TORTURE PREVENTION ACTIVITY in 2015

TORTURE PREVENTION ACTIVITY

General Provisions

§ 1. Torture Prevention Activity from the perspective of Law No. 52 of 03.04.2014 on the People Advocate (Ombudsperson)

§ 2. The Torture Prevention Activity in figures

Analysis of the situation within the institutions for detention of persons and for investigation of the allegations about ill-treatment

 

§ 1. The Police

§ 2. The Penitentiary System

§ 3. The Prosecutor’s Office

Systemic problems within the custodial facilities, in dynamics, for 2008-2015

 

Summary of Ombudsperson’s recommendations for improving the conditions within the detention facilities

General Considerations

§ 1. Torture Prevention Activity from the perspective of Law No. 52 of 03.04.2014 on the on the People Advocate (Ombudsperson)

 
               According to the provisions of the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, each State Party shall take effective legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures to prevent acts of torture in any territory under its jurisdiction. This obligation assumed by the Republic of Moldova following the ratification of the Convention, binds our state to contribute to ensuring the right to physical and mental integrity of all persons, including the persons deprived of liberty.  
               Since 2008, the mandate of the National Preventive Mechanism against Torture (NPMT) has been exercised by the Centre for Human Rights (now the Office of the Ombudsperson). The monitoring of the detention facilities aims at improving the situation of the persons under the custody of the authorities.

The Ombudsperson Office was vested with the NPMT mandate considering the fact that it meets the criteria of the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment with regard to the national preventive mechanisms against torture:

  • functional independence;
  • professional abilities and knowledge required to exercise the mandate, as well as broad competences in inspecting the places where persons are or may be detained.

According to the Law on Parliamentary Advocates No.1349 of 17.10.1997 (repealed by publication of the Law on People Advocate (Ombudsperson) no. 52 of 03.04.2014), an Advisory Board was established under the Centre for Human Rights, which was aimed at “providing consultancy and assistance within the activity of the parliamentary advocates, as a national preventive mechanisms against torture”; in exercising their duties, the members of the board benefited from the rights of the parliamentary advocate.

When Law No. 52 of 03.04.2014 came into force, the Advisory Board ceased its activity.

In itsthe Concluding Observations of the 2009 on the Republic of Moldova, the UN Committee against Torture (CAT) raised concerns that serious legislative and logistic constraints impeded the effective functioning of the NPM.  The CAT was particularly concerned about the lack of clarity as to what constituted the NPM.  At the same time, the UN Subcommittee for the Prevention of Torture (SPT), in its report following the visit to Moldova during October 01-04, 2012, mentioned the absence of a separate entity and a distinct budget line for the NPMT functions within the Centre for Human Rights. 

In the Law on the People Advocate (Ombudsperson) No. 52 of 03.04.2014, in force since 09.05.2014, the formula of the National Preventive Mechanism against Torture was changed, and the Ombudsperson’s duties for the prevention of torture were transferred to a collegial body:  the Council for Prevention of Torture, composed of individuals - representatives of the civil society. The Council is established under the Office of the Ombudsperson, and the Ombudsperson has to ensure the conduct of prevention and monitoring visits by its members to the places where persons are or may be deprived of their liberty.  The resources required for the Council to fulfil its duties and to contract the specialists and experts are included in a separate budget line, as part of the budget of the Ombudsperson's Office. The Council members have the right to a remuneration of 10% from the national average monthly income for each day in which they conducted prevention visits to the detention places or participated in Council meetings.In its activity, the Council should be assisted by a specialised subdivision of the Ombudsperson's Office.

Although Law No. 52 came into force in May 2014, no torture prevention mechanism was created during 2015, while the torture prevention activities were carried out by the staff of the Ombudsperson's Office. The Council for Prevention of Torture as a national preventive mechanism against torture has not been created due to delayed passing of the Law No.64 of 31.07.2015 for approval of the Regulation on the Organization and Operation of the Council for Prevention of Torture.

Chapter V of Law No.52 on the Ombudsperson is entitled “National Preventive Mechanism Against Torture” and contains four main provisions: Art.30 “Prevention of Torture”, Art.31 “Organization of Torture Prevention Activity”, Art.32 “Visits to the Places Where People Are or May Be Deprived of Their Liberty”, and Art.33 “Cessation of the Status of Council Member”. These provisions do not indicate clearlywhich entity has the status of National Preventive Mechanism against Torture - the Ombudsperson or the Council for Prevention of Torture. Although the opinions about this are different, it is essential that the torture prevention activity be performed in cooperation between the Ombudsperson and the civil society representatives. This implies mutual respect, willingness, and commitment by both sides.

According to the Opinion of the Directorate General Human Rights and Rule of Law (Directorate of Human Rights) of the Council of Europe on Chapter V of Law No.52, there are fundamental premises for the amendment of the legal provisions that regulate the activity of the NPMT, as well as strong arguments in favour of formally establishing the Ombudsperson's Office as the NPMT of Moldova, but based on the principle of choice and cooperation with civil society.

According to the experts, a number of provisions of the Law No.52 relating to the National Preventive Mechanism Against Torture are unclear; it is a matter of concern that the members of the Council might receive higher remuneration than the staff members of the Ombudsperson's Office who have to assist the Council members in their daily activity; another aspect of concern relates to the adoption of decisions by the members of the Council for Prevention of Torture in the context of ensuring the independence of the Ombudsperson's Office.

