The Mayor Chirtoaca and the issue of selective justice
This week we have witnessed the end of "we couldn't make it" era in the Mayor's office of Chisinau. The key word about Chirtoacă's detention was "decapitation." Some spoke of it with pride, others lamented it. In fact, to decapitate the Mayor's office, the head had to be around. But it seems that lately the "head" was turned to other issues.
The best description of the local governance are the campaigns for the re-election of the standing Mayor. Sadly, he chose to deal with his camarilla problems, rather than those of his voters.
I don't know if Chirtoacă is going to make a comeback after this blow to his public image. I, also, frankly don't believe that he is going to do jailtime. What is certain is than he has lost his title of a leader of a new generation of politicians. His relative public support was due to a lack of alternative of younger leaders, even if he didn't have too much success as a Mayor. The Moldovan society is quite misogynistic, and this is a big "flaw" of Maia Sandu. Andrei Nastase, another opposition leader, has yet to come up with an original message to differentiate himself from other political leaders. The local Harry Potter as Chirtoaca was nicknamed was supposed to be the surprise of the first decade of the XXI century Moldovan politics. But he turned out to be the wrong kind of surprise.
But I want to talk to you about a different issue. The way justice is rendered in Moldova. And here I will not talk about Vlad Filat's warnings on the future of the Liberal Party during his last public statement. He, who branded himself as the father of the nation, followed the example of the Romans being corrupted by power and luxury. I wonder where his once avid supporters are? Mainly in Maia Sandu's party.
It was quite logical that the state machine would turn on the liberals. They have long played their role in legitimizing the ascension of the Democrat Party to power. Now, that place seems to be reserved for the Popular European Party of Moldova.
It's a dead simple and efficient strategy. You pick some of the leading liberal party members and fight corruption based on their example. The others will fear the same faith and will offer local organization and administrative resources to grant their own immunity against the gray cardinal pointing the "blind justice" blade. At the same time, one can show the development partners some results; ministers and mayors being arrested. And everything should run smooth, but not quite so.
In a democratic society, the criminal prosecution and the justice system have different goals. This situation resembles the prosecutors fight against corrupt politicians in Italy. When they got to Berlusconi, though, the Prosecutor's office "was reformed." Another case from the same handbook is the Uzbek cotton mafia scandal in the former USSR. When the prosecutors discovered ties to the USSR leadership, they were tried for abusive conduct of criminal procedures.
The two most important issues of the selective justice are as follows. The prosecutors and the National Anti-Corruption Center officers are active online in those cases that they "get the green light."
Thus, they become vulnerable to changes in the government's whims and possible targets for the next "scandalous cases." On another side, the feeling that the justice system started to work improves the credibility of the government that controls it. Without an independent judiciary, one cannot ensure predictability and certainty. If the Mayor of Chisinau, the former's President son and the oligarch Pincevschi have been detained, who's next? Starnet CEO, Alexandru Machedon that supports the civil society and opposition parties or another entry on the lists of VIP Magazin, the Moldovan clone of Forbes?
The big issue is that selective justice is just masked injustice. Us, the simple folk, cannot count on it. I hope that the cases that get the media coverage will result in real jailtime and the state will get back the money that the national and local budgets lost because of corruption.
But, where's the guarantee that those that are behind bars today will not be freed tomorrow by stricking a new deal with those in power?