Ealy Warning Report, nr.2, January-March 2010


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Ealy Warning Report, nr.2, January-March 2010

  1. 1. EARLY WARNING REPORT January - March 2010 Institute for Development and Social Initiatives (IDIS) „Viitorul” Igor Munteanu Leonid Litra Veaceslav Berbeca Alexandru Fala
  2. 2. Institute for Development and Social Initiatives (IDIS) „Viitorul” EARLY WARNING REPORT January - March 2010 Igor Munteanu Leonid Litra Veaceslav Berbeca Alexandru Fala
  3. 3. This report was prepared with financial support offered by BTD (Balkan Trust for Democracy) and Think Tank Fund al. Expressed opinions are those of authors. Neither the Administration of IDIS „Viitorul”, nor the Administrative Council of the Institute for Development and Social Initiatives „Viitorul” bears any responsibility for the estimates and opinions presented in the very publication. Any use of information or opinions of the author of this Study should make a reference to IDIS „Viitorul”.
  4. 4. TABLE OF CONTENTS ABSTRACT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 REGIONAL: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 THE MOLDOVAN-UKRAINIAN BORDER - A TEST FOR THE SOVEREIGNTY OF THE REPUBLIC OF MOLDOVA? VEACESLAV BERBECA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 FOCUS: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 OPINIONS OF EXPERTS AND POLICYMAKERS FROM UKRAINE AND THE REPUBLIC OF MOLDOVA ON THE MOLDOVAN-UKRAINIAN BORDER, VEACESLAV BERBECA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 POLITICAL: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 POLITICAL PARTIES IN 2010: BETWEEN SCYLLA AND CHARYBDIS IGOR MUNTEANU . 28 ALARM SIGNAL: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45 THE CONFLICTUAL RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN COMRAT AND CHISINAU AND THE EFFECT OF ELECTIONS LEONID LITRA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45 ECONOMY: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52 THE “ECONOMIC RECOVERY PROGRAM” - AN ADJUSTMENT TO THE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENTS ALEXANDRU FALA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52 SOCIAL: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58 SOCIAL SECTOR - DEVELOPMENTS WITH INCONCLUSIVE EFFECTS ALEXANDRU FALA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58 AUDIOVISUAL SECTOR IN MOLDOVA - BETWEEN CRISIS AND RENEWAL, CORNEL CIUREA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65
  5. 5. E A R LY W A R N I N G R E P O R T JA N uA R Y - M A R c h 2 0 10 ABSTRAcT In the second publication of the Crisis Prevention Report, we included articles that approach very topical subjects for the Republic of Moldova. The issue of borders between the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine, the relationship between Chisinau and Comrat, establishment of a committee of scientists to convict the Communism, amendment of the Electoral Code and amendment of the Constitution, moral crisis of the audiovisual system and the economic recovery program of the Government - these are the topics mostly approached in this compilation. All these subjects were selected due to their crisis- generating potential and the stress they regularly induce into the society. The main objective was to describe the alarming situations, occurred in the Moldovan society and place the discussions within a rational framework as to help find proper solutions. The crises we are talking about in this issue are different in terms of substance, but they risk dissolving the Moldovan society, whose skeleton is quite fragile. We also speak about the crisis in the negotiations between two neighboring countries, Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova, which could worsen significantly Moldova’s situation on the internal and external arena, and also about the crisis between center and periphery, generated by the tense state of the relationship between Chisinau and Comrat. At the same time, special attention is paid to the moral crisis arising in relation to communism conviction and the situation of the audiovisual. The stagnation in the social area also reaches the critical point and it can’t be ignored in the present compilation. 6
  6. 6. E A R LY W A R N I N G R E P O R T JA N uA R Y - M A R c h 2 0 10 REGIONAL: THE MOLDOVAN-UKRAINIAN BORDER - A TEST FOR THE SOVEREIGNTY OF THE REPUBLIC OF MOLDOVA? VeaceslaV BerBeca The collapse of the USSR left a hard “heritage” to the former soviet countries related to the delimitation of their borders. During the existence of the Soviet Union, the borders between the union countries were mostly conventional, determining the jurisdiction of the local authorities over some localities or goods. After the USSR implosion, the newly independent states had to start a border delimitation and demarcation process. If the border between the Republic of Moldova and Romania is well-defined and doesn’t cause any intense internal debates, as the border between these to countries is the result of the territorial demarcation between the USSR and Romania, established by the Paris Peace Treaty of 1947, then the demarcation of the Moldovan- Ukrainian border poses a series of issues. These problems are generated by the way how several infrastructure and other types of projects were developed and managed on the territory of the former soviet countries (Reni-Odessa highway, Dnestrovsk hydroelectric power station). It is obvious that when these projects started, nobody took into account the possibility of USSR collapse and that is why they didn’t consider the place where they were located and built in order to streamline the implementation of the projects. The Moldovan-Ukrainian border is 1222 km long, being divided into three sectors: from North-West, from Criva, Briceni raion, on Prut river it lasts for 300 km till East; then 450 km in the central sector, Transnistria sector; and subsequently it goes down from Palanca to Giurgiulesti - a 470 km long sector.1 Consequently, since their independence, Ukraine and the 1 www.mfa.gov.md/interviuri-md/478726/, Relations between the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine: Vision of the Moldovan Diplomacy 7
  7. 7. E A R LY W A R N I N G R E P O R T JA N uA R Y - M A R c h 2 0 10 Republic of Moldova had to start the border demarcation process and adopt the legal regime on the recognition of the property of both states. The demarcation of borders and establishment of the property legal regime has been a concern of all Governments since 1998. The border treaty was based on the negotiation protocol between the delegations of Ukrainian and Moldovan Government in 1998, at Kiev, signed by the Moldovan Prime-Minister Ion Ciubuc and his Ukrainian counterpart Valeriy Pustovoitenko. But we have recently seen strong debates on this topic between the ruling parties and the opposition. Unfortunately, we find out that the border demarcation, a technical process, turned out to be a topic with harsh blaming and accusation between the opposition and the ruling party. This primarily refers to the sector of Reni-Odessa highway in the region of the Moldovan locality of Palanca. There were developed and implemented almost all measures to regulate the legal status of this highway segment from Palanca locality. The Treaty between the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine on the State Border was signed on 18 August 1999. This paper sets out the terms and principles underlying the establishment of state border between the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine. At the same time, an Additional Protocol to the Treaty between the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine on the State Border was signed with respect to the transfer of the Odessa-Reni highway segment in the region of the Moldovan locality of Palanca, and the land it passes, under Ukrainian ownership and on the exploitation regime. Article 1 of the Protocol stipulates that the Republic of Moldova shall transfer the Odessa-Reni highway segment, in the region of the Moldovan locality of Palanca, and the land it passes, under Ukrainian ownership.2 Article 4.1 provides that “the inhabitants of Palanca locality that drive vehicles on the territory adjacent to the transferred sector shall drive on the exit road to the mentioned sector at the km 57+400”.3 And Article 4.3 stipulates that “border, customs, and other types of controls, which are performed when crossing the state border, shall not be performed on the transferred sector”4 The Treaty between the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine on 2 Additional Protocol to the Treaty between the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine on the State Border, with respect to the transfer of the Odessa-Reni highway segment in the region of the Mol- dovan locality of Palanca, and the land it passes under Ukrainian ownership and on the exploitation regime. 3 idem 4 idem 8
  8. 8. E A R LY W A R N I N G R E P O R T JA N uA R Y - M A R c h 2 0 10 the State Border and the Additional Protocol, which is integral part of the Treaty, was ratified by Law no 348-XV of 12 July 2001 by the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova, with the votes of 73 MPs. The Parliament of the Republic of Moldova conditioned then the ratification of the Treaty on the state border on the signature of the Regulations on the Exploitation of the Odessa-Reni highway segment in the region of Palanca locality, as well by Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada ratification of an agreement signed in 1994 on the mutual recognition of property situated on their territory, given the fact that the Republic of Moldova owns several objects on Ukrainian territory5. The Republic of Moldova transferred on 11 February 2002 to the Ukraine the Odessa-Reni highway segment from km 51+200 until km 58+970 in the neighborhood of Palanca locality, plus the adjacent territory with the average width (including the road bed) of 23 m against the signature of the Minister of Transport and Communications during that period, Anatol Cuptov.6 It still has to be decided on the boundaries of borders and record it with the cadastre bodies. As mentioned before, the border delimitation was a difficult process, which was needed because during USSR the borders between republics were conventional, i.e. some benchmarks were established, but the border wasn’t accurately established and wasn’t related to a certain locality. Thus, another debated topic for the parties is a plot of land of a few hundred meters that have not been demarcated yet in Giurgiulesti. All the discussions started with the idea where the border between countries should be established on this territory. The Ukrainian authorities, at all negotiation rounds, make reference to an Order of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR of 4 November 1940, which provides that Prut river is the point that separates the two republics. In this way, the Ukrainians prove that they do not agree with the requests of the Moldovan party, which, according to the Ukrainian officials, requested that Ukraine gave up on 1800 meters from the mouth of the Prut river, because in 1940 the mouth of the respective river and, respectively, the border between the countries, were situated at that point.7 According to the Ukrainians, 5 Victoria Boian, in Evolution of the External Policy of the Republic of Moldova (1998-2008), Chisinau, Cartdidact, 2009, p.41. 6 Act on the transfer by the Republic of Moldova to the Ukraine the Odessa-Reni highway seg- ment from km 51+200 until km 58+970 in the neighborhood of Palanca locality dated 11 February 2002. 7 Dmitriy Tkatch: “All the work on the demarcation of the Moldovan-Ukrainian border is based on a compromise”, http://zn.ua/1000/17535/ 9