In fact, the Directorate of Human Rights of the Council of Europe made a number of recommendations to be considered when amending the Law on the Ombudsperson:

  • It should be clarified who is the National Preventive Mechanism against Torture - the Ombudsperson, the Council for Prevention of Torture or both. This is a fundamental decisions, which should be adopted by the Parliament of Moldova. Anyway, there is a strong argument in favour of designating the Ombudsperson's Office as the National Preventive Mechanism Against Torture, establishing the principle of cooperation with the civil society.
  • It must be clarified who appoints the members of the Council for Prevention of Torture. The competence to appoint should lie with the Ombudsperson, but as a result of a public and transparent competition.
  • It must be clarified who decides which institutions for the National Preventive Mechanism against Torture to visit. The competence to decide should lie with the Ombudsperson, but in full and constructive consultation with the Council for Prevention of Torture.
  • It must be clarified who ultimately decides on the content of the reports on the prevention and monitoring visits. The competence to decide should lie with the Ombudsperson, but in full and constructive consultation with the Council

Currently the Ombudsperson is working on the development of a Regulation on the Organization and Operation of the Council for Prevention of Torture, with the support of the civil society.[1] However, the legal requirements about the establishment and operation of the National Preventive Mechanism againstTorture hinder the development of a comprehensive document that could ensure an efficient torture prevention activity on the one side and the Ombudsperson’s independence in the decision-making process, on the other side.   

 

§ 2. The Torture Prevention Activity in figures

 

During 2015, the structure of the Ombudsperson's Office wasreorganised, and the torture prevention activity was conducted by the Ombudsperson and the Office employees. 

Throughout the reporting year, the staff of the Ombudsperson's Office conducted 68 visits to the institutions subordinated to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Labour, Social Protection and Family.

 

Number of visits by the type of facilities

Table No.1

Categories of facilities visited

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

Institutions subordinated to the MIA(pre-trial detention facility)

27

73

83

155

155

148

78

31

Facilities subordinated to MoJ(penitentiaries)

13

44

39

70

60

53

40

35

Facilities subordinated to MoH

(psychiatry hospitals)

2

6

2

4

3

1

-

-

Facilities subordinated to MLSPF (psycho-neurological residential institutions)

1

3

1

-

6

10

6

2

Military units

-

2

2

9

27

15

4

-

TOTAL

44

128

127

238

251

227

128

68

 

The statistics show a positive trend in the number of visits to the detention facilities from 2008 to 2013. In 2014 and 2015, new regulations about the activity of the Ombudsperson were adopted, the implementation of which is still ongoing. In this context, the Advisory Board that used to provide assistance to the Ombudsperson in the torture prevention activity has stopped its operation. This explains the drop down in the number of visits conducted in 2015 to the detention facilities.

The prevention and monitoring visits were planned based on the analysis of the petitions filed to the Ombudsperson's Office, the briefing notes about the situation in the penitentiary system, and the information published by the media.

According to the provisions of art.24 par.(2) of Law No.52 on the People Advocate (Ombudsperson), in its torture prevention activity, the Ombudsperson shall submit to the authority or the official person his/her recommendations on improvement of the conduct in relation to the persons deprived of liberty, improvement of the conditions of detention, and on prevention of torture. The recommendations aim at improving the situation of the persons in detention places. Based on the provisions of the legislation, in 2015, the Ombudsperson sent 15 opinions to various institutions, containing recommendations for improving the conduct in relation to the persons deprived of liberty, as well as two petitions for initiation of criminal or disciplinary proceedings against the official persons who committed irregularities that generated the violation of the fundamental human rights.

Procedural acts by the Ombudsperson (during 2008-2014)

Table No. 2

 

Type of procedural act

 

2008

 

2009

 

2010

 

2011

 

2012

 

2013

 

2014

 

 

2015

 

In total

(2008 -2015)

Opinion with recommendations

 

2

 

11

 

34

 

28

 

35

 

19

 

22

 

 

15

 

166

 

Recommendations

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

4

 

3

 

2

 

-

 

 

 

-

 

9

Petitions for initiation of criminal investigation or disciplinary proceedings

 

2

 

17

 

17

 

9

 

13

 

10

 

4

 

2

 

78

Suggestions for amendment of the legal framework

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

-

 

2

 

-

 

-

 

 

 

-

 

2

In total

4

28

51

41

53

31

26

17

251

 

The main gaps identified during the visits, which were mentioned in the opinions sent to the line authorities are the same as for the previous years:

  • overcrowding of the penitentiary institutions;
  •  insufficient illumination of the detention spaces;
  • poor conditions in the pre-trial detention facilities of the police inspectorates;
  • lack of minimal conditions for provisions of healthcare within the institutions subordinated to the police;
  • insufficient provision of mattresses, pillows, clean underwear, season clothes, etc. to the persons detained in the penitentiaries and pre-trial detention facilities;

In two cases, the Ombudsperson got to the conclusion that the nature of the human rights violation needs to be examined from the perspective of the criminal rules or disciplinary rules applied to the official persons.

