Civil Society criticizes the initiative of the Ministry of Justice to exclude a chapter from the Civil Procedure Code. While state authorities say that this measure is part of the justice reform, 18 non-governmental organizations ring the bells about the fact that this way the access of victims of domestic violence to justice is limited.
The reaction comes after the authorities announced their decision to exclude the chapter “Applying protection measures in cases of domestic violence” from the Civil Procedure Code and, at the same time, to amend the Contravention Code. In order to communicate their disagreement towards this initiative, the members of the National Coalition “Life without Domestic Violence” sent a notice with their reasons to the Minister of Justice and are asking for an urgent meeting to discuss the differences in opinions.
As stated by the authors of the notice, if the modification is accepted, the victim will be able to ask for a protection order only when the contravention of domestic violence is identified. This thing is contrary to the victim’s right to have access to legal protection in case of emergency, but also to the European standards defined in the Istanbul Convention.
“It is important that the victims of domestic violence have the chance to ask for protection against a potential danger, in order to ensure their psychical and physical integrity. Or, the authorities now want the victim to be able to ask for a protection order only when the contravention of domestic violence is identified. The reason that in other states domestic violence is not related to civil procedures, but is solved in penal or contravention context is irrelevant. The cases presented as example, show a legal deficiency rather than an example of best practice. The initiative is regrettable, violating the interests of the victim and contrary to international standards in this field”, says Daniela Misail-Nichitin, Director of Women’s Program at the International Center “La Strada”.
At the same time, the attorneys specialized in protection of victims of domestic violence also mention that the initiative contradicts the related legal framework, and the arguments provided by authors are not very compelling.
“The norms of the draft law are not applicable, since they conceptually and formally contradict with articles 4, 374, 387, 394, 395, 453, 454, 460, 478 of the Contravention Code. The authors of the draft law say that the provisions proposed will unload the courts, but this reason is not justified neither by practical experience nor by relevant statistical data in this field. This initiative will not ease the work of courts, since these same courts examine these requests. At the same time, the numbers show that, for example, in 2014, 920 protection orders were issued. This makes us wonder what is their share from the total number of cases examined by the court? Optimization of court’s activity should be done in another way, and not limiting the access of victims of domestic violence to justice”, said Ana Nani, lawyer at “La Strada”.
The National Coalition “Life without Domestic Violence” is a platform that unites 18 non-governmental organizations and public institutions from the Republic of Moldova, which work in the field of preventing and combating domestic violence and violence against women.