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Professional Fellowship Program, Fall 2014

OUTBOUND PROJECT REPORT


Promoting new forms of advocacy, implementing the U.S. experience
3 18 May, 2015

Andrei BRICEAC, PFP Alumni


Institute of Civil Justice, Chairman
&

Liz SEATON
Justice at Stake, Deputy Executive Director

I. OBJECTIVES OF THE PROJECT:


1. To develop a strategy of promoting new advocacy approaches in Moldova.
2. To organize as many opportunities for the U.S. participant to share her
experience with Moldovan state authorities and Moldovan society.
3. To help the Institute of Civil Justice to promote new standards in the Moldovan
justice system of the type promoted by Justice at Stake in the U.S., such as: merit
selection of judges, diversity on the bench and the independence of judges from
political and special interests pressure.
4. To potentially establish ongoing forms of cooperation between Justice at Stake
and the Institute of Civil Justice, which share common goals, albeit across
national lines.
5. To promote in public the project and the Professional Fellowship Program, to
raise the visibility of both and garner interest in potential changes in Moldova to
the benefits of its people.
II. PLANNED ACTIVITIES:
Day

Activity/Meeting Topic

Location & With Whom

May 4

1. Meeting at the Moldovan Bar


Association.
/
Topic: Role of the Moldovan Bar
Association in promoting standards of
fair and impartial courts in Moldova.
Role of Justice at Stake in promoting
standards of fair and impartial courts
in the U.S.A.

Location: MBA headquarters, Chisinau.


/
- Gheorghe AMIHALACHIOAIE, Chairman of
MBA.
- Vladimir PALAMARCIUC, Chairman of
Moldovan
Bars
Young
Lawyers
Association (PFP alumnus).
Location: U.S. Embassy in Chisinau,
Chisinau.
/
Staff of the Embassy.

2. Meeting at the U.S. Embassy in


Chisinau.

May 5

1. Meeting at the Ministry of Justice.


/
Topic: Role of the Ministry of Justice in
the
Moldovan
judicial
system.
Collaboration of the Ministry of Justice
with civil society.

2. Tour of the Ministry of Justice.


3. Organizing a press-conference.
/
Topic: Presenting the PFP Program, the

Location: MJ headquarters, Chisinau.


/
- Oleg EFRIM, Minister of Justice
- Sabina CERBU, Vice-Minister of Justice
(PFP alumnus).
- Lilian APOSTOL, representative of the
Republic of Moldova at the European
Court of Human Rights.
Location: Chisinau press Center, Chisinau.
/
Members of the mass-media.

U.S. Participant and the goals of the


project.

May 6

1. Meeting at the Supreme Court of


Justice.
/
Topic: Role and authority of the
Supreme Court of Justice. Importance
of Amicus Curiae Briefs in the U.S.
justice system.

Location: SCJ headquarters, Chisinau.


/
- Mihai POALELUNGI, Chairman of the SCJ.
- Staff of the SCJ.

2. Tour of the Supreme Court of


Justice.
3. Attending a hearing at the Supreme
Court of Justice.
May 7

Meeting at the Supreme Council of


Magistracy.
/
Topic: Role of the Supreme Council of
Magistracy. Merit selection of judges
understanding of the standard in
Moldova and the U.S.A.

Location: SCM headquarters, Chisinau.


/
Victor MICU, Chairman of the SCM.
Members of the SCM.
Staff of the SCM.

May 8

Meeting at Straseni District Court.


/
Topic: Independence of the district
judges.

Location: Straseni District Court, Straseni


town (15 miles from Chisinau).
/
Mihail GAVRILITA, Chairman.
Igor CHIROSCA, judge (alumni PFP)

May 9
holiday

Excursion
HERE).

(see

Location: Purcari, Stefan Voda District (50


miles from Chisinau).

May 10
holiday

Excursion at Old Orhei, Open air


Museum Complex (see HERE).

Location: Orhei town (26 miles from


Chisinau).

May 11

1. Meeting at the Central Electoral


Commission.
/
Topic: Money and politics.

Location: CEC headquarters, Chisinau.


/
Stefan URITU, Vice-Chairman of CEC.
Members of CEC.

2. Round table with judicial authorities


and NGOs.
/
Topic: Cooperation between NGOs and
judicial authorities.