One of the petitions sent for initiation of disciplinary procedure related to the verbal order by the prosecutors of the Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office to the administration of penitentiary No.13 of the Chisinau municipality not toallow access to and conversation with one of the detainees. Therefore, during one of the visits to penitentiary No.13, the administration of the facility forbad the staff of the Ombudsperson's Office to discuss with the respective detainee.  According to the explanations of the penitentiaryadministration, this interdiction was imposed by the prosecutor who investigated the criminal case. Upon the Ombudsperson’s request to call the prosecutor to disciplinary liability, the Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office responded that no disciplinary violations have been established in the actions of the prosecutor. At the same time, the Prosecutor’s Office assured that no more hindrance would be created for the free access of the Ombudsperson and the staff of the Ombudsperson's Office to any place of detention, as well as for confidential interviews with any person under state’s custody.

An important source for the Ombudsperson in the context of ensuring the observance of the right to physical and mental integrity is the examination by the Ombudsperson's Office of the petitions for the persons who invoke the violation of this right. Often the facts mentioned in the petitions filed to the Officedo not meet the requirementsfor a petition that could be subject to examination by the Ombudsperson. However, in the content thereof, there may be elements that provide grounds for intervention with the purpose of protecting the right to physical or mental integrity.

            The following table presents data about the petitions examined by the Ombudsperson's Office regarding the alleged violation of the rights to physical or mental integrity during 2008-2015: 

The petitions regarding the alleged violation of the right to physical/mental integrity examined by the Ombudsperson during 2008-2015

Table No.3

Right to physical and mental integrity 

Years

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

Alleged  torture actions

25

75

93

50

35

36

23

12

Alleged improper detention conditions

169

226

249

155

114

131

106

161

TOTAL:

264

536

422

280

217

224

167

195

 

Most often, the petitioners invoked the improper detention conditions in the penitentiaries, poor healthcare, violation of the rules of conduct by the staff of the penitentiaries, the quality and quantity of food, etc. These allegations represent a ground for planning monitoring visits and selecting the institutions to be visited.

Most frequently, the poor detention conditions in the penitentiaries No.13 of Chisinau municipality, No.15 (Cricova), and No.17 (Rezina) were invoked.

               The women’s penitentiary of Rusca has the best detention conditions.  However, in the petitions addressed to the Ombudsperson, the women convicts complained about the bureaucracy of the penitentiary staff. For instance, the administration of the penitentiary forbadthe transmission of anorthopaedic mattress to one of the detainees who had some health problems.  The interdiction imposed was motivated by the fact that the orthopaedic mattress was not included in the list of objects allowed into the penitentiary.

              In connection with the above-mentioned facts, the Ombudsperson notes that, according to the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT)[2], the cornerstone of a humane prison system will always be properly recruited and trained prison staff. The real professionalism requires that they should be able to deal with prisoners in a decent and humane manner while paying attention to matters of security and good order.   

            One of the subjects frequently tackled by the prisoners is the inadequate nutrition. The prisoners have mentioned the failure to observe the provisions of Government Decision No. 609 of 29.06.2006 on Minimal Standards of Daily Nutrition, Toiletry and Household Items for Prisoners, and the Order of the Ministry of Justice No.512 of 26.12.2007 for approval of the Regulation on the Organisation of Prisoners’ Nutrition in Penitentiaries.

For instance, the persons imprisoned in Penitentiary No.13 have notified about the fact that, although the menu prepared includes all the food products that the prisoners should receive, in reality a number of products, such as eggs, fish, meat, and vegetables are not provided for weeks in a row.  Although the staff of the Ombudsperson's Office have not established violations of the law during the verification of these allegations, such information serve as grounds for planning monitoring visits in the context of the torture prevention activity. At the same time, the Ombudsperson planned to conduct a broader analysis of the situation in terms of the nutrition of the persons in custody of penitentiaries or the persons in pre-trial detention facilities of the police.

 

  Training of professional groups

            According to Article 10 of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, each State Party shall ensure that education and information regarding the prohibition against torture are fully included in the training of law enforcement personnel, civil or military, medical personnel, public officials and other persons who may be involved in the custody, interrogation or treatment of any individual subjected to any form of arrest, detention or imprisonment. In this context, the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture has repeatedly highlighted the particular importance it assigns to the training of the people responsible for the enforcement of the laws.

            There is arguably no better guarantee against the ill-treatment  of a person deprived of his liberty than a properly trained police or prison officer. Skilled officers will be able to carry out successfully their duties without having recourse to ill-treatment  and to cope with the presence of fundamental safeguards for detainees and prisoners.

            During the year 2015, the Ombudsperson's Office organised 6 trainings for the staff of the penitentiary system. At the same time, in June 2015, a round-table with the participation of the representatives of the Department of Penitentiary Institutions was organised, where the problems of the penitentiary system were discussed, as well as the ways to ensure the rights of the detainees, and the prospects for the Department of Penitentiary Institutions  (DPI) to fulfill the purpose of the criminal punishment.

The analysis of the situation within the institutions for detention of persons and for investigation of the allegations about ill-treatment

The level of observance of the right to physical and mental integrity may also be assessed based on the analysis of the state institutions for detention of persons (Police, Department of Penitentiary Institutions) and for investigation of the petitions invoking ill-treatment (Prosecutor’s Office).