  9. 9. E A R LY W A R N I N G R E P O R T JA N uA R Y - M A R c h 2 0 10 the establishment of the border between the SSRU and SSRM in 1940 is confirmed only by the list of the main points where the border line passes, a decision that wasn’t supported by maps.8 Finally, after the working visit of the Moldovan premier Ion Ciubuc to Kiev, on 4 August 1998, a Protocol was signed on the negotiations between the Government delegations of Ukraine and Moldova. After negotiations, there was reached an agreement to establish the draft border line in Giurgiulesti on the existing line, using for delimitation the arable land until the channel of Danube River, passing through the point situated on the bank of Danube river, at 430 m distance from the border pillar no 1355/36.9 Although this agreement was reached more than 11 years ago, the parties have not yet agreed on the demarcation of the border in this area. According to the officials of the Republic of Moldova, “the most sensitive areas that are still unsettled include a segment of a few hundred meters not demarcated yet at Giurgiulesti and Palanca crossing point. We should find there compromise solutions and finish the demarcation process, so that - and it is very important - Moldova has the 430 m access to the Danube river, confirmed by border pillars, which is essential for the proper functioning of the Giurgiulesti port and terminal”.10 The demarcation process was almost finished in the North, except for the point of Dnestrovsk hydroelectric power station and dam on the Nistru river, in Ocnita raion, Naslavcea village. For several years, the Dnestrovsk hydroelectric power station has been a litigation subject between the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine. In 1983, the construction of Dnestrovsk Pumped Storage Hydroelectric Power Plant (PSHPP) had started on the territory of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. In line with the Law of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic no 142-XII of 3 August 1990, the Dnestrovsk PSHPP was declared to be property of the Ukrainian people. After the demarcation of the Moldovan-Ukrainian state border, which finished in 1999, the border demarcation line was drawn in the middle of the water dam of the hydroenergetic center of the Dnestrovsk hydroelectric power station, fact confirmed by the Ukrainian party within the joint Moldovan- 8 idem. 9 Negotiation protocol between the Ukrainian and Moldovan Government delegations, 4 August 1998, Kiev 10 www.mfa.gov.md/interviuri-md/478726/, Relations between the Republic of Mol- dova and Ukraine: Vision of the Moldovan Diplomacy 10
  10. 10. E A R LY W A R N I N G R E P O R T JA N uA R Y - M A R c h 2 0 10 Ukrainian committee for border demarcation.11 The dispute concerns the legal status of the part of the Dnestrovsk hydro-energetic center water dam, claimed by Ukraine, which is situated on the right bank of the Nistru river, having a 17 ha area of the Republic of Moldova, which were offered by the MSSR to the USSR. In July 2003, the Republic of Moldova established a border post in the neighborhood of the Dnestrovsk Pumped Storage Hydroelectric Power Plant and this annoyed Ukraine. This hydro-energetic center is very important for Ukraine, as it is expected to be the greatest station of this type in Europe, with an annual capacity of 2.7 billion kWh.12 This station must work for Ukraine, Eastern Europe, and, probably, for Russia. After some discussion between the authorities of the two countries, it was concluded that the regulation of the ownership relations related to the Dnestrovsk station will be negotiated together with other issues related to the demarcation of Moldovan-Ukrainian state border.13 On 1 February 2010, the Prime-Minister of the Republic of Moldova, Vlad Filat, and the Prime-Minister of Ukraine, Yulia Timoshenko, signed at Kiev a Protocol amending the Agreement on Mutual Recognition of Rights and Regulation of Ownership Relationships of 11 August 1994, a paper that, according to the two officials, started the demarcation of the Moldovan-Ukrainian border on the Transnistria segment.14 Later there will exist other three protocols that will be related to particular cases, such as the Dnestrovsk problem. All these three issues have the potential to generate crises. The problem related to the transfer of the highway and the land plot where it is situated in the region of Palanca caused the most acute debates in the society. There are many causes that generate these debates: constitutionality of the additional protocol on the transfer of the highway and the underlying territory, imperfection of the envisaged paper and anticipated elections in this year. The Christian-Democratic People’s Party (CDPP) appealed the constitutionality of the border agreement with Ukraine in the 11 http://eco.md/article/6646/, Interview with HE Sergey Pirojkov: “The Ukrainian party doesn’t know anything about the existence of the alleged requirements of the Moldovan Government rela- ted to the provision of a share of Dnestrovsk PSHPP” 12 http://zn.ua/2000/2600/68850/, Tatyana Parkhomchuk, Dnestrovsk PSHPP: Moldovan vers libres on the Ukrainian energetics, no 11 (791) 20-26 March 2010. 13 Victoria Boian, in Evolution of the External Policy of the Republic of Moldova (1998-2008), Chisinau, Cartdidact, 2009, p.44. 14 www.timpul.md/article/2010/02/01/6233 11
  11. 11. E A R LY W A R N I N G R E P O R T JA N uA R Y - M A R c h 2 0 10 Constitutional Court back in August 2001, resuming the appeal of this document in late 2009. The invoked reasons state that the “border agreement and the additional protocol to it infringe Article 3(1) of the Constitution of the Republic of Moldova, which sanctifies the inalienable character of the national territory, as well as Articles 8(2) and 142(1) of the Constitution”. The Ombudsman Tamara Plamadeala, filed two cases (09.12.2009 and 15.01.2010) to the Constitutional Court on Palanca case. According to her, the fundamental right of the Moldovan citizens to move freely on the entire territory of the country was infringed by authorities by signing the Border Agreement with Ukraine, and the inhabitants of Palanca village, Stefan Voda raion, are discriminated, if compared to the other citizens of the Republic of Moldova. Mrs. Plamadeala says that the inhabitants of this locality must have permits to be able to go to their plot of land and that the highway is patrolled by Moldovan border guards who restrain the access of villagers. Although the Moldovan officials explained that it is wrong to use the term concession of territory and that this sector is Ukraine’s property on the territory of the Republic of Moldova15, the transfer of the land plot crossed by this highway could generate internal discontents, invoking reasons of “conceding national territories” and “failure to promote the national interests of the Republic of Moldova”. Tension could arise in the society particularly because of the transfer of 8 km of highway in the region of Palanca village, perceived as a concession of “the national land”. Secondly, the problems that could arise in relation to the highway segment near Palanca transferred to Ukraine depend on the interpretation of the Additional Protocol to the Treaty between the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine on the State Border. The second paragraph of Article 1 of the Protocol provides that the “transferred sector shall be property of Ukraine on the territory of the Republic of Moldova”. This means that Ukraine can use its property, observing some conditions that result from the fact that it is situated on the territory of the Republic of Moldova. But Article 6 of the Protocol stipulates that “Ukrainian jurisdiction shall be applied on the transferred sector”. A different interpretation could mean application 15 Eugen Revenco, Juridical Aspects of Border Organization, in „New Borders in South Eastern Europe. The Republic of Moldova, Ukraine, Romania” – IPP, Chisinau, Stiinta, 2002, pp. 105-106 12
  12. 12. E A R LY W A R N I N G R E P O R T JA N uA R Y - M A R c h 2 0 10 of some measures that would disturb the Moldovan party. This article is interpreted in different ways by the parties and contravenes Article 1.2. To remove any form of non-understanding, probably the parties will have to agree on some amendments to the Protocol in the spirit of good neighborhood and to ensure comfort for the citizens of both countries. There was also launched the idea that the Republic of Moldova will lose a part of its sovereignty if it transfers to Ukraine the segment of highway and the land under it near Palanca village. The Moldovan officials’ point of view is that the transfer of this highway segment to Ukraine doesn’t imply a loss of the sovereignty, because the underground under and the air over the highway are not transferred. These debates obviously have an electoral nuance. Even if the Agreement was negotiated by Alliance for Democracy and Reforms (ADR) it was ratified by the communist majority in 2001. Speaking about consistency in passing and enforcing decisions, the CPRM, if they continued to rule, should have transferred to Ukraine the section of 7.78 km under Odessa-Reni highway, as provided by the inter-government agreements between the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine in 2006. In such a way the behavior of CDPP can be explained - during the time they were in alliance with the CPRM in 2005- 2009, they left in shadow this subject, although the infringements they say are happening in Palanca village are not most recent. The measures undertaken by the current government to close the topic related to Palanca village are perceived by some parties as territorial concession. In an electoral year, this could be used against the current alliance. In this case, we should start with the idea that the solution to denounce the treaty is inadmissible because contravenes to the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties. Or, the unilateral denouncement of the border treaty is a territorial claim.16 The Palanca highway case has negative effects over the external side, especially in the relationship with Ukraine. The Ukrainian officials and the public opinion, in particular, state that the Moldovan party distorts deliberately the border demarcation and this is not included into the good neighborhood concept, affirmed and sustained be the parties. The Ukrainians blame the Republic of Moldova for non- observance of the assumed commitments. Moreover, according to the Ukrainians, the Republic of Moldova became a maritime country 16 http://ape.md/libview.php?l=ro&idc=183&id=945 13