Location: Public Law Library, Chisinau


/
NGOs representatives and legal community.

1. Meeting at the Parliament of the


Republic of Moldova, Committee for

Location:
Chisinau

May 12

at

Purcari

winery

Parliament

headquarters,

human
rights
and
inter-ethnic
relations.
/
Topic: Respect for human rights in
Moldova.

/
Members of the Committee for human
rights and inter-ethnic relation.

2. Tour at the Parliament of the


Republic of Moldova.
May 13

1. Public lesson at the State University


of Moldova
/
Topic: Citizens and the courts.
2.
Public
lesson
at
the
Free
International University of Moldova
/
Topic: Democracy and justice system.

Location:
Universities
headquarters,
Chisinau.
/
Students and lecturers, general public.

May 14

1. Public lesson at the Corjova, Criuleni


elementary school
/
Topic: General considerations about
democracy.

Location: Corjova, Criuleni District, (20


miles from Chisinau).
/
Students and teachers, general public.

May 15

1. Meeting with the Ombudsman of the


Republic of Moldova.
/
Topic: Respect for human rights in
Republic of Moldova.

Location:
Ombudsman
headquarters, Chisinau.
/
Ombudsman and staff of the Office.

holiday

2. Meeting at the General Prosecutors


Office.
/
Topic: Role of the prosecutors in the
Moldovan judicial system.
Excursion at Capriana Monastery
(see HERE) and Curchi Monastery
(see HERE).

May 17

Excursion at the Museums.

May 16

Office

Location: Office headquarters of the


General Prosecutors Office, Chisinau.
/
Prosecutors of the General Prosecutors
Office.

holiday

III. IMPLEMENTED ACTIVITIES:


Sunday, May 3:
Briceac provides a walking tour of the central area of Chisinau, the area and especially
the government buildings in the capital city. This orientation, which also is an overview
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of the structure of Moldovan government, proves extremely helpful to Seaton


throughout her visit.

Seaton and Briceac witness an approximately 40,000 person peaceful and


focused demonstration against alleged government corruption related to missing money
at the state-controlled bank. Because Briceac and Seaton believe that the involvement of
an engaged and vocal citizenry, fully employing free speech and assembly protections, is
necessary to establish and protect fair and impartial courts in a democratic society, this
activity is undertaken in order to more fully comprehend how citizens in Moldovan
society can and do express their collective voice.
Seaton is also a prolific painter with an active art practice, see
seatonwatercolors.wordpress.com. In the early mornings and evenings when time is
free, she draws and paints what she sees in Moldova.

Andrei and his wife Diana host Seaton at their home the first evening, and serve a
traditional Moldovan meal and show Seaton a wedding video to help her understand
Moldovan traditions.
Monday, May 4:
Seaton begins working from Briceacs Law office, PB & Partners, which also houses the
Institute for Civil Justice. Seaton performs online research for a more thorough
understanding of Moldovan society and especially its political and judicial structures so
she can be of maximum assistance to Briceac in the coming two weeks. Briceac arranges
for several Outbound Project meetings.

Tuesday, May 5:
Briceac and Seaton meet with David Jesse, Country Director, and Dr. Daniela MuncaAftenev, Open World/Professional Fellows Program Officer, at the American Councils
for International Education offices. They then visit multiple government agencies to
request meetings, and also stop by the American Resource Center, a project of the U.S.
Embassy. Seaton submits a requested letter proposing a presentation to Moldovan
students in the second Outbound Project week (a request they never respond to,
probably because it is the end of semester, which they told Seaton and Briceac).
Briceac and Seaton meet with Dr. Stefan Urtu, Vice President of the Central
Elections Commission (Comisiei Electorale Centrale), to discuss a range of issues:
election practices in Moldova, election access for people with disabilities (following a
roundtable discussion held earlier that day), the challenges in voting for Moldovans who
are physically disabled and generally housebound, the politics of judicial selection in the
U.S. and Moldova, and both countrys justice systems in general terms.

