On 27 November 2018, Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum (EaP CSF) took part in the 4th Eastern Partnership Panel on Rule of Law, held under Platform 1 “Strengthening institutions and good governance” in Brussels. Opened by Tiina Astola, Director General, DG JUST, the Panel brought together EU stakeholders – DG JUST, NEAR and EEAS, as well as key government partners from the EaP countries. On this occasion, EaP CSF was represented by Haykuhi Harutyunyan, Working Group 1 Coordinator (Protection of Rights without Borders, Armenia) and Vladislav Gribincea (Legal Resources Centre, Moldova).
The discussion took place under Chatham House rules, but many of its points were addressed by EaP CSF position paper, which was drafted for and disseminated at the Panel. In this written input, civil society presented the stakeholders with a list of recommendations – on ensuring an independent and accountable judiciary, participation of domestic stakeholders in the reform process or tackling corruption within the justice system. Albeit for different reasons, the public prosecution service remains a major concern in most EaP countries – the paper goes through some of the challenges faced by Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine on a case by case basis.
The Panel also drew on the recent Council of Europe (CoE) initiative on “Independence, Accountability and Ethics of Prosecutors”, launched by Consultative Council of European Prosecutors (CCPE). The final opinion clearly defines the key concepts and the limits of prosecutor’s powers within the public realm.