  13. 13. E A R LY W A R N I N G R E P O R T JA N uA R Y - M A R c h 2 0 10 only because Ukraine transferred a plot of land at Giurgiulesti, needed to build a port. And the construction of the Giurgiulesti terminal is, according to several opinions in Ukraine, an economic and ecological threat for the Reni port and other Ukrainian localities in this region. The presence of these issues on the agenda of the bilateral relationships could cause many problems to the Chisinau Government on the central sector, i.e. in the Transnistria region. Kiev could play an important role in this problem from several perspectives. First of all, the role of Ukraine is fundamental to demarcate the border on this segment, process which started in January 2010 by mounting of the first border sign by the Petr Proroshenko and Iurie Leanca in the central sector of the border between the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine, in Bolshaya Koshnitsa village, Vinnytsia region. Because the Moldovan authorities do not control this segment and the separatist regime from Tiraspol refuses to participate in these works, the border demarcation on this sector can be performed exclusively on the Ukraine’s territory. Secondly, the Moldova’s European integration process can be affected if the Transnistrian conflict is not settled. Ukraine could get involved more actively in this issue. For instance, Ukraine does not allow the entry of goods from Transnistria to its territory with the old customs stamp. According to the Ukrainian press, this causes great economic losses to Ukraine, which supports the Chisinau politics. Moreover, several opinions in Ukraine say that the Republic of Moldova wants to settle the Transnistrian conflict with Kiev’s efforts, but this contradicts the interest of this state in the region where “one hundred thousand Ukrainian citizens” live. A major problem could appear here, namely conditioning the support on the Transnistria issue on the settlement of the Palanca case. The attempt to force Chisinau to honor its obligations by means that are not acceptable for the Republic of Moldova could generate potential tensions. The Ukrainian experts state that there are a number of tools to achieve this goal: from banning the exports of some energy resources towards the Republic of Moldova to closing the border for Moldovan merchandise that transit Ukraine. The possibility to implement these measures means an economic collapse for the Republic of Moldova. The situation is different in case of Giurgiulesti port. Although there are a number of people saying that the Republic of Moldova 14
  14. 14. E A R LY W A R N I N G R E P O R T JA N uA R Y - M A R c h 2 0 10 had access to Danube17, the Ukrainians don’t recognize this, making reference to an Order of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR of 4 November 1940, which provides that Prut river is the point that separates the two republics. This was invoked every time by the Ukrainian party in the negotiations on border demarcation. It is impossible to state the opposite in the absence of cartographic proofs. In the Giurgiulesti case, although the border has not been demarcated yet, a potential risk exists. The Ukrainians state that they kept their word and transferred to the Moldovan party the over 400- meter segment needed for the proper functioning of the port from this locality. As a response, Kiev could undertake several measures we mentioned above, in order to determine the Republic of Moldova to honor its obligations. Finally, with respect to the Dnestrovsk station, its operation could be a huge danger for the Moldova’s population, as this hydro-energetic station is obsolete. Other claims of the Republic of Moldova towards Ukraine relate to the impact of this station over the environmental state of the region. It is interesting that in Ukraine there are also signals related to the danger of this water accumulation energetic plant.18 This system has been under construction for almost 30 years and there are informal geologic researches that confirm the existence of certain cracks in the dam. Because of the obsolete equipment there are fears that after an accident the water could flood the localities situated lower than the dam, if there are no barrages. If in Ukraine Yampol and Mohyliv-Podilskyi towns are threatened by such floods, in the Republic of Moldova this danger threatens the localities situated lower than the dam, for example Soroca. The high voltage lines also cause health problems for the villages in the vicinity of this system.19 Finally, we can bring some examples from the European countries with respect to territorial exchanges - called border adjustments - aimed at settling the ownership or territorial problems between the countries. The first example is the case of Czech Republic and Slovakia who signed on 4 January 1996 an agreement that stipulated the transfer of the line to adjust it to the infrastructure 17 http://zdg.md/politic/cedam-palanca-sau-renegociem-protocolul 18 http://zn.ua/2000/2600/68850/, Tatyana Parkhomchuk, Dnestrovsk PSHPP: Moldovan vers libres on the Ukrainian energetics, no 11 (791) 20-26 March 2010. 19 http://zn.ua/2000/2600/68850/, Tatyana Parkhomchuk, Dnestrovsk PSHPP: Moldovan vers libres on the Ukrainian energetics, no 11 (791) 20-26 March 2010. 15
  15. 15. E A R LY W A R N I N G R E P O R T JA N uA R Y - M A R c h 2 0 10 system existing between the countries. There were performed 18 exchanges at the Czech-Slovak border, which meat an exchange of 425 ha of land based on severe mutuality.20 The border adjustments needed a special bilateral treaty to be signed and a special constitutional act to be passed by the Czech Republic. Poland and Slovakia carried out in 2002 several border adjustments. Both parties made transfers of 2 969 m2 between them.21 These property transfers included real estate, equipment, installations, and machinery. France and Switzerland signed on 25 February 1953 three conventions that affected their common border. The extremely small adjustments introduced by the convention aimed at aligning the border, removing dual jurisdiction from some roads or ways and place only in one country some associated buildings or institutions.22 They also changed the principle used for the creation of border on Geneva lake, from a median line to a series of straight lines, harmonizing the original median line. 20 http://isp.org.pl/files/3057934520561074001118043909.pdf 21 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polish%E2%80%93Czechoslovak_border_conflicts 22 International Boundary Study No. 11 – October 18, 1961, France – Switzerland Boundary (Coun- try Codes: FR-SZ). The Geographer Office of the Geographer Bureau of Intelligence and Research 16
  16. 16. E A R LY W A R N I N G R E P O R T JA N uA R Y - M A R c h 2 0 10 Conclusions 1. Although more than 8 years passed since the ratification of the Treaty between the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine on the State Border, the border between these two countries hasn’t been demarcated yet. There are several sensitive points - Dnestrovsk, Palanca, Giurgiulesti and the Transnistrian sector - because of which the demarcation hasn’t been finished yet. 2. The border demarcation takes place under a great internal pressure caused by the results of the arrangements between the states with respect to the legal regime of the Odessa-Reni highway in the region of Palanca village and of an over 430 m strip of land near Giurgiulesti. The border demarcation is too politized, although this should be a technical process; 3. The public opinion in Ukraine criticizes the Moldovan authorities for their failure to fulfill the obligations assumed by signing the Treaty on Border and the Additional Protocol. Because of this, some severe measures are proposed against the Republic of Moldova to make it honor its commitments. 4. The Parliament of the Republic of Moldova conditioned the ratification of the Treaty on the state border on the signature of the Regulations on the Exploitation of the Odessa-Reni highway segment in the region of Palanca locality, as well by Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada ratification of an agreement signed in 1994 on the mutual recognition of property situated on their territory, given the fact that the Republic of Moldova owns several objects on the Ukrainian territory. But a significant part of the Moldovan property on the territory of Ukraine was already privatized. 5. The listed problems, especially the Dnestrovsk and Palanca cases have potential to generate crises for the Republic of Moldova. We mean political, economic, ecological and humanitarian problems. 6. The Moldovan authorities should start a dialog with the society in order to depolitize the border demarcation, because it damages this performance. The “zero-sum game” approaches should be excluded from the discussions. Even if Ukraine is an important actor to solve the Transnistrian conflict and demarcate the border in the central region, the negotiations should take place 17
  17. 17. E A R LY W A R N I N G R E P O R T JA N uA R Y - M A R c h 2 0 10 in the atmosphere of good neighborhood and mutual respect and this means avoiding intransigent approaches under the border demarcation by problems having major importance. Recommendations 1. The Republic of Moldova has to fulfill the commitments assumed by signing the Treaty on Border and the Additional Protocol in order to avoid potential disagreements with Ukraine. But the transfer of the ownership over the portion of highway near Palanca locality should be conditioned on the demarcation of the border at Giurgiulesti in the favor of the Republic of Moldova. 2. With respect to the Palanca problem, the Chisinau Government must explain the situation related to the transfer to Ukraine of the land under the highway. Because the Treaty on Border and the Additional Protocol are interpreted by the parties in different ways, it is necessary to introduce more details in the Intergovernmental Agreement on the exploitation of the Odessa- Reni highway segment in the region of Palanca village, as well of the underlying land. In particular, to decrease the tension related to this issue, the authorities should satisfy the desires of Palanca inhabitants and eliminate the barriers so that they could cross the highway and have access to the plots of lands that belong to their village. 3. There could also be specified what portion of the land under the highway is transferred to the Ukrainian party, for them to be able to repair the road. The transfer of this segment doesn’t mean the transfer of the underground, which belongs to the Republic of Moldova. The central authorities should explain to the society what is the factual state of things in Palanca case. The Government must explain what is transferred, under what terms and which are the risks of non-performing the assumed commitments. 4. It is necessary to create comfortable conditions for Palanca inhabitants when crossing the highway to their plots of land. It 18
