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Intercultural Exchange Between

The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law and
The Legal Resources Centre from Moldova
Professional Fellowship Program
Outbound Project Report, November 29, 2014 December 7, 2014

PFP Fellow: Ion GUZUN,


Legal officer at The Legal Resources Centre from Moldova,
Web: www.crjm.org.
33, Alexei Sciusev str., MD-2001 Chisinau, Republic of Moldova
Mobile +373 682 72 666, Office + 373 22 843 601,
e-mail: guzunion@yahoo.com or ion.guzun@crjm.org
US Participant: John F. KOWAL,
Vice President for Programs, Brennan Center for Justice
Web: http://www.brennancenter.org/
161 Avenue of the Americas, 12th Floor, New York, NY 10013
Mob: +1 917 371 0049
john.kowal@nyu.edu

The project was implemented under the Professional Fellowship Program funded and
administered by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the US State Department. The
Program is supported by American Councils for International Education and made possible by
the generous support of the American people

Introduction
As a participant of the Professional Fellowship Program, I was places at the Brennan Center for
Justice (http://www.brennancenter.org). The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law
is a nonpartisan law and policy institute that seeks to improve our systems of democracy and
justice. It works to hold American political institutions and laws accountable to the twin ideals of
democracy and equal justice for all.
During my fellowship between 1 30 May 2014, I managed to participate at the meetings
organized the Brennan Centre programs on several issues: discussed issues included the
experience of the OSI New York in the following areas: (i) amicus curiae (ii) strategic litigation
and the ECtHR cases, (iii) advocacy activities, (iv) court administration, (v) judicial vacancies,
(vi) caseloads, (vii) mass incarcerations etc. I have managed to meet with several interesting
persons with a relevant background, such as - Mr. Robert Varenik, Program manager at the OSI
New York and professor Stephen Gillers from NYU School of Law.
Additionally to my PFP, I had a great opportunity to know my host family in New York Mrs.
Wenke Thoman and Mr. William III Sterns and meet with my relatives in Seattle, Washington.
As a result of one month fellowship at the Brennan Centre, together with Mr. Kowal we decided
to develop and outbound project. The project aimed to share the experience of a leading
American legal advocacy organization with Moldovan civil society experts and decision-makers
involved in justice reform in Moldova, and strengthening NGO capacity for advocacy and action
in the public interest and discuss on following issues: (i) the practice of writing and appearing
before a court as an Amicus Curiae; (ii) recusal of judges in cases involving conflicts of interest
(with a focus on judicial ethics), (iii) judicial selection, and (iv) lobbying and advocacy in
organization and/or coalitions activities. Therefore, were formulated the following objectives:
Objective 1: Get acquainted with the Brennan Centers experience on lobbying and
public interest advocacy;
Objective 2: Learn from the Brennan Centers practice of filing amicus curiae briefs in
legal cases in the court system and its cooperation with law firms;
Objective 3: Initiate debates in the Moldovan legal community on the submission of
amicus curiae briefs by civil society organizations;
Objective 4: Share best practices relating to the promotion of fair and impartial courts,
including recusals and judicial selection reform.
Ordinary Parliament Elections (30 November 2014)
Mr. Kowal accepted the challenge to participate in monitoring the election process on 30
November 2014 and was involved in a group of monitors of the Promo-LEX Association. The
Promo-LEX Association Mission is to
contribute to advance democracy in the
Republic of Moldova, including the
Transnistrian region, through promoting
and defending human rights, monitoring
democratic processes and strengthening
the civil society.
Mr. Kowal had direct opportunity to
compare the electoral process and
specifics of voting rights in Moldova and
USA.