 

§ 1. THE POLICE

According to the data provided by the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Moldova[3], at the end of 2015, 39 pre-trial detention facilities (PDF) were established within the subdivisions subordinated to the General Police Inspectorate.  Previously, the activity of seven PDFs (Balti, Ialoveni, Straseni, Criuleni, Dubasari, General Directorate for Operative Services (National Investigative Inspectorate) and Donduseni) was fully stopped.  During 2013-2015 (following the reform of the Ministry of Internal Affairs), the activity of five PDFs (AneniiNoi, Ocnita, Singerei, Telenesti and Soldanesti) was partly stopped as a result of failing to meet the technical standards and because of the lack of minimal detention conditions. OnMay 6, 2015, the activity of the Balti Police Inspectorate was fully stopped with a view to ensuring the observance of the rights of the persons staying in the pre-trial detention facilities of the police, in accordance with the requirements of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and  Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) and in accordance with the expert report, which prohibits placing persons in the pre-trial detention facility.

The persons apprehended by the staff of the Balti Police Inspectorate for a period not exceeding 72 hours (according to the provisions of art.1751 of the Enforcement Code) were placed in the pre-trial detention facility (PDF) of the Falesti Police Inspectorate; following the application of the preventive measure in the form or arrest or administrative arrest, they were placed in penitentiaries.The situation is similar in the case of the persons apprehended by the Donduseni Police Inspectorate, who were placed in the pre-trial detention facility of the Edinet Police Inspectorate (PI).

Regarding the number of cells operating in the pre-trial detention facilities the activity of which was partly stopped, the situation is as follows:

-      AneniiNoi PI - 6 cells/13 people (out of the total of 11 cells/22 people);

-      Ocnita PI - 4 cells/14 people (out of the total of 8 cells/22 people);

-      Singerei PI - 4 cells/12 people (out of the total of 8 cells/22 people);

-      Telenesti PI - 3 cells/8 people (out of the total of 6 cells/16 people);

-      Soldandesti PI - 1 cell/2 people (out of the total of 4 cells/12 people);

The capacity of the PDFs within the subdivisions of the General Police Inspectorate accounts for 199 cells for a number of 599 people.

Regarding the capacity and financial resources allotted to PDFs for capital investments during 2012-2015, the situation is as follows:

 

#

Subdivision

Capacity of

PDF

Nr. of cells

PDF

closed/

reopened

Financial

resources

State

and local budget -2012

Financial

 resources

State Budget

and local budget - 2013-2015

1.

NII of GPI/GDOS

 

 

stopped

0

0

2.

Chisinau PD

54

22

 

250000 euro

0

3.

Balti

 

 

stopped

100 000 MDL

0

4.

Bender

72

9

 

75 000 MDL

0

5.

AneniiNoi

13

6

 

50 000 lei

0

6.

Basarabeasca

20

8

 

40 000 lei

0

7.

Briceni

25

7

 

 

0

8.

Cahul

12

6

 

70 000 lei

0

9.

Călăraşi

15

5

 

50 000 lei

0

10.

Cantemir

10

5

 

50 000 lei

0

11.

Căușeni

15

7

 

200 000 lei

0

12.

Cimişlia

40

8

 

75 000 lei

0

13.

Criuleni

 

 

stopped

 

0

14.

Donduşeni

 

 

stopped

 

0

15.

Drochia

50

12

 

70 000 lei

0

16.

Dubăsari

 

 

stopped

 

0

17.

Edineţ

15

4

 

50 000 lei

0

18.

Făleşti

25

9

 

50 000 lei

0

19.

Floreşti

10

5

 

75 000 lei

0

20.

Glodeni

4

2

 

75 000 lei

0

21.

Hînceşti

4

1

 

30 000 lei

0

22.

Ialoveni

 

 

stopped

 

0

23.

Leova

30

9

 

150 000 lei

0

24.

Nisporeni

18

6

 

50 000 lei

0

25.

Ocniţa

14

4

 

50 000 lei

0

26.

Orhei

9

3

 

150 000 lei

0

27.

Rezina

22

7

 

40 000 lei

0

28.

Rîşcani

6

9

 

50 000 lei

0

29.

Sîngerei

12

4

 

50 000 lei

0

30.

Şoldăneşti

2

1

 

50 000 lei

0

31.

Soroca

50

12

 

50 000 lei

0

32.

ŞtefanVodă

10

5

 

 

0

33.

Străşeni

 

 

stopped

 

0

34.

Taraclia

16

4

 

30 000 lei

0

35.

Teleneşti

8

3

 

100 000 lei

0

36.

Ungheni

20

7

 

40 000 lei

0

37.

Comrat

34

10

 

200 000 lei

0

38

Ceadir-Lunga

3

1

 

80 000 lei

0

39.

Vulcăneşti

11

6

 

50 000 lei

0

 

TOTAL

599

199

7

2200000lei

and

250000 EURO

0

 

Persons apprehended for a term not exceeding 72 hours - for adults and 24 hours - for juveniles, are placedin the pre-trial detention facilities. In exceptional situations, upon the request of prosecutors and judges, people may apprehended for more than 72 hours.  This vicious practice, although it violates the legislation in force, was established in the absence of arrest houses, which had to be built in the context of the reform of the penitentiary system.

In 2015, the Internal Protection and Anti-Corruption Service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, jointly with the Staff Inspection Directorate of the General Police Inspectorate, received 45 complaints about alleged cases of torture, ill-treatment, inhuman or degrading treatment by the police staff; two employees were sanctioned.