  18. 18. E A R LY W A R N I N G R E P O R T JA N uA R Y - M A R c h 2 0 10 relates, in particular, to establishing a speed limit for the motor vehicles on the highway. 5. Given the fact that there are several commercial objects along this highway and the welfare of Palanca inhabitants depends on them, it is necessary to ensure their existence and development after the settlement of the Palanca issue. 6. The border demarcation in the area of Dnestrovsk dam should be performed only when an environmental impact and construction’s safety assessment is conducted. There are concerns that the operation of this station will have a negative impact on the water of the Nistru river. There is also the risk of flooding the localities situated lower than the Dnestrovsk dam. The Republic of Moldova could ask Ukraine to pay for continuing to use about 18 ha of land. 7. The border demarcation and defining ownership relations in the area of Dnestrovsk dam should be separated from border demarcation in Giurgiulesti, because the same issue should not be negotiated twice. The intergovernment protocol of 1998 approaches in package the highway segment in Palanca region and the land portion at Giurgiulesti. The subject must be approached depending on the legal status of the property of the Republic of Moldova on the Ukrainian territory. 19
  19. 19. E A R LY W A R N I N G R E P O R T JA N uA R Y - M A R c h 2 0 10 FOcuS: OPINIONS OF EXPERTS AND POLICYMAKERS FROM UKRAINE AND THE REPUBLIC OF MOLDOVA ON THE MOLDOVAN- UKRAINIAN BORDER VeaceslaV BerBeca There are 3 types of news in the Ukrainian mass-media related to the demarcation of the Moldovan-Ukrainian border. First, these are the news whose primary goal is to provide information about the meetings and negotiation between the parties. As an example of the most recent news we can mention the one of 18 December 2009 on the beginning of the border demarcation process between Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova on the Transnistria segment.23 This news informs on the meeting of the Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Petr Poroshenko with his Moldovan counterpart Iurie Leanca in Chisinau 17 December 2009 on completion of the demarcation of Moldovan-Ukrainian border and starting the border demarcation on the central (Transnistrian) sector. News on installing the first border sign on the common border of both states is included to the same category. It refers to the installation of the first border pillar by Poroshenko and Leanca in the central sector of the border between the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine in Bolshaya Koshnitsa village, Vinnytsia region.24 We also can remind the declaration of Petr Poroshenko of 11 February 2010 that the Palanca road segment will transferred in the near future.25 And the delay of this process is an infringement of the treaty on border by the RM. The second type of news refers to the comments in the Ukrainian mass media on the content and results of the negotiation between parties. These are usually criticizing the Government for the way the 23 http://delo.ua/vlast/mezdynarodnaya-politika/ukraina-nachnet-demarkaciju-granicy-s-mol- dovoj-pridnestrovskogo-uchastka-135461/ 24 http://ukranews.com/ru/news/ukraine/2010/01/29/11054 25 http://gazeta.ua/index.php?id=326828 20
  20. 20. E A R LY W A R N I N G R E P O R T JA N uA R Y - M A R c h 2 0 10 Moldovan-Ukrainian border demarcation is managed and thought. The authors of these comments sometimes make harsh accusations against the negotiators. The accusations vary from incriminating lack of competence to inactivity to betrayal of the national interests. At the same time we can find in these comments serious accusations addressed to the Moldovan authorities for not observing the assumed commitments after the ratification of the Treaty between the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine on the State Border in 2001. We can also see intransigent approaches that go beyond the limit of mutual respect. They refer to attitudes that stimulate to use blackmail tools against the Republic of Moldova. We will make reference just to some of them that are particularly interesting for Moldova due to how this issue is approached. One of the first comments of this type is entitled “Ukraine- Moldova: pitfall for demarcators” is written by Alena Getmanchuk.26 This comment is a kind of response to the actions of the border guards of the Republic of Moldova of 17 July 2003 - installation of a border pillar on the territory of Dnestrovsk dam on the right bank of Nistru river. The main idea of the article is that the ownership claims of the Republic of Moldova authorities are unjustified and the establishment of a border guard point at this object contradicts the principles of good neighborhood between the countries. The author of the article states that the Republic of Moldova neither contributed to the funding of this enterprise, nor will it be able to provide material support to this object as it is too expensive for the RM budget.27 Another interesting comment is “Trojan horse from Moldova” published on 10 October 2006 by Alexander Manacinski. The author identifies political, economic and environmental risks related to the construction of the Giurgiulesi port.28 All these risks are the result of excessive amiability of the Ukrainian party with respect to the demarcation of the border with the RM, which obtained an important sector on the bank of the Danube; the Ukraine’s MFA, starting important maneuvers around NATO and EU lost totally the game to Chisinau.29 In the article “The Pre-Danube Region” of 20 January 2007 26 http://zn.ua/1000/1600/43477/ 27 http://zn.ua/1000/1600/43477/ 28 http://defense-ua.com/rus/hotnews/?id=20843 29 http://defense-ua.com/rus/hotnews/?id=20843 21
  21. 21. E A R LY W A R N I N G R E P O R T JA N uA R Y - M A R c h 2 0 10 the author emphasizes the idea that RM started building the oil terminal at Giurgiulesti on a plot of land with uncertain legal status.30 Moreover, even during the negotiation process a decision was made to transfer to the RM a 24 ha land plot on a 430 m length on the Danube bank in the region of Giurgiulesti village in exchange for the Odessa-Reni highway segment in Palanca village of the Republic of Moldova. All actions undertaken by the RM in this region endanger the economic and environmental safety of the Reni port. All these take place because of Ukrainian Government’s inactivity in the issue of border demarcation with RM, which received a strategic land plot on Danube bank.31 Another interesting article is “How the Ukrainians gave to Moldovans a part of the Motherland and received nothing instead” written by Antonina Bondareva and Lana Samohvalova on 24 September 2007. The authors of the article claim that Ukraine, making a territorial exchange with the Republic of Moldova, besides conceding easily a part of its territory, opened to its neighbor access to sea obtaining nothing instead.32 The RM did not honor its obligations related to the transfer to Ukraine of Odessa-Reni highway segment in the region of the Moldovan locality of Palanca. And the Giurgiulesti port, due to its multifunctional character is a threat to the Reni port. In the end, the authors reach the conclusion that unilateral denouncement of the Treaty is impossible, but it is possible to force Chisinau to fulfill the assumed commitments. They explain that there are a number of tools to solve this goal: from banning the export of some energy resources to closing the border for Moldovan merchandise that transit the Ukrainian territory. Another example relates to the response of councilors of Izmail City Council from Odessa region. They addressed the President, the Chaiperson of Verkhovna Rada with respect to the intents of the Republic of Moldova to receive some additional hectares from Ukraine in the water area of Danube to finish the construction of the Giurgiulesti complex. The Government is blamed for easy concessions and inactivity with respect to demarcation of the border with the Republic of Moldova, which obtained a strategic area of land on the Danube bank. 30 http://forum.proua.com/index.php?showtopic=3786 31 http://forum.proua.com/index.php?showtopic=3786 32 http://unian.net/rus/news/news-213615.html 22
  22. 22. E A R LY W A R N I N G R E P O R T JA N uA R Y - M A R c h 2 0 10 The result of the round table “What are we going to do with Moldova?” is very suggestive to understand the attitude of journalists and researchers towards the demarcation of Moldovan-Ukrainian border. The round table was held on 5 May 2009 by “Glavred” publication and was attended by several experts took part. One of the participants in this round table, Vitaly Kulik, Director of the Research Center for Civil Society Problems, identified 3 problems in the territorial relationships between the Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova: a) the problem related to the exchange of territory at Palanca and Giurgiulesti, which wasn’t finished because of the Moldovan authorities; b) the problem related to the Novodnestrovsk power station, with respect to which the Moldovan authorities are not willing to reach a compromise with Ukraine; c) the refusal of the Moldovan party to perform the border demarcation together with Ukraine.33 According to Kulik, Kiev promotes a concession policy towards Chisinau and this concession practice results from the Ukrainians’ euro-idiocy. By this he meant that Ukraine introduced many severe measures against Transnistria in order to have a good image at Brussels. But these measures harm the economic and political interests of Kiev in this region. Another participant, Vladimir Lupashko, expert in the issue of the Republic of Moldova, qualifies the Ukraine’s foreign policy towards the neighbor, during the last years, as catastrophic and incompetent.34 His conclusion is that Ukraine should develop another type of relations with Transnistria and use this problem to solve the case of highway segment in Palanca. Another interesting comment also belongs to Vitaly Kulik “Ukraine-Moldova: relationships taking account of elections” of 14-20 November 2008 in the „Зеркало недели” (Mirror of the Week) weekly newspaper. The author concludes that the Moldovan authorities, despite the assumed commitment to solve the difficult issues at the Moldovan-Ukrainian border, delayed and obstructed this process.35 The failure to settle the Palanca case and Novodnestrovsk power station prove that Ukraine has bad experience in solving “packages” of problems with the Moldovan party.36 At last, the most recent comment of Tatyana Parhomchuk “Dnestrovsk Storage Power 33 http://ukrrudprom.ua/digest/CHto_nam_delat_s_Moldovoy.html?print 34 http://ukrrudprom.ua/digest/CHto_nam_delat_s_Moldovoy.html?print 35 http://zn.ua/1000/1600/67735/ 36 http://zn.ua/1000/1600/67735/ 23
