The Chisinau Court has decided that the President of the Constitutional Court, Domnica Manole, could receive moral damages of 800,000 lei from the budget due to being criminally investigated in a case filed during the government of Vladimir Plahotniuc. This was after she admitted a request from the DA Platform against the Central Electoral Commission regarding the initiation of a national referendum. The decision can be appealed in a higher court.
Manole had requested compensation of 1,000,000 lei.
Background: On May 31, 2016, the members of the Superior Council of the Magistracy (CSM) agreed to the criminal investigation of Manole, who was then a magistrate of the Chisinau Court of Appeal. This was after she adopted a decision that obligated the Central Electoral Commission (CEC) to initiate a republican referendum on the election of the country's president by citizens, at the initiative of the Dignity and Truth Platform. Only three members, Dumitru Visternicean, Vera Toma, and Tatiana Răducanu, opposed the investigation. According to a notification submitted to the CSM by the general prosecutor at the time, Eduard Harunjen, Manole was accused of issuing an illegal decision and exceeding her powers by interpreting the Constitution.
The Initiative to Organize a Referendum to amend the Constitution and Elect the Head of State by the People was Rejected by the Central Electoral Commission.
The Dignity and Truth Platform led an initiative group that submitted 400,000 signatures in support of the plebiscite to the Central Electoral Commission (CEC), but the CEC rejected the initiative on March 30. In response, the initiative group filed a request to summon the CEC, and on April 14, 2016, Miss Domnica Manole, a judge at the Chisinau Court of Appeal, issued a decision ordering the annulment of the CEC's decision and the initiation of the constitutional referendum.
The CEC appealed Manole's decision to the Supreme Court of Justice, which eventually ordered the annulment of Manole's decision in March 2017. The Supreme Court determined that Manole had made an erroneous interpretation of the law and exceeded her competences by interpreting the Constitution.
After the fall of the government led by Vladimir Plahotniuc and his flight from the country, Manole was acquitted in the criminal case in which she was accused of issuing an illegal decision in the "referendum file." The prosecution dropped the accusations after hearing the defense witnesses, including Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Năstase, who was claimed to have participated in writing the reasons for Manole's 2016 decision.
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