Wednesday, May 6:
Briceac and Seaton videotape messages in English and Romanian about the Outbound
Project for posting on the websites of both the Institute for Civil Justice and Justice at
Stake, and to post on Facebook, to build visibility for their work. See both organizations
websites for the video (http://publicpres.info/;
https://justcivil.wordpress.com/2015/05/04/liz-seaton-in-moldova/ )

Seaton and Briceac visit with two Members of Parliament and their staff. Stefan
Schidu, Assistant to Member of Parliament Gheorghe Brega, guides and assists with
both meetings.
The first meeting is with Member of Parliament, Deputy Ion Casian, who serves
on the Committee for Human Rights and Inter-Ethnic Relations. The discussion centers
on promoting a general understanding of both countrys methods of assuring human
rights, challenges in doing so, and the importance of fair and impartial courts to the
overall process. Casian actively promotes Moldova joining NATO. Schidu participates in
the meeting.

The second meeting is with Parliament Member Corina Fusu, a Member of the
Committee on Culture, Education, Research, Youth, Sports and Mass Media. The
discussion focuses on the role of women in Moldovan government, particularly
Parliament, the rights of minorities in societies, Moldovan society and politics generally,
the role that partisan politics play in a democratic society, and more. Also participating
in the discussion is Sergiu Beghean, Assistant to Deputy Fusu.

Thursday, May 7:
Seaton spends morning preparing a document for a planned meeting with the chief
justice of the Supreme Court of Justice, scheduled for Monday. The document is a
summary of the federal and state judicial selection systems in use in the United States,
with a focus on citizen engagement. Briceac is due in the Curtea de Apel (Court of
Appeals) at noon on a case from his private practice, a case that has now been pending
since 2006. Delays in legal cases are unfortunately too common.
Seaton accompanies Briceac and witnesses courthouse and court room hearings
in front of a panel of three judges for several hours in order to better comprehend
Moldovan legal practices. Briceac briefs Seaton on standard practices and protocols in
Moldovan courts. Briceacs case is postponed, as the opponents are stalling because
their arguments are week. Interestingly, one possible reform to Moldovan court
practices are potential deadlines for case resolution at various court levels, to prevent
this kind of problem.

Seaton and Briceac (shown here is his attorney robe) also review the legal system
improvement policy proposals of the Chief Justice in order to begin to prepare for
Mondays meeting (which includes case decision deadlines), and begin to discuss
possible substantive areas of focus for this critical meeting.

Briceac takes Seaton to lunch at La Placinta, which serves traditional Moldovan cuisine.

Friday, May 8:
Seaton visits a morning religious service at Catedrala Nasterea Domnului to gain a
better understanding of the faith practices of the people of this country. Seaton visits a
local bookstore, local grocery store, and a local park. Around the city, preparations are
being made for the Day of Victory the following day, and Briceac explains this to Seaton.
Briceac and Seaton prepare for Mondays meetings with Supreme Court of Justice and
the General Prosecutors Office. In the evening, Briceac and Seaton attend an opera at
the National Theatre of Opera and Ballet.

Saturday, May 9:
In the early morning, Seaton witnesses pro-Russian Moldovan citizens gathering and
piping Russian music at the local park, and also other people and organizations
preparing for the Day of Victory.
Briceac and his wife Diana and daughter Patricia take Seaton on a tour north of
Chisinau, driving through many villages and across the countryside in wine country.
They visit Cricova briefly, and there Briceac uses a map of the region in the cellars to
give Seaton a brief history of Moldova and the region, and Seaton sees local pottery and
art. They have lunch and sample a local wine at the Chateau Vartely. In the evening,
Seaton watches news reports about the Day of Victory gatherings and Russian army
demonstrations in Moscow.

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Sunday, May 10:


Briceac, Briceacs father, and Seaton, visit the village where Briceac grew up, and drive
to Odessa in the Ukraine. On the way, they make a brief stop at the Purcari vineyards.

They lunch together at a local restaurant that serves traditional Ukrainian food, with
servers wearing traditional garb, and go to a beach resort on the Black Sea. Seaton
wades in the Black Sea for the first time in her life, and explains how when she was a
child this opportunity did not even seem like a possibility. Seaton witnesses Ukrainian
families at recreation, and notes that this vision of Ukrainians is probably not how most
Americans hearing international news would picture Ukranians, at leisure. They travel
back to Chisinau, stopping on the way to appreciate the sunset in the XX river valley.
After dropping off Andreis father at the village grocery store their family owns and runs,
they are served a and lovely dinner by Andreis mother at her home.