  23. 23. E A R LY W A R N I N G R E P O R T JA N uA R Y - M A R c h 2 0 10 Station- Moldovan vers libres on the Ukrainian energetics”, no 11 (791) 20-26 March 2010 in „Зеркало недели” (Mirror of the Week) weekly newspaper presents a non-dissembled position with the hope that the forces that dispute the ownership over Dnestrovsk hydro- energetic center will find enough arguments to influence the position even of an independent country (the Republic of Moldova).37 Finally the third type of information is the one focusing on certain aspects of the activity of institutions enabled to negotiate the border demarcation. It also refers to the response of these institutions to accusations of incompetence or betrayal of the Ukraine’s national interests. This kind of news usually belongs to Ukraine’s MFA. We can take for instance the interview “All the work on demarcation of Ukrainian-Moldovan border is based on compromise” of Dmitry Tkaci, Deputy-Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine for the weekly newspaper „Зеркало недели” of 25-31 July 1998. Thus, Tkaci explains that the border demarcation takes place as a result of the fact that during the USSR, the borders among republics had a conventional character.38 In other words, some benchmarks were established and the border was not well-defined and not related to a certain locality. Tkaci states that “all the work on demarcation of Ukrainian-Moldovan border is based on compromise; it is a mutual concession process, as it was in case of Basarabeasca settlement”.39 As a conclusion, he stated that “even if those who do not know all nuances of diplomacy and demarcation process think that this is, first of all, a political exercise, actually it is a very delicate process, but bearing a technical character”. Another material of this kind is the response of Ukrainian MFA towards the accusations incriminating that they don’t take into account the national interests when demarcating the border with the RM. In their answer, the Ukrainian MFA stated that the activity of committee on border demarcation with RM in 1995-1999 resulted in a clarification and demarcation of border on the basis of mutual concessions and compromise in cases where divergences arose, especially in the region of Palanca and Giurgiulesti localities.40 According to this press release, Ukraine met all its obligations, while 37 http://zn.ua/2000/2600/68850 38 http://zn.ua/1000/17535/ 39 http://zn.ua/1000/17535/ 40 http://unian.net/files/1190812895.doc 24
  24. 24. E A R LY W A R N I N G R E P O R T JA N uA R Y - M A R c h 2 0 10 the Republic of Moldova has not solved yet the issue of transferring the highway sector in the region of Palanca. It is interesting that the mass media of both parties criticized seriously the Governments of their country. Although the discontent and vituperation of the Ukrainian and Moldovan Governments by mass media has different causes, but the same conclusion - the national interest are not protected. The Moldovan authorities are blamed for concession, alienation of the Moldovan territory. It is usually incriminated the infringement of the constitutional norm related to the inalienability of the territory of the Republic of Moldova. The authorities are also accused that were not able to prove that the Republic of Moldova had access to Danube on an almost 1000-meter segment and the phrase exchange of territory in case of Giurgiulesti is flummery. It is more of an emotive approach. The criticism addressed by Ukrainian mass media to the central Government has a more pragmatic approach. The Kiev authorities are accused that after the exchange of territory, Ukraine obtained nothing because the Government of the Republic of Moldova did not respect the assumed commitments. The Government is also criticized for the fact that, by transferring to the Republic of Moldova the 430-meter segment at the Danube, it transformed Moldova into a maritime country. And the construction of the port and oil terminal in Giurgiulesti would endanger the economic and environmental status of this region of Ukraine. The Ukrainian Government is also blamed for making several concessions to the Republic of Moldova in the Transnistra case, harming the national interests of Ukraine. The Ukrainian Government is also accused of too easy concessions made to the Republic of Moldova. Opinions of policymakers and journalists from the Republic of Moldova The opinions of the Moldovan elite regarding the demarcation of the state border are divided into three parts. On one hand we have the representatives of the current Government, who is negotiating with Ukraine to finish the border demarcation. On the other hand, 25
  25. 25. E A R LY W A R N I N G R E P O R T JA N uA R Y - M A R c h 2 0 10 we have the opinion of the opposition that criticizes vehemently any action of the Government. At last, the third group is represented by experts in Law, journalists, who opt for a freezing or renegotiation of the Additional Protocol. The official position of the current Government is to implement the commitments assumed by signing and ratifying the treaty and its additional protocol. Prime-minister Filat mentioned several times that “Moldova must observe the agreements previously signed”. The Deputy-Minister of Foreign Affairs states that “in relation to the Palanca case, we should find compromise solutions and finish the demarcation process, so that - and it is very important- Moldova has the 430-meter access to Danube river, confirmed by border pillars, which is essential for the proper functioning of the Giurgiulesti port and terminal”.41 The most bitter critics are the CPRM representatives, who, in fact, ratified the Treaty and the Additional Protocol. But the critics are made without offering any solutions. Generally, the accusations refer to “concession of Moldova’s territory” or that the actions of the Government would harm the interests of the Republic of Moldova. For example, the former First Deputy Prime Minister, former Minister of Economy, Igor Dodon, thinks that if Vladimir Filat signs the Protocol recognizing the Ukrainian ownership over the Novodnestrovsk hydroelectric power station, which is also situated on Moldova’s territory, it will be very difficult to protect our own interest in the demarcation of border in Giurgiulesti.42 Grigore Petrenco, communist MP, does not know “if ti is good and necessarily needed to amend the Additional Protocol to the Treaty” but he is certain that “the documents ratified by the Parliament in 2001 foresee the transfer into Ukraine’s ownership only of the highway, not also of the land under it - this is what Ukraine wishes now and the current Government is going to do. The concession of land under the highway means in fact annulment of Moldova’s sovereignty over this territory”.43 Vlad Cubreacov, member of CDPP states that “the Border Treaty with Ukraine contradicts the Constitution of the Republic of Moldova, principles on the integrity and inalienable nature of the national land’.44 41 www.mfa.gov.md/interviuri-md/478726/, Relations between the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine: Vision of the Moldovan Diplomacy 42 http://.omg.md/Content.aspx?id=6821&lang=1 43 http://.zdg.md/politic/cedam-palanca-sau-renegociem-protocolul 44 http://politicom.moldova.org/news/vlad-cubreacov-filat-da-palanca-ucrainei-204612-rom. 26
  26. 26. E A R LY W A R N I N G R E P O R T JA N uA R Y - M A R c h 2 0 10 The third category are those who opt for the preservation or renegotiation of the Additional Protocol. Thus, Anatol Petrencu, historian, states that “we should concede nothing. The declarations that the concessions at Palanca are a reward for Ukraine for the 430- meter at Danube are pure speculations. The Ukraine adopted the principle “ask for impossible in order to obtain the maximum” against Moldova. What Lucinschi and then Voronin did is a crime, because they signed and ratified a concession of property that belongs by law to the Republic of Moldova. And if the current Government signs the Transfer-Acceptance Statement, they will become accomplices of the same crime. The Protocol still can and must be renegotiated”.45 The editor Petru Bogatu says that “the attempt of the current Government to transfer fast into Ukraine’s property the land plot adjacent to the 7.77 km segment of the Odesa-Reni highway bears huge risks. A conflict of interests is involved and it cannot be solved now. Under these circumstances the problem should be frozen. Any other solution will have a high cost for the Alliance and democracy in the Republic of Moldova”.46 As a conclusion, we can say that the attitude of the Government is to find a compromise with the Ukrainian party and observe the commitments assumed with respect to the signed documents. There are also opinions that opt for the renegotiation of the Treaty and Additional Protocol. But this can happen, according to article 9 of the Protocol, only with the mutual agreement of the parties. In this case we can say that the renegotiation of the Treaty depends on Ukraine’s attitude towards such a process. With respect to the preservation of the existing situation, it should be mentioned that such an attitude bears some risks. Ukraine could resort to some measures of economic constraint or could be reticent with respect to the Transnistrian issue. Such an approach should be discussed with Ukraine. html 45 http://.zdg.md/politic/cedam-palanca-sau-renegociem-protocolul 46 http://bogatu.voceabasarabiei.net/ 27
  27. 27. E A R LY W A R N I N G R E P O R T JA N uA R Y - M A R c h 2 0 10 POLITIcAL: POLITICAL PARTIES IN 2010: BETWEEN SCYLLA AND CHARYBDIS Igor Munteanu The Political Crisis as a Litmus Paper for the Rule of Law in the RM Several Western authors regard the political parties as the weakness of democracy47, stating that namely their internal weaknesses, low capacity and inactivity worsened during the last 2 decades the major deficiencies of the political transition: from the state party, socialist or soviet regime towards the pluralist democracy. In the Republic of Moldova the parties also had these deficiencies as birthmarks. The deep agitation and political conflicts of 2009 affected the political parties, who previously complained to the European institutions on the difficult environment they have to cope with and the barriers they face. During the past 5 years they brought the following examples: the provisions of the Electoral Code on the too high threshold for the electoral competitors and the multiple oppression exerted by the authorities (Police, Ministry of Justice) that are loyal to the ruling party (CPRM). In 2008, the Parliament took a decision to introduce new amendments to the electoral legislation, passing in January 2008 the interdiction to form electoral blocks and raising the electoral threshold from 4% to 5% without an impact analysis and any proper internal or external consultations. The arguments presented by the policymakers who promoted the amendment to the Electoral Code in 2008 convinced neither the political opposition of that time, nor the European authorities, who recommended even at the end of 2007 to diminish the electoral threshold and introduce more flexibility in the rigid provisions. 47 Thomas Carothers, Confronting the Weakest Link: Aiding Political Parties in New Democracies, Washington DC, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2006 28
