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In March 2013, the ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI), with funding from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, launched a program to combat societal discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons and to promote LGBT rights in Moldova. Implemented in partnership with GENDERDOC-M, an LGBT advocacy non-governmental organization (NGO), program activities help to build the capacity of lawyers, NGO representatives, judges, prosecutors and journalists to uphold and promote LGBT rights.
The program provides organizational capacity, media messaging and legislative advocacy trainings to human rights NGOs; trains human rights lawyers, judges and prosecutors on Moldova’s Law on Ensuring Equality; and trains journalists, bloggers, lawyers and NGO representatives on utilizing the media to combat LGBT stereotypes.
The ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) works to improve the fairness and effectiveness of the criminal justice system in Moldova. We help improve the defense bar’s advocacy skills and provide human-rights trainings and support the effective application of the revised criminal and criminal procedure codes. ABA ROLI works mainly with attorneys in private practice, legal interns and law students. The main goal is to help build the institutional capacity of the defense bar, the Union of Lawyers, enabling it to better serve its members and to ensure practicing attorneys’ compliance with professional standards. We help create professional-development opportunities for lawyers, to ensure both competent representation of clients and equality of arms in the adversarial judicial process.
To help improve lawyers’ substantive knowledge and skills, and to fill the gap in professional-development opportunities and legal resources, the ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) conducts trainings and publishes reference materials. We also assist the Union of Lawyers (UOL) in building its capacity to offer continuing legal education (CLE) and to create a community of CLE providers by training future trainers. ABA ROLI-led CLE courses have covered several topics, including trial advocacy skills and the European Court of Human Rights jurisprudence. In addition to helping the UOL build its capacity to provide CLE opportunities, ABA ROLI supported the union in creating a comprehensive member database, enabling it to track compliance with new CLE requirements.
In 2012, ABA ROLI supported development and publication of the Encyclopedia of Criminal Law and the Compendium of Supreme Court Decisions. ABA ROLI published more than 1,000 copies of these resources and distributed them throughout the country. The materials foster greater use of legal precedent by the judiciary. ABA ROLI also published a How to Become a Lawyer handbook for legal interns seeking entry into the legal profession—the only comprehensive publication on admission to the bar.
ABA ROLI attorneys conduct extensive analysis and commentary on draft laws and strategies under consideration by Moldovan Parliament and various ministries. ABA ROLI comments and recommendations have been reviewed by national stakeholders and in part incorporated into the national legislation or sector-specific regulatory frameworks on topics including access to case files for defense attorneys, state-guaranteed legal aid, self-administration of the judiciary, domestic violence, juvenile justice training, regulation of the legal profession and judicial reform.