Induction and Capacity Building Support for Law Enforcement Officials in Moldova in Transitional Justice as a Mechanism of Post-Conflict Settlement
During August 2016 – March 2017, Causeway Initiative for Peace-Building and Conflict Resolution International carried out a project on Induction and Capacity Building Support for Law Enforcement Officials in the Republic of Moldova in Transitional Justice as a Mechanism of Post-Conflict Settlement. The British Embassy in Chisinau offered financial support for this project under the Conflict Stability and Security Fund.
This programme aims to initiate a discussion at the level of law enforcement professionals about the definitions of transitional justice and how this innovative mechanism can be applied and function in the context of the Transnistrian settlement process. To this end, Causeway Initiative established partnerships with key governmental institutions – the General Prosecutor’s Office, the Superior Council of Magistrates and the Bureau for the Reintegration Policies under the Government of the Republic of Moldova.
In November, Kingsley Donaldson, executive director of Causeway Initiative, and General Prosecutor of Moldova Mr Eduard Harunjen signed a Memorandum of Understanding between the two institutions.
In November the programme launched with a target to train a total of 127 prosecutors and 34 judges from around the country. The training curricula was tailored by a mixed team of trainers, with 2 national and 2 international specialists in the field of international law, EU law, conflict transformation and law enforcement. It was paramount to include a member of the Moldovan Prosecution Service in the team of trainers in order to create local ownership for follow-up work in this field.
To target law enforcement professionals such as prosecutors and judges as primary audience was of special significance as Causeway’s goal is to generate a good understanding of the transitional justice principles among those who will eventually be accountable for translating into practice the legal and theoretical aspects of what may become a transitional justice model of the Republic of Moldova. To guide the participants, the trainers introduced them to various international practices, such as that of Northern Ireland, Columbia and South Africa. In the practical part of the training, participants worked in groups to analyse the prospects of using such transitional justice tools as institutional reform, truth commissions, amnesty and prosecution, reparations and ultimately reconciliation.
The importance of this project has been recognised by numerous participants and key national partners. Her Majesty’s Ambassador Lucy Joyce spoke at one of the trainings underlining that “the key thing is for all the involved actors to start working together at creating the favourable conditions for applying such an approach. Building the understanding about what is Transitional Justice and how it can help in the case of Moldova is the very first step. Adapting and improving the legal framework of the Republic of Moldova is what we hope to see next.”
The GPO seconded a senior member of staff, Mr Ruslan Lungu, to the Transitional Justice training team. He commented “by the end of each training session, the participants would conclude that, despite a strong public opinion of the opposite, issues related to the Transnistrian conflict settlement weren’t impossible to deal with. On the contrary, trainees would agree that practices from other countries where conflict would be solved showed how it was possible to achieve efficient results. As a trainer I noticed that by the end of a training session every other participant would leave with the readiness to participate and to engage in the transitional process. Such a result makes for a driver of change. I am convinced that this goal was fully achieved.”
Mr Eduard Harunjen, the General Prosecutor, also said that “By adding such a substantive added value [as Transitional Justice] to the configuration of our efforts, we will promote best practices of conflict resolution, allowing us to develop transitional justice mechanisms and initiatives for the sake of peace process.”
As a result, Causeway Initiative has successfully laid the foundation for the development of a transitional justice model in Moldova. We strengthened and extended our partnerships in order to continue this innovative work for the mutual benefit of all residents of the Republic of Moldova, including Transnistria.