  28. 28. E A R LY W A R N I N G R E P O R T JA N uA R Y - M A R c h 2 0 10 Nevertheless, only at the end of April 2009, PACE passed a new resolution on the functioning of democratic institutions in Moldova (Resolution no 1666), stimulated by the harsh confrontations between CPRM and the opposition in April, marked by outrageous cases of violence and torture. In its Resolution, the PACE appraised accurately the electoral process, marked by incidents and extreme violence, restrictions to the freedom of expression and assembly, which prevented the opposition from communicating its ideas and programs to the electorate. The Resolution urges the local authorities to investigate judicially the events and to call to account the guilty persons, but also urges authorities to resume reform the electoral legislation, in co- operation with the European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission), in order to lower the electoral threshold for political parties, thus opening up the political process for more pluralism; freedom of expression and immediately review the voters’ lists in order to establish them definitively, introducing an obligation for regular review for the CEC, and improve them until they can abolish in future supplementary lists; put in place mechanisms and procedures enabling the many Moldovan citizens residing abroad to exercise effectively their voting rights. The difficult transfer of power to the AEI created some deficiencies in the fulfillment of the aforementioned priorities in the Government Program, i.e. the restoration of the political relationship with the Council of Europe authorities, especially taking into account the fact that the Committee for the investigation of violence of April 2009 did not manage to finish by the end of 2009 the report requested by the Parliament. The first 100 days of the new Government overlap with the first frictions between the initial plan and the cruel reality of concurrent priorities for the Government. Some of the AEI leaders think that they should search for a solution to amend the RM Constitution, in particular Article 78, which provides for the dissolution of the Parliament if the head of the state is not elected after the 2nd ballot, while others would like a strengthening of the held positions, with or without elections. The waves of MPs’ defection from the CPRM stimulated the AEI leaders to agree upon a common position related to the constitutional reform. In December 2009, the current President of the RM, M. 29
  29. 29. E A R LY W A R N I N G R E P O R T JA N uA R Y - M A R c h 2 0 10 Ghimpu, issued a Decree to set up a Committee responsible for preparation of proposals for a wide amendment of RM Constitution, constitutional reform. The establishment of this Committee creates the illusion of an ideal technical solution at the first stage, but leaves open all possible options of the type of the political regime promoted by the new Constitution. The indecision and more and more visible differences among the 4 components of the AEI nourished a certain doubt of the public and of the European partners related to the fact that this constitutional reform could have positive results for the Republic of Moldova48, taking into account the fragility of the democratic institutions from Chisinau, after the transfer of power in September-November 2009, but also the extremely short period for the proper organization and information of the public on the stakes of this referendum. The Venice Commission insists on amending Article 78, which could be possible settled in the RM Parliament, but with few chances to succeed in the context of the bipolar relationship between the CPRM and AEI, interwoven with a thin segment of independent candidates. Although it doesn’t refer exactly to the constitutional text, prepared by the Commission, we can suppose that the European authorities (CoE) will insist on implementing the provisions that oblige the RM President to initiate the Parliament dissolution procedure as a result of the repeated failure to elect the head of the state, but within a reasonable period. However, the comment of the Venice Commission cannot be treated only in negative terms because, although it asks the Parliament to be more reserved towards a constitutional referendum, the main message is rather sustaining the general effort related to a comprehensive constitutional effort, ensuring the Moldovan authorities with all the support they could need during the upcoming months. Taking into account all pros and cons presented during the numerous debates on this topic, the arguments of the Venice Commission count a lot for the liberal- democratic Government, that can’t afford the risk to obtain the approval of a new Constitution with the price of burning the bridges to the European political institutions. This generates hesitations, contradictory discussions and influence of some underwater current on the actions and responses of AEI, as well as the people’s attitude 48 Venice Commission adopts opinion on when to dissolve the parliament of Moldova, Strasbo- urg, 15.03.2010 30
  30. 30. E A R LY W A R N I N G R E P O R T JA N uA R Y - M A R c h 2 0 10 towards the direct election of the head of state or their resistance to a return to presidential system of Government. But there are also other sensitive problems and issues for the RM political parties, such as those that compromised the rightfulness of the electoral process in 2009. With respect to this, we should mention the bifurcation of a list of problems, depending on the observer’s system of references: the parties are now interested more in the electoral threshold, elimination of the ban to form electoral blocks, even in the absorption of the overseas votes, while the civil society seems to be much more concerned with the transparency of the political funding, reflection of the electoral campaigns in mass media, use of administrative resources, but also with the accuracy of electoral lists. These dissonances, justified somehow by the interests and mandates of organizations, could be noticed quite clearly in March, during some public discussions. Intentions to amend the Electoral Code and related expectations On 10 March 2010, a special Committee for the improvement of the electoral legal framework, in cooperation with the Central Electoral Commission and UNDP support made public a series of proposals on amendments and addenda to the Electoral Code, in line with the Parliament Decision (no 39-XVIII of 15 October 2009). Thus these proposals meet a number of recommendations and resolutions of the CoE, OSCE/ODIHR, as well other international and local organizations. Among the most important news proposed by the authors of the Electoral Support to Moldova Project, the following could be identified: - Annul the ban on electoral blocks; - Introduce special regulations on overseas voting (open additional polls); - Annul some restrictions of the right to elect and to be elected; - Provide specialized training for the electoral staff by means of 31
  31. 31. E A R LY W A R N I N G R E P O R T JA N uA R Y - M A R c h 2 0 10 an Ongoing Training Center; - Create the voter registers and electoral lists, under authority of CEC; - Limit the use of administrative resources during the electoral campaign; - Regulate more accurately the rights and duties of electoral observers; - Electioneering and reflection of elections in the mass media; - Adjust the regulations on the organization and conduct of referendums (national and local). The authors of amendments indicated sincerely some visible flaws they could not approach due to costs or unclarity of the political will. Thus, the assurance of electoral participation by electronic vote is a nice and attractive goal, but too expensive in CEC opinion. Before the contrary is proven, the initiative on amendment and addenda to the Electoral Code does not include any cost assessment or exact proposals on implementation of digital signature and remote voting (electronic or by mail) in the electoral process. The package of proposals doesn’t even include special references on the change of the current electoral system and this is because the relevant policymakers from the Parliament of the RM did not decide unanimously on some major changes of the electoral process, whose choice is one of the most important decisions in a democracy. The new amendments aim at allowing the opening of new polls on the premises of diplomatic missions, as well as in other places, depending on the needs assessed in advance by the Government. At the same time, the authors suggest to keep the voting restrictions with respect to the people convicted to imprisonment by definitive court ruling for particularly or exceptionally severe crimes, who execute their sanction, as well as people deprived by this right by a definitive court ruling (Article 13), obliging the candidates to declare, when registering, that they have no restriction to be employed in positions of highest importance. The package of suggestions also contains the idea, which CEC likes mostly, to create an ongoing training center in electoral area (Article 26/1), which would educate the resources needed nationally when forming sector or district electoral sections 32
  32. 32. E A R LY W A R N I N G R E P O R T JA N uA R Y - M A R c h 2 0 10 in due time; as well as amendment of the Electoral Code with some provisions related to the development and management of the State Voter Register (Article 38/1), update the electoral lists (Article 39) on the basis of the respective register, which thus becomes an exclusive authority of the CEC. The proposals also envisage the tools intended to limit the use of administrative resources, i.e. by including deputy-ministers in the list of persons that stop their activity since are registered as candidates and the establishment of restrictions on the use of public goods during electoral campaigns. For sure, these provisions will not stop the temptation of any ruling Government to use what they control, respectively every additional interdiction should be accompanied by proper sanctions and monitoring by the public and stakeholders. The amendment package also includes the suggestion to diminish the participation threshold for the organization and conduct of referendums, implementing thus the specific recommendations addressed to the Moldovan authorities and taking account of the provisions of Code of Good Practice on Referendums (doc. CDL_AD- 2007-008), Guidelines for Constitutional Referendums at National Level adopted by the Venice Commission at its 47th Plenary Meeting (6-7 July 2001), because the current threshold contained by the Electoral Code is considered to be an excessive demand for validating the results of a referendum and the number of votes is considered to be disproportionate in relation with the opportunity to consult the population on diverse matters of national or local interest. Thus we can state that in 2010, CEC and the Special Parliamentary Committee plans to redress many of the accumulated flaws of the current electoral legal framework, but to a lesser extent in relation to political parties and essence of the electoral system. Obviously, this finding does not diminish the expected impact of the steps suggested by the authors focused on the improvement of general regulations on elections, reacting thus to the criticism addressed to the RM by various international organizations, by eliminating certain practices and conditions that can distort the essence of the open, secret and freely expressed vote. It is necessary to make some clarification regarding the suggestions to diminish the electoral threshold: The authors of the suggestions for Electoral Code amendment 33