Monday, May 11:


At her hotel, the Jazz hotel, Seaton encounters several Americans (national and state
level representatives) and Moldovans who are meeting at a USAID conference this week
to discuss methods for deregulating and moving to commercial markets the Moldovan
energy industry.
Briceac and Seaton meet with the Chairman of the Supreme Court of Justice, Mr.
Mihai Poalelungi, and discussed several key topics. These include: the selection and
promotion of judges in Moldova, the work of Justice at Stake in the United States to
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protect courts from political pressure and increase diversity on the bench, the need for
quality judges who are fair and impartial at all levels, and the work of the Institute for
Civil Justice in Moldova. They discuss the promotion practices and the qualifications of
individuals to serve on a countrys highest court. The Chairman had previously proposed
several reforms for the Moldovan courts, and the three discuss those as well, most
particularly 1) the proposal to compose the Supreme Court of half judges and half
important Moldovans from other sectors of society such as law, science, etc; 2) the
proposal to begin to use jurors for important cases where the potential penalties are
severe. Seaton stresses that in the experience of her organization, the better the people
understand the courts, the more they are able to support their decisions and participate
in the courts process. Merit selection, with citizen nominating commissions is
discussed. Because the Chairman had previously served on the European Court of
Human Rights, discussion touched on several topics related to its work, and the
comparison of Moldovan courts and justice systems to those of other European
countries, such as France, as well as those of the United States. There is a discussion of
the distinct roles that the Supreme Court of Justice and the Supreme Council of
Magistrates play in Moldova.

Briceac and Seaton meet with Mircea Rosioru, Chairman of The Superior Council
of Prosecutors and Alaxandru CLADCO (a PFP alumnus), who serves as the primary
translator for the meeting.

They are provided with an overview of the authority of the prosecutors in Moldova,
European standards with which Moldova must comply, discuss the two countrys
respective justice systems, and discuss pending legislation to reform the prosecutors
office. In casual conversation, PFP alumnus provides a perspective on the economic
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hardship posed by Russia in blocking sales of Moldovan wines, while to the west, other
European markets are saturated with wine products.

Tuesday, May 12:


Briceac and Seaton meet with members of the Supreme Council of Magistrates:
Tatiana Rducanu, Dorel Mustea, Gheorghe Avornic and Teodor Crna.

The members describe, in some detail, the processes for the selection of judges in
Moldova, and the role of the Supreme Council and how it is constituted. They discuss
the problem of elections in the United States, and Seaton describes the value of citizen
involvement through a nominating commission in the process of merit selection in the
U.S. The members say that the civil society voice in Moldova is strong and taken into
consideration into consideration in the selection of judges. Briceac introduces the topic
of the potential for Moldova to use jurors in some cases.
Professor Carnat asks Seaton to describe her views on the use of jurors and its value. In
response, Seaton describes how jurors are used in both criminal and civil cases, and how
they determine issues of fact (unless a jury trial is waived) while judges determine issues
of law. The civil duty of jury duty helps with the American publics understanding of
and confidence in the courts. In addition, there is discussion of issues of diversity on
the bench, with Seaton describing how Justice at Stake views this issue: it promotes
public confidence in the courts and results in better decision-making. There is
discussion of issues of court funding, and this appears not to be a problem in Moldova
(while it is sometimes and somewhere a problem in the U.S.). This discussion comes to
a close with the discussion of some members of the Commission of their experiences in
visiting a prison in Arizona in the U.S. Overall, a positive meeting.
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For several days Seaton has been sketching the local cathedral and square in her spare
time.

Wednesday, May 13:


In the early a.m., Seaton monitors the news about U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry
meeting with Vladimir Putin and discussing, among other things, the conflict in
Ukraine. Seaton notes that CNN reports that U.S. military are training the army in the
western Ukraine.
Seaton and Briceac meet with Ronald Wolfson, Regional Director, and three
other staff of the ABA ROLI program: Iuliana Marcinschi, Program Coordinator of the
National Partnership for Equal Rights; Alina SECRIERU and Daniela VIDAICO. They
discuss the ABA ROLIs range of robust programs anti-corruption, equal rights,
sentencing guidelines, unification (consistency of case decisions according to precedent)
here in Moldova in some detail. This meeting is extremely valuable for Seatons
understanding of efforts to improve the rule of law in this country, and adds to her
understanding of the present day challenges.

