CIPCR International is currently working on several programmes involving delegations from Moldova and Transnistria.
This programme is being delivered in partnership with the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) through the British Embassy in Moldova. The programme consists of sharing the Northern Ireland experience with groups from Moldova, Transnistria and Gagauzia.
There are several strands to the work being undertaken:
- Transitional Justice.
- Young Professionals training.
- Promoting Dialogue.
- Support to Other Partners.
Causeway, working with the Crisis Management Initiative (CMI) and the British Embassy, delivered a high-level conference on Transitional Justice (TJ) in Moldova in June 2015. International experts discussed the examples of Northern Ireland, the Basque Region and Aceh.
Further details Transitional Justice Conference June 2015
On 5-8 August 2015 Moldovan official delegation visited Belfast to study practical aspects of the peace process of Northern Ireland. The delegates included Victor Osipov, Deputy Prime Minister, Raisa Apolschii, Chairwoman of the Legal Committee on Appointments and Immunities of the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova, Ion Creanga, Head of the Legal Department of the Parliament’s Secretariat, Corneliu Gurin, Prosecutor General of the Republic of Moldova, Mircea Rosioru, Head of Superior Council of Prosecutors, and Alin Gvidiani, Representative of the Bureau for Reintegration.
The visit focused on practical aspects of transitional justice in the Northern Ireland peace process. The delegates had meetings with Martin McGuinness, Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland, David Ford, Minister of Justice, John Larkin, Attorney General, and Barra McGrory, Director of Public Prosecutions. Members of the Moldovan delegation were also briefed by civil activists involved in building bridges between conflicting communities in Northern Ireland, as well as by representatives of Loyalist and Republican groups who spoke about the impact of alternative approaches to restorative justice in societies most affected by violence during the so-called ‘Troubles’.
Transitional Justice Needs Analysis
Following a critique of its work to date, Causeway came to the conclusion that whilst there was a lot of local and international interest in a transitional justice approach for Moldova/Transnistria, the fact remains that there was a level of ambiguity and confusion about the term itself and its prospective application to this ‘frozen conflict.’ Therefore, given that transitional justice approaches rely heavily on the technical capacity and political will for reform, the Institute commissioned a team of consultants from Northern Ireland to design and conduct a needs assessment on the current levels of understanding of transitional justice and the capacity to develop this amongst stakeholders from within the political, judicial and academic arenas in Moldova.
The Institute submitted a report to the UK Ambassador outlining its observations and a number of recommendations. This assessment found that; under present conditions, the potential prospect for a comprehensive transitional justice approach is viewed with both suspicion and uncertainty.
However, in the view of the assessment team, this was largely attributable to the lack of knowledge and understanding of the subject area. As such, with the appropriate training and capacity building measures, there was a general consensus that this could be addressed. In fact, there is a genuine willingness to increase knowledge and to develop capacity in this area amongst the majority of stakeholders, who view it as a “new, creative approach” to meeting many longstanding challenges.
Causeway hopes to deliver a project in Moldova in 2016/17 specifically focused at improving the understanding and awareness of transitional justice.
This project aims to enhance the knowledge and build the capacity of a number of civil servants and political advisers; the ‘young professionals’. The primary focus is to strengthen their role in support of the political leadership and the process of reconciliation within Moldova including Transnistria; this will help bolster Track 1 activity. This will be effected by sharing the experience of the Northern Ireland peace process and raising awareness on inter-departmental and cross-party communication in order to improve relations and information sharing between public institutions and political advisors in both Chisinau and Tiraspol. The project seeks to share ideas, experiences and technical expertise with delegates from the two banks. It will present them with options for how they help to deliver support to Track 1 activities and set conditions for Track 2 to develop.
Causeway held workshops in Chisinau and Tiraspol in December 2015 and February 2016 and conducted a study visit to Belfast and Dublin. Further details are at Young Professionals Programme
Causeway has also been working with the British Embassy to deliver training packages to delegates at the Embassy’s Summer and Winter Young Leaders programmes. We have delivered workshops on leadership development, negotiation techniques and personal fulfilment.
Causeway has previously hosted delegations from Moldova and Transnistria visiting Belfast in 2012. The visits focussed heavily on the central lessons of the peace process here including the effective management of negotiations; the recognition of rights for all sides; the development of transitional justice; the reform of security and justice; and community empowerment. One participant commented:
‘The visit programme – covering political negotiations, community reconciliation initiatives, police reform, and equality issues – was well-balanced and provided the Moldovan and Transnistrian participants with an excellent insight into what a successful peace process looks and (perhaps more importantly) feels like.’
Support to Other Partners
This work continues through the continuous engagement Causeway has with its ever-growing network of stakeholders in Moldova, Transnistria and Gagauzia, across both civil and political society. Causeway also continues to work provide support to partners working in Moldova including CMI, the OSCE and the EU.
Recently Causeway facilitated a CMI Moldovan/Gagauzian delegation to Britain. On March 15-19 2016, the delegation from Moldova that includes Members of Parliament of the Republic of Moldova and Gagauzia People’s Assembly visited Wales, the devolved area of the United Kingdom, to study that model of devolution and learn about mechanisms governing relationships between the central and local authorities. The participants are the members of the informal and official workings groups working on improving functioning of Gagauzia’s autonomy. The study visit was organised within the framework of the project Supporting the efficient exercise of Gagauzia’s autonomous powers within Moldova’s constitutional framework which is being implemented by CMI with the financial support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sweden.
During the visit, the delegation held meetings in London, visiting Westminster to learn about approaches and policies the central authority takes in relation to devolved areas and the role of parliaments, such as the Welsh Affairs Committee in the House of Commons. The group then travelled to Cardiff to meet with the representatives, National Assembly for Wales, Wales Government, Wales Office in Cardiff, and also with representatives of the expert community from Cardiff University.
The visit provided opportunity for the group to learn about the principles of decentralization mechanisms, reallocation policies for State and local funds, and distribution of competences and powers. Issues highlighted included the division of competences that rest with Wales, such as education, health, and local governance, and policy areas that remain full under London’s control, including foreign and defence policy. The group was impressed by the attention paid by Wales to the promotion of Welsh language. Meetings with interlocutors were combined with internal dialogue sessions between group members. The sessions focused on lessons to be learned from the model and mechanism of devolution, and implications for the group’s ongoing work on Gagauzia.