  33. 33. E A R LY W A R N I N G R E P O R T JA N uA R Y - M A R c h 2 0 10 recommend to diminish the threshold from 5% to 4% for a political party, from 3% to 2% for independent candidates, raising the threshold to 4% for electoral blocks. We should mention that the ban on the electoral blocks eased the toughness of the restrictive provisions that were establishing the electoral threshold depending on the number of component parties. The European legal practice proves clearly that there is no perfectly proportionate system. A certain number of votes will always be needed to qualify a candidate or party as representative of most votes expressed for the general or local elections and this is called exclusion threshold and it exists in any electoral system. However, most countries prefer a proportionate or joint system, ranging from 0.67% on Netherlands up to 10% in Turkey, 7% in Georgia, and 6% in RM. The CoE states that have a joint electoral system use the 4 and 5% threshold and the countries with proportionate system - threshold between 3 and 5%. Many countries use the exclusion threshold only at electoral sector level (Spain) and others only at the national level (Poland), or Sweden that applies them in both cases. On several occasions, PACE expressed its position related to the electoral threshold; e.g. the Resolution 1547 (2007) on state of human rights and democracy in Europe, wherein it states that the threshold higher than 3% during parliamentary elections cannot be justified. The reason is that in a democratic country it is necessary to encourage the expression of as many as possible opinions and restriction of some groups of people in their inalienable right to be represented contradicts the values of a democratic society. Further, the Resolution 1547 recommends to the member states to diminish the thresholds that exceed 3% for parliamentary elections. The CoE Monitoring Committee in its 2008 report also formulated specific recommendations saying that particular countries should diminish the electoral threshold. Besides this exclusion threshold established artificially by the electoral law, there are natural thresholds, also called masked, effective or informal. These thresholds depend on the number of representatives elected in a certain electoral district, but also on the mandate assignment formula (d’Hondt, Saint-Lagu?, Hare), which affect to the same extent both the small parties in obtaining their legal representation and the legally established thresholds. Though, if the amendments proposed with respect to the 34
  34. 34. E A R LY W A R N I N G R E P O R T JA N uA R Y - M A R c h 2 0 10 electoral blocks and too high thresholds, training of electoral staff and opening of new (itinerant) polls abroad have now a quasi-general approval, it can be expected that the too strict regulation of broadcasting time (Articles 64 and 64/1), including on some private channels, will be qualified as inconvenient or even bad. Despite the stipulations of the Informative Note on the draft law, some associations stated that they will review them again, including with respect to: remote voting, reflection of the campaign in mass media, regional parties, and monitoring of the political resources. It is interesting to notice the quite cold response of the parliamentary factions to the proposal to annul the restriction to form electoral blocks; only the small parties or those having major problems lately had enthusiastic attitude towards it. But it is to be expected that this enthusiasm will burn down if the Parliament decides to keep the 6% threshold for electoral block formed of 2 and more constituents. It is enough to mention now that only Our Moldova Aliance (OMA) leader proposed publicly in March to its AEI partners to form a single electoral block in case of future parliamentary elections. Committee to study and evaluate the soviet regime crimes: a beginning of lustration? On 14 January, the Acting President of the RM set up a Commeette to study and evaluate the totalitarian communist regime in the Republic of Moldova, mandated to “evaluate the crimes of the totalitarian regime” - a major backlog of the political class of the Republic of Moldova. The Decree sets 1 June 2010 as the deadline when the Presidential Committee shall submit a complete report on the occurrence, functioning, and severity of communist regime crimes, commuted made during 1917-1990, particularly based on some papers preserved in the secret archives of the institutions of those times (SIS, Ministry of Home Affairs, and CPSU archives). The relatively short period and the possible political-legal consequences kept alerted the mass media and a significant part of the political parties, some of which used this pretext to accuse the Acting President Mihai Ghimpu of trying to “destroy certain political competitors” (CPRM) or “capitalize the political influence 35
  35. 35. E A R LY W A R N I N G R E P O R T JA N uA R Y - M A R c h 2 0 10 on a purely academic matter”. The latter state that the totalitarian regime crimes are known for a long time, even the Communist Party ordered to break away from the crimes made by the famous secret report of the General Secretary of CPSU N.S. Khrushchev, presented during a secret meeting of the CPSU CC, before the XXth Congress of the CPSU (25 February 1956), which meant the beginning of the Thaw after the regime of Joseph Stalin. Later, this thaw helped Khrushchev to remove the stalinists who outlast Stalin (Beria was executed in 1953, V.Molotov and Gh.Malenkov were isolated by the party management). The complete report appeared in mass media only during M.Gorbachev’s perestroika, in March 1989, in Izvestia, being noticed in 2007 by The Guardian as one of the few public speeches that rocked the XXIst century. As a response, others could mention for instance the Armenian genocide during the I Wold War, whose adepts succeed after almost 100 years to convince the Western countries (USA, Sweden, Netherlands, France), who accept the term and, implicitly, its legal effects related to Turkey. Though it would be inaccurate if we describe the creation of the Committee as covered with gratitude signs from political actors. The CPRM ideologists published in mass media they control furious attacks against some members of this Committee49. Another category of critical responses to the Commission relates to the attitude towards some Committee members, territorial coverage of the Committee (Transnistria is not included, as integrated region after the formation of MASSR, in 1924, into the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic), the time frame (the period before the establishment of the soviet regime is not included), and finally the selective character of the evaluated period (exclusively the soviet regime, not taking into account the crimes during the CPRM ruling). Certainly, the context in which the Committee was set up and the time concurrence with other political processes (failure to elect the head of state, State Committee to review the Constitution, initiative to adopt a new Constitution through a referendum) resulted in a certain distortion of this measure’s message. There were many who blamed the Committee as if it copied what had happened many decades ago in other countries, calling the access to security archives as elements that describe the beginning of a lustration and 49 Timpul, 24 February 2010, Who is disturbed by Cojocaru Committee? 36
  36. 36. E A R LY W A R N I N G R E P O R T JA N uA R Y - M A R c h 2 0 10 healing process, needed for the entire society. Other voices told that the value of this evaluation exceeds the strictly scientific frame and that in both RM and Ukraine a political-legal qualification of the old regime consequences is needed, which would underlie a speedy and necessary desovietization in moral and political terms. Those who welcomed the establishment of this Committee mentioned the tardiness of this initiative - almost 2 decades after the Baltics finished this chapter and almost 5 years after Ukraine included the Holodomor into the most horrible crimes against the Ukrainian ethnicity, committed by the stalinist soviet regime. Our intention is to analyze the legal and political effects of some decisions, which will crown the 6-month mandate of the Committee, from the perspective of early elections in 2010. The issuance of the Decree on the Committee to Study and Evaluate the Totalitarian Communist Regime coincides with the change of the political regime and termination of the almost immovable hegemony of CPRM, whose leaders never abandoned the rhetoric and their (ideological and political) succession of the soviet regime. Objectively, the Parliament’s Evaluation Report will clear even more the muddy waters of the transition from the unipersonalism of PCRM leaders to the cohabitation of AEI leaders. The report submitted by the Committe will become the first act of supreme legislative authority related to the poisonous USSR heritage, which was rejected by the Declaration of Independence, but further tolerated by the successive implants of leaders and practices borrowed from that regime. Although we know why the Committee was created, it is not that clear yet what the final report will bring. Thus, if in Romania the model of anti-communist revolution was the Latvian 1989 revolution, the solution found were oriented towards denying any form of rightfulness for the soviet regime, in Ukraine the authorities adopted acts through definitive court rulings, convicting the leaders of soviet regime J. Stalin and V. Molotov of genocide, mobilizing itself in the effort to promote an UN resolution which would recognize the 1932-33 famine as a form of genocide against the Ukrainian people. It is obvious that any report developed by the current Committee needs an open and well-intentioned political partner to assimilate the academia’s conclusions. 37
  37. 37. E A R LY W A R N I N G R E P O R T JA N uA R Y - M A R c h 2 0 10 What institutional effects the Committee’s Report could generate? The Committee’s Report cannot objectively stop at validating or re-validating posthumous the statistics of the victims or summary procedures by which the soviet regime exterminated violently the local population. The Committee will recommend to the authorities some actions by means of which they could prevent the phylo-soviet revisionism in schools and universities, in politics and administration, i.e. in the public life, whose players should learn the lessons of the past. In this respect, the (acting) RM President will repeat the pattern of other presidents who summarized similar reports50 and approved these conclusions through a political statement of RM Parliament. An example of this kind is the Latvian legislator, which passed on 15 May 2004 a Declaration on Condemnation of the Totalitarian Communist Occupation Regime, Instituted in Latvia by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Nevertheless, the political reality of RM is more fluid and predictable under these circumstances that in other states, which could serve as useful references from this perspective. It is enough to relate the actions started by the Cojocaru Committee to the time frame marked for the upcoming months by the constitutional crisis, by the possible announcement of the early elections date, by the possible negotiations in Parliament on the amendment of Article 78 of the Constitution, etc. in order to understand that RM is far behind the states that condemned the totalitarian regimes. The Commission members could open the access to secret archives, creating a strong precedent against excessive classification and preservation of some institutions in the style of soviet KGB. Although, only the RM Parliament could decide on a wide lustration, justified by the evidence collected by the Committee and accepted by politicians. Another RM paradox relates to the fact that one of the active actors of the system of political parties - CPRM - is the legal successor and continuator of the soviet system logics, envisaged in the Committee’s Report. Recognizing the direct or indirect responsibility of CPRM for the soviet regime crimes, as a measure to rehabilitate the political victims, culminating with the possible approval of a Lustration 50 Report of Presidential Commission for the Study of the Romanian Communist Dictatorship (Tismaneanu Report), presented in the Romanian Parliament on 18 December 2006. 38