§ 2. PENITENTIARY SYSTEM

The Penitentiary System of Moldova has a difficult task –to enforce the custodial punishment and not only isolate the prisoners, but also correct/re-educate them. The trends of the past years show an increase in the population of penitentiaries; therefore, joint efforts are required to reduce the number of prisoners. Or, in the conditions of an unreformed and insufficiently financed system, serious problems arise in terms of ensuring the minimal conditions for detention.

The regulatory and organizational gaps hinder the efficient activity of the Department of Penitentiary Institutions (DPI) and the 17 penitentiaries. Therefore, the increased number of prohibited items found with the prisoners represents a concern. This state of affairs is determined, to a great extent, by the inefficiency of the security system in the penitentiaries. Or, the prohibited items are most frequently allowed into the penitentiaries by the staff. According to the data of DPI, in 2015 alone the following prohibited items were found on the territory of the penitentiaries:

No.

Prohibited items

Total

Found on the territory of the institution

Stopped at the security units control points

1

Sharp/spongy items

1015/1037

1014/1037

1/0

2

Alcoholic beverages/home brew (litres)

1238,8/19777,7

1005,65/19777,7

233,15/0

4

Narcotic substances (gr.)

narcotic substances (gr.) -  1542,687 marih/ 37,77 gr. poppy straw/ 0,798 gr. cannabis 20,131gr.heroin/ 4,568 gr.  red phosphorus/ 4,066 gr. hashish/0,528 gr. dry methadone/ 0,983 gr. amphetamine 0,743 gr. metylnetin/75 pills rinostop/ 13,52gr. tramadol/ 20 pills fastoric/ 2 pills  Ibuprofen/ 8 gr. Pseudoeferin/ 1,505 gr. efedrin, of which: found on the territory of the penitentiaries – 436,86 gr. marih/ 12,85 gr. poppy straw/ 0,521 gr. cannabis 0,092 gr. heroin/0,528 gr.  dry methadone/ 0,983 gr. amphetamine/0,743 gr. metylneti; stopped at the security units;  1105,827 gr. marih/ 24,92 gr. poppy straw/0,277 gr. cannabis oil/ 20,039 gr. heroin/ 4,568 gr. red phosphorus/ 4,066 gr. hashish/ 13,52 gr. tramadol/ 75 pills Rinostop/ 20 pills Fastoric/ 2 pills  Ibuprofen/ 1,505 gr. efedrin/ 8 gr. Pseudoferin

 

 

5

Mobile phones (pieces)

4065

3753

312

The Ombudsperson believes that the access of a high number of prohibited items represents a hindrance for the proper operation of the penitentiary system, favouring the ill-treatment and biased attitude of the penitentiary staff towards some prisoners. 

The amount allotted to support a prisoner/day represented:

 

 

Nutrition (MDL/day)

Healthcare (MDL/day)

Year 2010

10.24

0.88

Year 2011

11.06

1.49

Year 2012

13.13

1.34

Year 2013

13.00

1.36

Year 2014

11.91

1.17

Year 2015 (9 months)

13.47

1.14

 

According to the findings of the Ombudsperson, confirmed by the Department of Penitentiary Institutions, the penitentiary system continues to face the following issues:

-        overcrowding of penitentiaries, particularly the pre-trial detention facilities, and the impossibility to place detainees separately by categories, because of the lack of the space necessary for detention;

-        shortage of health professional and inefficient motivation of such staff within the penitentiary system;

-        insufficient provision of clothing and footwear to detainees;

-        lack of possibility to renew the slipping items and the bedlinen;

-        lack of possibility to equip the cells with furniture (nightstands, chairs, wash basins, etc.);

-        lack of possibilities to purchase the items and equipment for the eating facilities and the bathroom-laundry facilities;

-        difficulties created artificially by the administration of Tiraspol in the activity of the Penitentiary No.8 and 12 of Bender, such asthe prohibition to transfer the detainees to other penitentiaries and to the courts;restriction of the movement of penitentiary vehicles with Moldovan registration numbers; prohibition to transport food products, drugs, construction materials and fuel for the penitentiaries; cutting off the electricity, heating, water, and sewerage networksfrom Penitentiary No.8 of Bender;  temporary spontaneous cutting of Penitentiary No.12 of Bender from the electricity sources, motivated by the conduct of repair works;

-        the risk for the fences of the penitentiaries (No.2 Lipcani, No.3 Leova, No.6 Soroca, No.7 Rusca, No.9 Pruncul) etc. to collapse.

Following the analysis of the financial resources provided to the healthcare facilities of the penitentiary system, conducted during 2014-2015, the following problems were identified:

-        increased prices for all areas of activity (services, products, medicines, parapharmaceuticals, contract services, etc.), because of the devaluation of the national currency;

-        increased price for registration of medicines in the Catalogue of the Agency for Medicines, by 15-20%;

-        last round of funding for TB/HIV infections by the Global Fund, for 2015-2017. During the applications held in April-May 2014 for the funding of TB/HIV by the Global Fund, by 2017, all expenses in the area of TB/HIV shall be fully taken over by the government of Moldova;

-        anti-tuberculosis drugs of the 2nd line will be received from the Global Fund sources until 2017, when the funding will start to be ensured from the state budget of Moldova;

-        the national program for prevention and combating diabetes for 2011-2015 (Government Decision No.549 of 21.07.2011) stipulates patients shall be provided anti-diabetes medication and food diets free of charge. There are around 70 patients under monitoring within the penitentiary system, of whom 33 use insulin, for which DPI has to provide about 250 thousand MDL;

-        because of the lack of health professionals within the public healthcare of the penitentiary system, it is necessary to contract medical services from the relevant institutions of the Ministry of Health for taking samples from the drinking and sanitary water reservoirs for the intestinal bacteria group, etc. 

