Initially, the concept of vetting came up, which means in English "verification". This means that an independent commission, i.e., the Pre-Vetting Commission in the case of the Republic of Moldova, verifies the financial and ethical integrity of all judges and prosecutors. Based on the experience of other countries, as is the case of Albania and Ukraine, where the process took a long time, the legislator decided that in the first stage, the members of the Superior Council of Magistracy (CSM) and the Superior Council of Prosecutors (CSP) should be assessed - the pillars of the judicial system. Once cleaned, these organs will have the purpose of cleaning, consecutively, the entire system from the inside.
Thus, the pre-vetting procedure is the same as vetting, except that it begins with the key members of the justice system. The Pre-Vetting exercise has a strategic importance in the context of the systemic reform of the justice sector in our country. The reform begins with the cleaning of the self-governing bodies - CSM and CSP, and will continue with the evaluation of all judges and prosecutors, the final goal being that, in a few years, we have an integrated justice system, fair and with honest people in functions.
Ethical integrity criteria:
# did not seriously violate the rules of ethics and professional conduct of judges, prosecutors or, as the case may be, of other professions, as well as did not admit, in their activity, reprehensible actions or inactions, which would be inexplicable from the point of view of a legal professional and impartial observer.
# regarding the candidate, there are no reasonable suspicions of corruption acts, acts related to acts of corruption or corruptible acts.
# did not violate the legal regime of declaration of wealth and personal interests, conflicts of interest, incompatibilities, restrictions and/or limitations.
# it is checked whether or not the candidate's past behavior causes reasonable suspicions regarding their compliance with the ethical and conduct standards established for judges and prosecutors.
Financial integrity criteria:
# the candidate's wealth was declared in the manner established by the legislation.
# the Evaluation Commission finds that the wealth acquired by the candidate in the last 15 years corresponds to the declared income.
In order to assess the candidate's financial integrity, the Evaluation Commission assesses:
— the candidate's compliance with the fiscal regime in the part related to the payment of taxes on the use of means and income resulting from the owned property, as well as taxable income, and in the part related to the payment of import rights and export rights;
— compliance by the candidate with the legal regime of the declaration of wealth and personal interests;
— the method of acquiring the goods in property or possession of the candidate or the persons specified in art. 2 paragraph (2), as well as the expenses related to the maintenance of these goods;
— the sources of income of the candidate and, as the case may be, of the persons specified in art. 2 paragraph (2);
— whether or not there are loan, credit, leasing, insurance or other contracts that can ensure financial benefits, in which the candidate, the person specified in art. 2 par. (2) or the legal entity in which they have the capacity of beneficial owners is a contracting party;
— whether or not there are donations in which the candidate or the person specified in art. 2 paragraph (2) has the status of donee or donor.
The subjects of the Commission's integrity assessment are the candidates for memberships in:
# The Superior Council of Magistracy
# The College for the selection and career of judges
# The judges' performance evaluation College
# The disciplinary College of judges
# The Superior Council of Prosecutors
# The College for the selection and career of prosecutors
# The prosecutors' performance evaluation College
# The discipline and ethics College subordinated to the Superior Council of Prosecutors
All six national and international members of the Commission meet the following criteria:
# higher education;
# impeccable reputation;
# at least 10 years of experience in one or more of the following fields:
— the investigation of corruption offenses and those related to corruption;
— the integrity checks.
# has not held the position of Member of Parliament or member of the government in the last three years;
# has not been part of a political party in the last three years;
# has not held the position of judge or prosecutor in the last three years;
# knows English at a sufficient level.
5 - Does the Pre-Vetting Commission select the members of the Superior Council of Magistracy (CSM) and the Superior Council of Prosecutors (CSP)?
The Evaluation Commission does not select the members of the CSM and CSP, it only verifies the ethical and financial integrity of the judges and prosecutors who submit their candidacies for the position of member of the Superior Council of Magistracy (CSM) or the Superior Council of Prosecutors (CSP). Afterwards, those who pass the integrity test are appointed to the governing bodies of the CSP and CSM by judges and prosecutors. Only those with integrity will be proposed to the general meetings of prosecutors and judges, to be appointed to the CSP or CSM.
The Evaluation Commission accumulates and verifies the information held within 30 days at most from the receipt of the statements. In order to elucidate any identified uncertainties, the Evaluation Commission may request, at any stage of the evaluation procedure, additional data and information from the evaluated candidates. Thus, the deadline can be extended by another 15 days.
Following the evaluation procedure, the Evaluation Commission issues a reasoned decision regarding the promotion or non-promotion of the evaluation. The decision of the Evaluation Commission is adopted by the vote of the majority of the members participating in its taking. The members of the Evaluation Commission do not have the right to abstain from voting.
In case of parity of votes, the Evaluation Commission will repeatedly examine the information about the respective candidate and submit it to the vote the following day. If the parity of votes is found repeatedly, it is considered that the candidate did not pass the evaluation.
It is considered that a candidate does not meet the integrity criteria if there are serious doubts regarding the candidate's ethical and financial integrity.
The decision of the Evaluation Commission can be appealed by the evaluated candidate within five days from the date of receipt by him of the reasoned decision, without following the prior procedure.
In case of failure to pass the evaluation, the person will not be able to apply, but will have the right to appeal the evaluation decision to a special panel of three judges of the Supreme Court of Justice. If it accepts the appeal, the panel will cancel the decision and order a new evaluation by the Evaluation Commission. The appeal will not suspend the election.
The members of the Commission are remunerated from the state budget of the Republic of Moldova and receive a monthly allowance equivalent to twice the basic salary of a judge of the Supreme Court of Justice with more than 16 years of service as a judge.
Any citizen may submit evidence-based information regarding the financial and ethical integrity of candidates for membership in the CSM or CSP. The information will be sent to the Commission's email address: email@example.com. This will be processed by the Commission Secretariat and will remain fully confidential.