Opposition challenges Moldovan Government in European Court of Human Rights over suppression of democracy

By Shantanu Guha Ray

New Delhi: The Shor Party of Moldova has filed a draft claim to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) challenging a decision by the Moldovan Government to ban the party.

Adrian Grycuk

Reports reaching the Indian Capital say the application has been registered by the court and the Sor Party has been invited to complete the file by September 18, 2023.

A legal brief published by the Shor Party – circulated across the world – has argued that the ban is in complete violation of Articles 10, 11 and 18 of the European Convention on Human Rights which protects rights to freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and association.

For the records, the Shor Party was banned earlier this year, with the Moldovan Government citing attempts by the Shor Party to invoke violence.

The application from the Shor Party, however, states that the Party has no history of violence, something which is underlined by opinions of Judges Vladimir Țurcan and Serghei Țurcan of the Moldova Constitutional Court who each expressed serious concern about the lack of evidence underlying the ban on the party.

The applicants suggest that the ban is an attempt to suppress the Shor Party, which is gaining support in the polls, in light of the forthcoming local elections on November 5, 2023 – preventing its over 800 elected office holders, including 68 mayors, from seeking reelection – even in an independent or personal capacity.

In their statement, the legal team said the application has been filed to “avert harm to their rights and, more broadly, to democracy in Moldova, inherent in removing a principal opposition force as well as hundreds of experienced elected office holders from the political landscape.

The application – now studied by many governments across the world including India – presents several examples of alleged abuse of power by the Government, including the fact that the Presiding Judge approving the ban on the Party, Judge Nicolae Roșca, is one of the founding members of the current ruling party PAS and stood as a candidate on behalf of the PAS Party in the 2019 Parliamentary elections.

The Shor Party is represented by several legal counsels, including international human rights law expert Alison McDonald who represented Richard Ratcliffe in seeking the release of his wife Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe from detention in Iran.

There have historically been several cases of political parties from across Europe winning their claims against governments following having been outlawed, including the Republican Party of Russia, banned in 2007 by the Russian Government.