22 july

In terms of equality before law, Constitution should be more flexible, Anatolie Munteanu

On July 29, it is 20 years of the adoption of the Constitution of the Republic of Moldova. IPN News Agency asked a number of analysts and opinion leaders to what extent the Supreme Law ensures now the rule of law and defends the human rights. What is and what the Constitution should be for the country and the ordinary people?

Does Constitution defend human rights sufficiently? When can and should the ordinary people make use of the constitutional provisions?

Anatolie Munteanu, director of the Center for Human Rights of Moldova

The Constitution of the Republic of Moldova, in the current version, can ensure the protection of the human rights. However, definite mechanisms to serve the people’s interests are needed to obtain this. The Supreme Law is generally compliant with the provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the pacts on civil, economic and social rights. It can be thus deduced that the fundamental human rights principles are sufficiently consistent and can ensure the protection of human rights on the constitutional territory of Moldova.

It depends on the state mechanisms for implementing these principles to what extent the real protection of these rights is ensured. Justice, education, healthcare and science are the areas where the basic human rights and fundamental freedoms enshrined in the Constitution are actually implemented in the daily life.

Some of the provisions of the Constitution must be improved. For example, paragraph two of Article 36, which refers to the right to health protection, provides that a minimum of health assistance offered by the state is free. But which is this state-guaranteed minimum? The working people monthly pay 0.4% of their salary into the mandatory health insurance fund, while the non-working people purchase a health policy. So, nothing is free. This constitutional provision should be interpreted and the work mechanisms stipulated by it should be clearly defined by ordinary laws.

Amendments are needed to Article 16 “Equality”, which says that all the citizens of Moldova are equal before the law and the public authorities, regardless of race, nationality, ethnicity, language, religion, sex, opinion, political affiliation, property or social origin. This article contains exhaustively protected criteria. When the Constitution was adopted, there were particular legal relations, but now these relations are different. For example, the public servant who worked for less than four months at an entity cannot be assessed and cannot be offered a performance premium. Thus, this is discrimination based on how much the person works at a public entity. So, in terms of equality before the law, the Constitution should be more flexible.

The Constitution should contain a chapter on the institution of the post of people’s ombudsperson. This would offer the ombudspersons real independence and would enable them to have more power in the mediation of problems between people. The ordinary people do not really care about how the problem is solved. What they want is to see the solution to the problem.

As to the question when the ordinary people can and should use the constitutional provisions, any person is free to make use of the Constitution when they consider it necessary. It is important that the people appeal to the ECHR. This shows that they know their rights and want to defend them.

It is also very necessary for Moldova to be a party to international treaties or the country will not be perceived as an international law subject. The adherence to different international standards by Moldova would mean wish to improve things. The benefits from ratifying the standards are evident. But the ratification of standards should be preceded by the preparation of the situation inside the country.

The Constitution of the Republic of Moldova
Article 4 Human rights and freedoms
(1) The constitutional provisions on human rights and freedoms are interpreted and implemented in accordance with the Universal Deceleration of Human Rights, with the pacts and treaties to which the Republic of Moldova is a party.
(2) If there are disagreements between the pacts and treaties on the basic human rights to which the Republic of Moldova is a party and its internal laws, the international regulations are given priority.