In order to secure the provision of healthcare services to detaineesat a level similar to those provided to the civil sector, annual funding in the amount of 24.672 million MDL will be neededfrom the state budget, given the fact that programs funded from external sources are at the final stage.

By the Government Decision No. 901 of 27.10.2014, the Action Plan for Reorganisation of the Healthcare Services in Penitentiaries for 2015-2016 was approved.This document aims at improving the management of healthcare services in the penitentiary system, increasing the funding for healthcare provided to the persons detained in penitentiaries, improving the quality of healthcare services provided to the persons detained in the penitentiaries, generating resources, ensuring and strengthening the independence and professional ethics of the healthcare workers in the penitentiaries. 

With a view to purchasing sanitary fixtures and construction materials necessary to conduct capital/current renovation works, as well as consumables for the sanitary, electrical, and sewerage fixtures in 2015, 4570.3 thousand MDL were allotted.  During 2015, the financing of construction and reconstruction works of the detention spaces was stopped. In addition, in 2015, the design documentation was developed for the construction of the Arrest House in the Balti municipality and the reconstruction of Penitentiaries No.17 of Rezina, No.3 of Leova, No.10 of Goian, and No.5 of Cahul. Due to the lack of financial resources, the reconstruction works have not been initiated in penitentiaries No.17 of Rezina and No.5 of Cahul.  The reconstruction of Penitentiary No.2 of Lipcani and Penitentiary No.3 of Leova, and the renovation of the canteen of Penitentiary No.4 of Cricovawere conducted using the sources provided from the state budget.

 

§ 3.THE PROSECUTOR’S OFFICE

During the reporting year, the number of complaints filed to the prosecution bodies about the application of ill-treatment has reduced slightly: 30 complaints less compared to 2014, which represents the lowest level for the period 2009-2013.

 

Period

Categories of complaints filed (according to the articles of the Criminal Code):

 

Total

 

art.309

 

 

art.1661 par.(1), (2)

(art.328

par.(2), (3))

art.1661

par.(3), (4)

(art.3091)

 

art.368

 

 

art.370

 (with the application of violence)

 

2009

 

22

 

630

 

310

 

-

 

30

 

992

 

 2010

 

19

 

491

 

284

 

2

 

32

 

828

 

2011

 

43

 

587

 

295

 

26

 

7

 

958

 

2012

 

18

 

518

 

391

 

37

 

6

 

970

 

2013

 

20

 

533

 

130

 

36

 

-

 

719

 

2014

 

7

 

534

 

88

 

34

 

-

 

663

 

2015

 

18

 

530

 

40

 

34

 

-

 

633

 

According to the General Prosecutor’s Office, the trends in the number of complaints shows that the policies developed and the measures taken by the state during the past five years, aimed at promoting zero tolerance of ill-treatment and torture by the official persons, have had a positive impact[4]. The main reasons influencing the number of such complaints are the same as in the previous years:

-      the prevention and combating of torture and other ill-treatment continues to be a priority for Moldova;

-      strengthening of the proactive intervention capacities of the anti-torture actors;

-      establishment of a hotline for information and notifications about torture acts, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, within all regional and specialised prosecutor’s offices;

-      increasing the observance by the civil servants of the obligation to notify the competent prosecutor as soon as they are informed about any act indicating ill-treatment;  

-      raising awareness about the activity of the prosecutors examining torture cases and increasing the confidence of the population in the capacity of the prosecutors to defend their rights and interests.

 

The circumstances that still favour ill-treatment are the following:

-      police officers continue to commit such actions within their activity, which are clearly beyond the rights and duties assigned to them by law; they use the force and violence and torture people, without any grounds for that;

-      maintaining some practices that approve the use of excessive force during the police interventions against citizens;

-      old mind-set of some staff of the law enforcement bodies, irresponsibility of the managers, who ignore the acts of torture in the activity of their subordinated staff; 

-      insufficient professional skills of the persons who are potential users of ill-treatment.

 

In order to eliminate this phenomenon, it is necessary to:

-      raise awareness of the victims of torture about their rights and encourage them to complain to the prosecutor’s office; 

-      provide video monitoring equipment to the police inspectorates and pre-trial detention facilities managed by the MIA subdivisions, in order to exclude any form of torture, inhuman or degrading treatment to which the persons under the custody of these government authorities may be exposed; and exclude the cases of excess of official authority by the police officers.

In 2015, the prosecutors ordered the non-initiation of criminal investigation in496 cases as compared to 527 cases in 2014, 540 in 2013, 796 in 2012, 775 in 2011, 671 in 2010, and 837 in 2009.

Following the examination of the complaints, the initiation of criminal investigation was ordered in 113 cases. In 2014- 118 criminal cases, in 2013 - 157, in 2012 – 140, in 2011 – 108, in 2010 – 126, and in 2009 - 159 criminal cases were initiated. 