  38. 38. E A R LY W A R N I N G R E P O R T JA N uA R Y - M A R c h 2 0 10 Law, which would sanction diverse elements of the old regime and attract particular legal consequences. Hence, the declassification of some secret service archives or approval of lustration norms can be forwarded to the ECtHR even by persons who are now affiliated to the CPRM, who could hope to use the current set of European norms and conventions in order to protect themselves or avoid any legal or moral accountability for the crimes committed many decades in a row by an inhuman system. It should be mentioned with respect to this that the lustration, as official policy against the attempts of anti-democratic revenge had many forms and generated diverse responses. Certain elements or distinct models of lustration were previously applied in most countries from Central Europe, with the purpose to disqualify the participation in the public life of those who committed abuses during the old regime, especially: informers, high-ranking activists, as well as certain administrative officials. Some lustration forms were harsher than others. The specialized literature draws our attention to the more radical character of some decommunization reforms applied by Czech Republic and Germany in comparison with more permissive variants applied by Poland or Romania. For instance, in Poland the communist crime concept is applied to actions committed by employees of the communist state between 17 September 1939 (date when the USSR invaded Poland) and 31 December 1989 (collapse of the communist regime), and it refers to the repression or infringement of human rights, either speaking of a person or a group, or to other crimes defined in this way by the Criminal Code. After 1989, this concept was actively used since 1998 by the Foundation for Investigation of the Communist Crimes51, replacing the term stalinist crimes, also used previously by the Jaruzelski military regime. We’d like to mention that the respective Foundation was established to investigate the crimes committed by authorities against Polish people and nation, a concept that is similar to Nazi crimes term52. The Polish Sejm established restrictions and limitations, starting with 1 August 1990, for 40 years in murder cases and 30 years for other crimes, qualifying them as crimes against 51 Ustawa z dnia 18 grudnia 1998 r. o Instytucie Pamięci Narodowej - Komisji Ścigania Zbrodni przeciwko Narodowi PolskiemuPDF (299 KB). Article 2.1. . Retrieved as of 8 May 2007. 52 Genowefa Rajman, ZBRODNIE KOMUNISTYCZNE W KONCEPCJI POLSKIEGO PRAWA KARNEGO, Wojskowy Przegląd Prawniczy, Number 1 z 2006 r. 39
  39. 39. E A R LY W A R N I N G R E P O R T JA N uA R Y - M A R c h 2 0 10 humanity, peace and war crimes, and they cannot be affected by amnesty. The crimes committed by the communist regimes are numerous and include: eradication of persons declared as class enemies, eradication of the bourgeoisie, and repression of people belonging to non-proletarian classes or to national groups considered to be unfaithful to the regime. In the specialized literature, these actions were qualified as deliberate murders of non-combatant groups during peaceful times, applying the politicide term, which defines thus the eradication of political or economic groups through mass murders (for instance, the recorded number of 50,000 deaths caused during 5 years or fewer). Frank Wayman and Atsushi Tago argue that depending on the use of democide (murders generated by state-supported policies) or politicide term (eradication of groups perceived as political enemies) by differentiating criteria, the further qualification may generate different results53. Helen Fein called the repressions committed by the soviet regime genocide and the murders in Cambodia - democide54. Some authors use the term of red holocaust to define the extent of soviet repressions. The mass deportation of counter-revolutionary elements from MSSR and MASSR, called enemies of the nation, the moving of huge population groups to concentration camps in Siberia and Kazakhstan, mass execution by firing squad and extermination of national elites, making people die of famine and political persecutions are qualified to both aforementioned terms. Moreover, if the researchers test the forced russification, followed by persecutions and expropriation of former owners, this could impose the need to review the legislation on retroceding the property taken by the soviet regime, meaning a justice and victim rehabilitation act. What political effects can the Committee generate? The decree issued by the President M. Ghimpu makes clear references to a series of PACE resolutions on measures to dismantle the heritage of 53 Wayman, Frank; Tago, Atsushi (2005), “Explaining the Onset of Mass Killing:The Effect of War, Regime Type, and Economic Deprivation on Democide and Politicide, 1949–1987”, International Stu- dies Association 54 Fein, Helen (1993). Genocide: a sociological perspective. Sage Publication. p. 75. ISBN 9780803988293. http://books.google.com/books?id=n4TaAAAAMAAJ&q=%22Soviet+and+Commu nist+Genocides%22&dq=%22Soviet+and+Communist+Genocides%22&client=firefox-a&cd=1. 40
  40. 40. E A R LY W A R N I N G R E P O R T JA N uA R Y - M A R c h 2 0 10 former communist totalitarian systems (1096 of 1996) and on need for international condemnation of crimes of totalitarian communist regimes (1481 of 2006). There are also some older PACE recommendations, including: Recommendation 325 (1962) on methods of communist colonialism in Central and Eastern Europe (this paper was passed on 20 September 1962 on the basis of Doc. 1494 - Report of the Committee on Non-represented Nations) and Recommendation 357 (1963) on contacts with peoples of Central and Eastern Europe under Communist rule (this paper was passed during the session of 8-9 May 1963, on the basis of Doc. 1529 of the Committee on Non-represented Nations). Of the newest relevant acts in this area, we can mention the Resolution of the European Parliament of 2 April 2009 on European conscience and totalitarianism55, Prague Declaration on European Consciences and Communism of 3 June 200856 passed by the Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic, as well as the Vilnius Declaration of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly with respect to condemnation of Stalinism and Nazism (3 July 2009)57. The synthetic effect of many of these resolutions equalizes the Stalinism with Nazism, which are equally guilty of genocides, unprecedented violations of the human rights and freedoms, war crimes and crimes against humanity, urging the member states to stop xenophobia and aggressive nationalism, asking for more respect towards the integrity of human rights and civil freedoms. It is also important that in all these cases, most signatories of these political condemnation papers recommend to the CoE and OSCE member states to align against all totalitarian regimes, regardless of the ideology they promoted, to stop giving glory to totalitarian regimes, including the performance of public demonstrations in order to glorify the Nazi or Stalinist past. It is easy to suppose that in case of the RM, the political appraisal of the crimes and atrocities committed by the communist regime will also hit directly the CPRM as political actor, who still hopes to get back ruling in future without paying the cost of its previous and recent illegalities. The RM Parliament will approve the report submitted by 55 http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//TEXT+CRE+20090325+ITEM- 010+DOC+XML+V0//EN&language=EN 56 Prague Declaration on European Consciences and Communism, June 3, 2008, Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic - http://praguedeclaration.org/ 57 The complete title of the OSCE Declaration is Divided Europe Reunited, which was adopted on 29 June at Vilnius. Out of the about 320 members of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, 320 members of the Parliament participated in it; only 8 voted against the resolution and only 4 of them abstained. 41
  41. 41. E A R LY W A R N I N G R E P O R T JA N uA R Y - M A R c h 2 0 10 the Committee, investing a symbolic and moral recovery value into this gesture, which could further lead to regular efforts to desovietize the institutions and the society. Though, the Committee is not a law court and the report it will submit to the RM Parliament in June 2010 will only establish a political and moral assessment of some previous crimes of the soviet regime, and culminate with a declaration on the condemnation of the totalitarian regime and, implicitly, of all those who inspire themselves from and have ideological roots in the structure of that horrible political regime. Nevertheless, the political-legal assessment of the soviet regime crimes can rise suggestions on the abolishment of some parties that practice extremist ideologies, but this can happen only if the claimer could bring evidence that a certain party, by its activity, infringes the norms and principles guaranteed by European conventions and ECtHR. A clarification is needed in this respect, related to the European practice and precedents of outlawing extremist parties, the single tool able to guide the actions of competent political authorities that observe the rule of law. The European institutions are generally very cautious with respect to interdiction of political parties. On the one hand this is explained by the protection ensured by the European Convention on Human Rights for political and civil freedoms and, on the other hand, by the risk of providing some lawless regimes with serious tools to limit the political pluralism. Article 11 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms states that (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and to freedom of association with others including the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests and (2) No restrictions shall be placed on the exercise of these rights other than such as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others. This article shall not prevent the imposition of lawful restrictions on the exercise of these rights by members of the armed forces, police or Government administration58. But there are also another type of cases. In February 2010, a 58 Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, adopted on 01 November 1950, Published on the official edition “International Treaties”, 1998, volume 1, p. 341.The Convention entered into force on 3 September 1953 and it is in force for RM since 12 September 1997. 42