Soros Foundation Moldova (FSM)

Good Governance

The mission of the department is to enhance transparency, accountability, efficiency and effectiveness of government in accordance with the European agenda.

Justice and Human Rights

The Justice and Human Rights Department’s vision of rule of law is built on the solid grounds of a fair, accessible and predictable justice delivery system, which effectively safeguards fundamental human rights.

The Department develops and implements activities in several areas, crucial for the fulfilment of its vision: Human Rights, Access to Justice, and Criminal Justice.

Public Health

Our mission: to support and contribute to the development and promotion of health policies and practices based on evidence, which promotes human rights, social inclusion and justice.

The Foundation also provides support for promoting good governance in the health system by independent and neutral monitoring / evaluation of public health policy and health services.

Media Program

Media Department's mission: to contribute to the development of an open, participatory, pluralistic and value-based society in Republic of Moldova by organizing, supporting and financing activities aimed at encouraging the development of an independent media sector and improving access to information.

Other initiatives

Initiatives implemented during 2018

10 YEARS OF STATE GUARANTEED LEGAL AID IN MOLDOVA

 

CHISINAU, 16/10/2018: Neighbors that have managed to solve decade-old conflicts, by employing the law; the mother who was allowed to see her children again; the woman who put a lawful end to an abusive relationship; the children who assumed ownership of their parents’ home, having followed all relevant legal actions – all of these are results of the state guaranteed legal aid system, which has been serving the population of the Republic of Moldova for the past ten years. 
In order to discuss the lessons learned by Moldova in these ten years, as well as to share international experience in social groups’ access to primary legal aid and legal empowerment of the population, throughout October 16-17, Chisinau will host the Moldova – Macedonia International Forum: State Guaranteed Legal Aid and Legal Empowerment of the Population. The event will gather over 150 legal practitioners and experts from governmental and non-governmental entities from Moldova, Macedonia, Georgia, Lithuania, Ukraine, Sierra Leone, Nepal, Mongolia, etc. The Forum is organized by the National Legal Aid Council and the Soros Foundation-Moldova, in partnership with the Foundation Open Society Macedonia, on the occasion of the 10th anniversary since the launch of State Guaranteed Legal Aid in Moldova. 
The Law on State Guaranteed Legal Aid was adopted in 2007, based on the idea that effective legal aid is a fundamental element of access to justice, the state bearing the obligation to secure legal aid for persons who lack the financial means to hire an attorney. The normative document has come into effect on July 1, 2008.
According to Lilian DARII, Executive Director of the National Legal Aid Council (NLAC), this type of services used to be a complex legal phenomenon, unknown to the legislation of Moldova before its adoption: “The Law has set the foundation for creating a new system of state guaranteed legal aid in Moldova, spurring various innovations: a new management model for the system, diversified types of state guaranteed legal aid and of the categories of persons eligible to provide it, institution of a quality monitoring mechanism for the services provided, a strategic approach to the field.”
The adoption of this Law was possible due to efficient cooperation between public authorities, the civil society, and international experts. Furthermore, at the initiative of the Soros Foundation-Moldova, a public attorney office was opened as a pilot project in Chisinau. It’s goal was to test the public attorney model within the local context, the new model of provision of legal aid, as well as for the collection of data to be used in the reformation of the state guaranteed legal aid system.
Talking about legal aid, Oliver Ristovski, Deputy Minister of Justice of the Republic of Macedonia mentioned that: “The Macedonian Law on free legal aid was adopted in 2009 and its implementation started in July 2010. The main goal of the law is to provide equal access to justice for everyone, especially to the most vulnerable groups who cannot afford private legal assistance. However, there are still many restrictions to accessing free legal aid. Therefore, the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Macedonia, in cooperation with experts from Latvia and Croatia, developed a completely new draft law, which is currently available for public debates and feedback.
“Legal empowerment is an instrument that is essential in democratic processes, in building a rule of law and a true democracy. Three years ago, 12 countries from Asia, Europe, and America, Moldova among them, have joined efforts in making this concept a reality. Although Moldova has a functioning state guaranteed legal aid system, that provides primary legal aid through the network of community-based paralegals, we still have a lot to learn from our partner countries, including Macedonia, especially when it comes to civil society involvement in providing legal aid services. This forum is about generating ideas and building sustainable partnerships with our governments, to further raise the importance of legal empowerment within the hierarchy of primary social, economical, and judicial needs. Because access to legal aid guarantees, first and foremost, citizens’ equality in the face of the law,” stated Victor MUNTEANU, Director of the Soros Foundation-Moldova Department of Justice and Human Rights.  
State guaranteed legal aid is provided by NLAC’s 4 territorial Offices, with headquarters in Chisinau, Balti, Cahul, and Comrat. Access to justice is provided to citizens of Moldova, as well as foreign citizens and stateless persons, in cases that fall under the jurisdiction of Moldovan authorities and courts of law, including asylum seekers and refugees.
Primary legal aid services have been in continuous development since 2013, through the institution of a nation-wide paralegal network, alongside the creation of premises for legal aid provision by civil society organizations. The range of state guaranteed legal aid services has expanded, covering all types of cases examined in courts, both in criminal and civil cases.
 
Throughout the past ten years, qualified and primary legal aid has been provided in over 400 thousand cases. Presently, 460 lawyers, including 16 public attorneys, provide qualified legal aid. Primary legal aid is provided through the paralegal network, comprised of 52 persons, spanning over 60 rural and urban settlements across the country.