In spite of the maximum solidarity in support of Manole, not long ago the SCM decided to approve the beginning of criminal prosecution of the magistrate.
The judges and civil society in solidarity with Manole
Yesterday evening, several judges from the Court of Appeal mobilized themselves to support Domnica Manole. Fifteen judges have signed and sent a letter to the SCM stating that the actions of the General Interim Prosecutor, Mr. Eduard Harunjen, are against the justice and cannot remain without a reaction from judges’s side: "The General Interim Prosecutor assumed an unprecedented attack on the independence of justice contrary to international standards in the field of justice, contrary to the objectives of the European integration promoted by the judiciary", it is mentioned in a letter sent by the magistrates of the SCM, quoted by Ziarul de Garda.
„We, the judges, cannot ensure the justice under the threat of criminal liability, the ensurance of the independence and impartiality in the process of justice is the professional duty of every judge, this being the reason why we have an obligation to oppose both to individual acts of intimidation and persecution of judges, and to those of a systemic nature – admitted as a result of abuse in individual cases", is written in the letter.
zdg.mdZDG also writes that public solidarity of judges in favor of a colleague is practically a premiere for the justice system in our country.
Harunjen's decision to seize the SCM to start an investigation on the judge Domnica Manole was criticized by the civil society. Several NGOs have signed an appeal to the Prosecution Service and the SCM, stating that Harunjen’s request is biased and dangerous for the entire judicial system, writes jurnal.md. According to ZdG, these include: the Legal Resources Centre in Moldova, the Embassy for Human Rights, the "Promo-LEX" Association, the Association for Participatory Democracy, the Association for efficient and responsible governance, Independent Press Association, Center for Investigative Journalism, the Independent Journalism Center, the Public Policy Institute, the Institute for Development and Social Initiatives " Viitorul " and Transparency International Moldova.
The concerned judge also had a reaction. According to jurnal.md, Domnica Manole sent a statement to the embassies in Chisinau showing she is alarmed by her intimidation, for having allowed herself during her work to criticize the promotion of magistrates and that as a member of the Disciplinary Board voted for punishing such controversial judges as Ion Druţă.
The protest, according to deschide.md, "closed the doors" of the meeting on Domnica Manole case. Thus, the SCM has decided that today’s meeting during which it will discuss the request of the prosecutor Harunjen to begin the prosecution of the judge Domnica Manole will take place behind the closed door.
Legal activity and cases in which Manole has been involved
Domnica Manole has been working at the Court of Appeal since 2005. She has previously worked a Ciocana Court. In 2012 she was awarded the Honorary Diploma of the Superior Council of Magistracy (SCM). In 2014, she became a member of the Disciplinary Board of the SCM.
In 2008, the judge was caught by the reporters of the TV channel ProTV while discussing with the former president of Chisinau Municipal Council Eduard Musuc and giving him her advice on one process, Manole received a warning from the SCM for the violation of the code of ethics, which is the lowest possible punishment.
Manole was also involved in the proceedings related to the closure of the TV channel NIT on April 5, 2012. The judge then left in force the decision of the Broadcasting Coordinating Council (BCC) on the withdrawal of the broadcasting license of the channel.
In 2015, the press made public that Manole was in the list of three judges who were to be prosecuted at the request of the ex-prosecutor Corneliu Gurin. ZDG wrote that Gurin asked the SCM to withdraw the immunity of judges Sergiu Arnaut, George Cretu and Domnica Manole because they had acted illegally when examining the case Chiriac against Vinis-NLG, which reached the ECHR, and later, through a SCJ decision, the state has transferred to Andrei Chiriac the amount of 787 000 lei. However, the SCM refused to lift the immunity of magistrates and in April 2015 the prosecutors have acted the 3 judges in the court for "payment of damages to the state”.
Also in 2015, following an inspection initiated by the NIC regarding the fortune of judges, it was found that Manole violated the legal regime of declaration of income and property and it was ordered the suspension of the control with the notification of the Prosecutor General.
Manole participated in competitions for several prestigious positions: deputy president of the CA Chisinau (2013), President of the AJM (2015), judge of the Supreme Court of Justice (2016).
According to the portal magistrat.md the name of Domnica Manole appears in cases lost by Moldova at the ECHR: "Avram and Others v. Moldova" and "Hyde Park and Others v Moldova”.
Income and wealth of the judge Manole
Domnica Manole was concerned in several journalistic investigations regarding luxury properties and assets that she owns.
According to the declaration of assets for 2015 Domnica Manole had, together with her husband, an income of 903 321 lei. The sources of income were the salaries as a judge and of her husband's, her pension, the teaching activity, financial deposits and the sale of six cars (the biggest part of the income). Manole is the magistrate who holds most transportation units among the judges, as the press wrote in 2013. In the 2012 statement, the judge indicated 11 cars, some of which were given to certain taxi companies.
Manole family real estate property consists of an orchard worth 40 329 lei; an apartment worth 942 967 lei, purchased in 2010; a garage worth 35 715 lei and a car worth 30800 lei.
Besides the 6 cars that have been sold, Manole family owns two cars, one worth 190 thousand lei, purchased in 2010 and another one worth 55 thousand lei, purchased in 2011.
Judge’s financial assets should not be neglected as well. Last year she opened an account with the balance of 205 480 lei, and this year she opened one of 20253 lei and another one of 4 euros. In addition, the judge has two accounts, opened in 2012, one of $ 249 and one of 100 euro.
Manole family owns 230 shares with a purchase value of 10 lei, 33.3% in an enterprise with the purchase value of 1798 lei and 100% in an enterprise with the purchase value of 5400 lei.
Manole declares three debts: 20 000 euro contracted in 2014, 20 000 euros and 4000 lei in 2015.
Reactions on Manole case
Ion Diacov, ex-prosecutor wrote on the portal anticoruptie.md:
Of course it smells from a mile of POLITICS, where do you see here the forgery or other intentional violations of criminal procedural legislation that has been committed by the the judge Mrs. Manole? In Soviet theory about State and Law we were told that there cannot be justice from Tambov or justice from Oriol or Rostov-on-Don, the justice must be uniform throughout the country... Here, the Prosecutor General’s Office understands justice depending on "who orders the music". Diacov came with a few examples where judges with more serious offenses have escaped punishment. Diacov concluded his message of support to the judge by the following: "Indifference will decide our fate. Sooner or later, INJUSTICE will enter the house and soul of each of us. Yesterday it was me, today is Domnica Manole, who will be next? Anyone who has a VIEW, another view.
Prosecutor General's Office started to work ... Only that instead of initiating complaints against judges who participated in raider attacks on the banking sector to launder billions and at other corruption acts, the General Interim Prosecutor wants to prosecute the judge who forced the CEC to organize a referendum to amend the Constitution. This is another example of intimidation of judges who dare to oppose the regime. It is a further proof of the true intentions of this government.
Romanian Judges Forum in Romania responded with a statement:
No judge can settle a case properly under fear or anticipating a favor from any source or being under any improper influence.
Moreover, the SCM’s kick brought to Manole is twofold. Besides the decision to initiate the criminal prosecution the SCM refused the candidacy of the judge for the position of magistrate at the Supreme Court of Justice, which is a position that the judge claims for 2nd time.