It is the 14th Moldovan LGBT Pride festival week, and in the evening Seaton
attends the Opening of the photo exhibition Because I Live Here, at the B.P. Hasdeu
Municipal Library. The exhibit features LGBT Moldovans in their daily lives, and is
printed in three languages: Moldovan, Russian and English. They also view a few new
videos along the same lines. There she meets the chair, Anastasia, and leadership team
of GenderDOC-M, the LGBT advocacy group, and also encounters staff from the ABA
ROLI program and the U.S. Department of State (non-discrimination section). Seaton
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extends the greetings of the Human Rights Campaign, a national LGBT organization in
Washington, D.C. (where Seaton used to work as General Counsel and Legal Director) to
the leadership of GenderDOC-M and congratulates them on a fine event. She gives
Anastasia a gift bag from the National LGBTQ Task Force in Washington, D.C.

Thursday, May 14:


Seaton witnesses several games of chess on the cathedral plaza in the morning. A
colleague tells her that overnight, a bomb was set off at a shipyard in Odessa.
Seaton and Briceac spend the afternoon in the village of Corjova, where Briceac
grew up, attended school, and where his parents still live and work. In fact Andreis
father is running for mayor, and this generates much discussion about how local politics
work. They give a presentation at Gimnaziul Corjova to several classes of 5 th graders,
perhaps 40 or so in all and 6 teachers. Briceac describes their work together and their
project. Seaton discusses how Americans teach their children to be active citizens, and
how their schools work. She has a 14 year old daughter. Then they open it up for
questions. The kids ask questions about schools, the hours, classes, extracurricular
activities and how much lunch costs. The teachers ask about teacher salaries and the
requirement that children attend schools in the U.S. They head of school gives a tour of
various classrooms. Briceac and Seaton leave the school with books on Washington,
D.C. and on translating between English and Romanian.

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On the way back, Seaton and Briceac listen to Parliament discussing budget
issues over the radio. Briceac explains the countrys budgetary processes, and the roles
of the executive and legislative branches. Seaton notes that after two weeks in the
country, and having studied Romanian before coming, she is starting to understand
more of the language.
Friday, May 15:
Seaton and Briceac hold a roundtable at the public library. The topic of the
roundtable was: Cooperation between the courts and civil society, the U.S. experience.

Saturday, May 16:


Seaton and Briceac went at the Restaurant La Plcinte with Daniela Munca-Afteniev
and discussed about the experience of Seaton in Moldova.
Sunday, May 17:
Seaton and Briceac were to Soroca citadel. This citadel is located at a 3 hours distance
from Chisinau. During this long trip Seaton had the occasion to see a lot of beautiful
places.

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Monday, May 18:


Briceac organised a modest feast at the office. Seaton and the staff of the Institute of
Civil Justice participated.
Tuesday, May 19:
Seaton flies back to the U.S.

IV.

IMPACT:

Briceac and Seaton agreed that the project had a positive impact. Seaton has had a lot of
important meetings with high state officials and members of civil society. She has
shared her experience and learned from the experience of the Moldovan experts. The
Chairman of the Supreme Court of Justice and the members of the Supreme Council of
Magistracy have highly appreciated the ideas and opinions expressed by Seaton about
the best practices and standards for judiciary.
The project was full of cultural activities. During the short period of the Project Seaton
visited different locations, monuments and historical places. She has interacted with
Moldovans of different social status, age, sexual orientation and political views. This
helped her to understand better the culture, traditions and mores of Moldovans. She has
tasted national food and wine.
The Project had a great impact on the image of Andrei Briceac and his organization,
Institute for Civil Justice. He established better contacts with the state authorities and
important members of civil society. He was invited by the Supreme Council of
Magistracy to participate at the elaboration of a new set of legal initiatives that are
meant to accelerate legal reform in Moldova.
More people were informed about the Professional Fellowship Program and about the
great opportunities offered by it to young Moldovan leaders.

V.
1.
2.
3.
4.

Related links:
Briceac and Seaton at the Supreme Council of Magistracy;
Briceac and Seaton at the Supreme Court of Justice;
Briceac and Seaton Press Conference;
https://justcivil.wordpress.com/

Andrei BRICEAC
PFP Alumni
Institute of Civil Justice, Chairman
Chiinu, Moldova
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