Meeting with the Legal Resources Centre from Moldova team. (2 December 2014)
LRCM team had a meeting with Mr. Kowal. Were raised several of important issues on justice
and human rights: judiciary, prosecutors system, legal profession, legal framework and
application of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Lawyers Club (2 December 2014)


With common efforts of the Amnesty International, ABA ROLI and American Councils, was
organized a Lawyers Club. Such events are organized each month on the relevant issues to be
debated and discussed with lawyers.
On 2 December 2014, at the Lawyers
Club, Mr. Kowal had a presentation
to lawyers on following issues:
Filing the amicus curiae briefs
in legal cases in the court
system and its cooperation
with law firms.
Recusal of judges in cases
involving conflicts of interest
(with a focus on judicial
ethics).
Participants received of the electronic version of the presentation and additional information on
amicus curiae (attached). At the meeting attended up to 25 lawyers, including representatives of
the Bar Union and the National Legal Aid Council.
Participants received a confirmation certificate of participation (attached)
Meeting with GENDERDOC-M Information Center (3 December 2014)
The meeting was organized as to help a
Moldovan NGO fighting for the respect and
promote the LGBT groups rights.
Advocacy activities for legalizing the
marriage for LGBT community
Successful campaigns and public actions
for rights of LGBT
Involvement of volunteers; motivation of
parents, relatives and friends in promotion of
LGBT rights

Meeting with the Dean of Law Faculty, Moldova State University (3 December 2014)
The meeting with Mr. Sergiu Bieu,
Dean of the Law Faculty, Moldova State
University was mainly on the special
status of the Brennan Center for Justice
within New York University, the specific
of researches, involvement of students
and other relevant activities.
Mr. Sergiu Bieu agreed that the Law
Faculty has no such experience and
practice. In this respect the status of the
Legal Clinic are to be reconsidered and
revitalized based on Brenan Centers
experience.
Meeting with NGOs (5 December 2014)
One of the relevant beneficiaries of the outbound project were NGOs. The informative meeting
covered the following issues:
The practice of writing and appearing before a court as an Amicus Curiae.
Lobbying and advocacy in organization and/or coalitions activities.
Judicial disqualification and recusal, etc.
The entire presentation is attached.
At the event attended up to 15
representatives of the most
relevant
civil
society
organizationsIndependent
Analytic Centre Expert-Group,
Association for Participatory
Democracy
(ADEPT),
Keystone-Moldova,
Soros
Foundation-Moldova, National
Youth Council of Moldova. At
the meeting attended members of
the Human Rights Resource
Group, created by the Soros
Foundation-Moldova. The group
is created as to enhance with
skills a group of human rights activists
Milestii Mici Vinery (6 December 2014)
Enhancing Moldovan professionals during Mr.
Kowals visit in Moldova, of course had a
cultural side. Mr. Kowal learned on ground
about the Moldovan wine heritage included in
the Guiness Book the Milestii Mici Vinery.

Findings and Conclusions:


The opportunity of having Mr. Kowal involved in the outbound project was relevant for
the Legal Resources Centre from Moldova and several of open-minded civil society
representatives and lawyers on issues of lobby, advocacy, amicus curiae, disqualification
and recusal, filing actions in public interest, rights of LGBT, etc.
Relevant Moldovan public authorities and judges are not ready to discuss about filing by
NGOs of an Amicus Curiae.
Lawyers are to be trained in legislation issues how properly to apply this opportunity. In
relevant cases. Lawyers can request courts to allow specialized NGOs to present their
expertise.
Lawyers do not consider the opportunity to invite ombudsman office in case it has
relevant expertise/knowledge nondiscrimination, prisons, psychiatric institutions, etc.
Specialized NGOs and lawyers have to advocate for opportunities provided by law to file
Amicus Curiae. It is recommended to start with social rights.
Recusal system in Moldova and US is too different. Moldovan Lawyers can consider the
journalists investigations on judges integrity.
Moldovan civil society experts and decision-makers learned about the Brennan Centers
practice of filing amicus curiae briefs in legal cases in the court system, which they can
use for developing similar practices in Moldova;
Established networking between Moldovan and American experts acting in governmental
and non-governmental field with a focus on rule of law, advocacy and action in public
interest;
Initiated debate on developing procedural rules for filing amicus curiae by civil society to
the Constitutional Court and courts. Legal Resources Centre from Moldova will
encourage mass-media to attend to the event as to promote the discussed issues.