 7 April cases. I hope the skills they have acquired will suit them well in the future and we will not have such cases anymore,” the lawyer Olesea Doronceanu concluded. Another participant in the Club’s debate, the public lawyer Natalia Moloºag said that the defenders of the victims of torture had to face more impediments than in other cases. According to her, some lawyers accidentally found out that the evidence from the cases where their clients were victims was used in the cases filed by the prosecutor’s office ex officio against decision-making factors of the police stations where torture had been applied. “As a result, we found ourselves in the situation when the case files were sent to court without the necessary amount of evidence and without being based on effective investigations that are necessary for cases of such resonance. There is already a sentence of acquittal in one such case. We thought from the very beginning that no other sentences than acquittal could be issued because the amount of evidence was very poor and the so-called “scapegoats” were in the dock,” Natalia Moloºag said. One of the youth beaten by the police after having participated in the manifestations of 8 and 9 April, Vitalie Creþu, expressed his disappointment with the delay in the examination of his case by the national courts. Vitalie Creþu was convicted to 5 days of detention and after he was released he went to see a forensic doctor and the prosecutors. “The doctors included only the most obvious bruises in their forensic examination report; as to the others, less visible after 5 days, they said they were older bruises and that I probably had had them before the arrest. And the first question of the prosecutors to me was not who had beaten me but “How do you know that the elections were defrauded?” Vitalie Creþu said. He also said that after his case had been taken over by another prosecutor things moved forward. Vitalie Creþu is now waiting for the hearing of his case by the Supreme Court of Justice, where he says his case file reached five months ago. The head ad interim of the Governmental Agent Division of the Ministry of Justice Lilian Apostol said that shortly after the events of 7 April the European Court for Human Rights (ECHR) communicated to the Government 7 cases that invoked violations of the right to freedom and safety and Art.3 of the European Convention of Human Rights, application of ill-treatment and torture. Five of the cases have been settled amicably. In 2010 and 2011 other two cases related to the events of 7 April were communicated to the Government, and there is already an ECHR judgment issued in one of them, which will be published on 6 December2011. “In case of obvious violations, the Governmental Agent Division interferes and tries to propose a remedy. As a rule, this happens in case of violations of Article 6 (the right to fair trial) when we try reopening the proceedings. We do the same thing in case of ill-treatments and torture. When a case is communicated, we ask the authorities to reopen the proceedings if they had been dismissed, to provide adequate investigations and sanction the persons. We already have many such cases. Sometimes the prosecutor’s office reopens the proceedings ex officio when such a complaint is filed and starts new investigations. In such cases we ask the Court to suspend the examination of the case and we keep it informed about the course of the examination,” Lilian Apostol said. The representatives of the Prosecutor’s Office refused to participate in the debate of the Investigative Journalists Club. According to the data of the General Prosecutor’s Office, after the events of 7 April 2009, the prosecutors examined 108 complaints based on which 58 criminal cases were started. Of them, 27 criminal cases against 44 police officers have been sent to court. So far, there have been issued 9 acquittals and 3 conviction sentences. The Investigative Journalists Club launched the media campaign “Journalists for Elimination of Torture and Protection of Victims of Torture and Ill Treatment.” The journalists aim at sensitizing the public opinion and at notifying the decision-making factors about the need to eliminate torture and degrading treatments applied to the citizens within state institutions. The debate of the Investigative Journalists Club was organized as part of the Project “Strengthening the Forensic Examination of Cases of Torture and other Forms of Ill-Treatment in Moldova,” funded by the European Union and co-funded and implemented by UNDP Moldova. Center for Investigative Journalism 1 December 2011
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