 

Period

Categories of complaints based on which criminal investigation was initiated (according to the article of the Criminal Code):

 

Total criminal cases initiated:

 

art.309

 

 

art.1661par.(1), (2);

art.328

par.(2), (3)

art.1661par.(3), (4);

art.3091

(torture)

 

art.368

 

art.370 (cu with application of violence)

 

 2009

 

1

 

97

 

40

 

1

 

20

 

159

 

 2010

 

-

 

54

 

46

 

2

 

24

 

126

 

 2011

 

-

 

58

 

28

 

19

 

3

 

108

 

2012

 

1

 

55

 

54

 

27

 

3

 

140

 

2013

 

2

 

86

 

37

 

32

 

-

 

157

 

2014

 

-

 

73

 

18

 

27

 

-

 

118

 

2015

 

-

 

72

 

10

 

31

 

-

 

113

 

In 2015, based on art.166/1 of the Criminal Code[5], the first instance courts pronounced 18 sentences against 31 people, including 8 conviction sentences against nine police officers, of which one was sentenced to imprisonment with the execution of sentence; three police officers were sentenced to imprisonment with the enforcement of art.90 of the Criminal Code and the conditional suspension of punishment for a probation term; other five police officer were sanctioned with fines. In respect of seven convicted police officers, the complimentary punishment - deprivation of the right to work within the Ministry of Internal Affairs -was applied. A sentence for cessation of criminal proceedings against a defendant was pronounced (according to art.391 of the Code of Criminal Procedure) and three sentences for acquittal of five police officers. 

At the same time, three conviction sentences were delivered against six persons working in other areas (a teacher, a forester, staff of penitentiary institutions); three of them were sentenced to imprisonment with the enforcement of art.90 of the Criminal Code and the conditional suspension of punishment for a probation term; three persons were sanctioned with fines.  Against the six convicted persons, the complementary punishment- deprivation of the right to hold certain positions or to exercise certain activity - was applied. Three acquittal sentences were delivered against ten persons, including two sentences against 9 staff members of the penitentiary institutions.

The situation with the examination of cases in courts of law:

Art. of the Criminal Code

TOTAL

sentences/persons

Conviction

sentences/persons

Cessation

Sentences/persons

Acquittal

Sentences/persons

actual punishment

by enforcement of art.90 of

 Criminal Code

fine

art.166/1

18

                   31 

2

                3

4

                             6

6

                           8

1

                    1

5

                13

art.309

-

                        -

 

 

 

 

 

art.309/1

4                        

                    9

2

            6

2

                             3

 

 

 

art.328 par.2, 3

 

3

                    4

 

1

                       2

2

                         2

 

 

art.368

 

 

18

 

                  19

 

17

 

                     18

1

 

        1

 

 

TOTAL

 

43

                  63

4

               9

24

                     29

9

                   11

1

                         1

5

             13

 

Systemic problems within the custodial facilities, in dynamics for 2008-2015

  • Limitation of access for the Ombudsperson and the members of the Advisory Board to the detention places.

This problem was mentioned when the National Preventive Mechanism against Torture started it activity, and was reflected in the Report on Observance of Human Rights in Moldova in 2009.  The Parliamentary advocate and the members of the Advisory Board were provided delayed access to the detention places within the visited police stations, and delayed access to the materials, information and documents required for exercising their duties.  Currently there are no more such problems.

  • Overcrowding of detention spaces

Following the revision of the criminal law, the authorities have the possibility to solve this problem. While during 2005-2009, the number of detainees in the penitentiaries reduced significantly, starting with 2010, the number of convicts has been permanently increasing.  A solution would be for the Parliament to adopt a law on amnestying certain categories of convicts.

 

 

  • Ill-treatment during the first hours of apprehension

This problem existed at the time when the pre-trial detention facilities of the police bodies were overcrowded by apprehended and arrested people. In the past three years, such situations have not occurred.

  • Insufficient illumination of the detention spaces

This problem was solved in the majority of detention facilitiesafter the renovations that started in 2010 when, upon the recommendation of the Ombudsperson, the Government allotted two million MDL for the renovation of the pre-trial detention facilities of the regional police inspectorates. At the same time, this problem remains unsolvedwithin the penitentiaries. A significant change about this could happen only when new penitentiaries are built, which correspond to the minimal detention standards.

  • Lack of minimal conditions required for the provision of healthcare services within the institutions subordinated to the police.

Following the recommendations made by the Ombudsperson, the majority of vacancies for health professionals at the police stations were filled.  However, investments are required for the equipment and provision of medicines to medical practices from the pre-trial detention facilitieswithin the police bodies.

  • Failure to provide sufficient mattresses, pillows, clean underwear and seasonal clothing to the persons detained in the penitentiaries and the police bodies. Until now, the persons placed in penitentiaries have been provided the said items by their relatives.
  • Failure to provide 3 meals a day to the persons detained in PDFs.

In most police inspectorates, only the lunch meal is secured; financing is necessary for 3 meals a day.

 

Inadequate working conditions for the staff of the institutions where persons deprived of or with limited liberty are detained; however, in the recent years, there has been a positive trend in terms of creating proper working conditions for the staff of the detention facilities to ensure their security and health. Therefore, while in the previous years there were cases of tuberculosis among the staff of the penitentiary system, in the past 2 years such cases have not occured.

 

Summary of Ombudsperson’s recommendations for improving the conditions within the detention facilities

            Soroca Police Inspectorate (visited on May 19, 2015)

-      Secure proper artificial illumination of cells in the pre-trial detention facility of the Soroca Police Inspectorate by mounting high-intensity light bulbs;

-      Secure total separation of the toilets from the rest of cells with a view to protecting the privacy of detainees;

-      Keep the cells, the walking area, and the shower room clean;

-      Secure meals for the detainees in accordance with the provisions of Government Decision No. 609 of 29.06.2006 on Minimal Standards of Daily Nutrition, Toiletry and Household Items for Prisoners;

-      Not allow the persons apprehended for more than 72 hours to stay within the pre-trial detention facility and ensure that the arrested persons are transferred to penitentiaries. 

            Penitentiary No.6 of Soroca (visited on May 19, 2015)

-      Secure an area of minimum 4 square meters for a person in sector No.8 of the Penitentiary;

-      Renovate the living spaces in sector 8 and ensure hygiene and sanitary conditions based on the specifics of the detainees here - persons for persons with disabilities and aged persons;

-      Renovate the toilets in sector No.9 and create the necessary conditions for ensuring the privacy of detainees;

-       Install support bars in the rooms, halls, toilets and the washstand room in sector No.8, to allow the movement of the persons with disabilities. 

      Penitentiary No. 15 of Cricova (visited on June 10, 2015)

-      Renovate the detention spaces;

-      Stop the operation of the cells where there is no natural illumination.

            Penitentiary No.13 (visited on 05.08.2015)

-        Secure an area of minimum 4 square meters for one person;

-        Permanently secure electricity to the living blocks during the day, given that there is insufficient natural lighting;

-        Secure ventilation of the cells;

-        Isolate the toilet and repair the sewerage pipe in cell No.135;

-        Take organisational measures to prohibit smoking in the cells.

              Penitentiary No.15 of Cricova (visited on August 6, 2015)

-          Conduct capital renovation of cell no.28, including the painting of the ceiling and the walls.

-          Mount higher intensity light bulbs in cell no.28 to ensure proper lighting of the detention space.

-          Exterminate the pests in the detention block no.1.

              Penitentiary No. 10 of Goian (visited on September 2, 2015)

-       Establish constructive relations with the staff of the penitentiary and the detainees;

-       Explain to the detainees the competencies of the penitentiary administration, the Department of Penitentiary Institutions, the Prosecutor’s Office, and the Ombudsperson's Office;  

-           Increase the efficiency of psychologist’s assistance;

-          Get the detainees involved in motivational activities;

 

Penitentiary No.11 of Balti (visited on October 13, 2015)

-          Stop the activity of the cells in the disciplinary solitary confinement.

 

Penitentiary No 7 Rusca (visited on October 15, 2015)

-          Include the topic of equality and non-discrimination on any grounds within the professional training of the penitentiary staff;

-          Ensure study of the regulatory provisions on the ethical conduct of the staff of the penitentiary system. 

Penitentiary No 13 Chisinau (visited on October 21, 2015)

-          Ensure proper conditions of detention for the detainees in cell 8;

-          Secure a living space of 4 square meters to each detainee, according to the legal provisions;

-          Provide power in all living blocks during the day, by taking into account the specificity of the living areas, and that some cells are at semi-basement level;

-          Asses the existing stock and provide immediately all the detainees in the custody of penitentiary no.13 with clean mattresses, pillows and bed coverings; 

-          Secure isolation of the toilet in cell 08.

 

Penitentiary No 13 Chisinau (visited on December 03, 2015)

-          Stop the activity of the penitentiary;

-          Take priority measures to build the new penitentiary;

-          Secure a living space of 4 square meters for each detainee, according to the legal provisions;

-          Stop using the disciplinary solitary confinement for placement of detainees and stop its operation, because the problems identified during the previous visit have not been solved;

-           Provide power in all living blocks during the day, by taking into account the specificity of the living areas, and that some cells are at semi-basement level;

-          Asses the existing stock and provide immediately all the detainees in the custody of penitentiary no.13 with clean mattresses, pillows and bed coverings; 

-          Ensure proper conditions for maintaining the hygiene of the detainees and provide more washing machines to the centralised laundry of the penitentiary to allow all detainees to wash their underwear and clothes; take organisational measures to set up proper spaces for drying of clothes; 

-           Take measures to build a ventilation system for the cells;

-           Assess the situation in the cells where the engineering networks are damaged and conduct repairing works where needed;

-          Remove dampness from the walls;

-          Install washstands in the 60 cells where not installed yet;

-          Ensure isolation of toilets in all cells;

-          Provide the necessary equipment (chairs, tables, nightstands)in the cells, where possible;

-          Take organisational measures to prohibit smoking in the cells;

-          Keep the walking areas (boxes) clean.

 



[1] http://ombudsman.md/ro/content/consultari-pe-marginea-proiectului-de-regulament-de-organizare-si-functionare-consiliului

[2]CPT Standards, Council of Europe, CPT/Inf/E (2002) Romanian, page 16

[3]Information provided by MIA upon request of the Ombudsperson (letter No.4/104 of January 20, 2016)

[4]Briefing Note of the General Prosecutor’s Office on the situation with the complaints about alleged ill-treatment, filed to the Ombudsperson in letter No.20 -2d/16-36 of 01.02.2016

[5]Torture, inhuman or degrading treatment