OSCE holds roundtable discussion on Moldova's hate crimes legislation
Moldova's draft hate crimes legislation was the focus of an OSCE roundtable discussion that took place in Chisinau today.
The event was organized by the OSCE Mission to Moldova and the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), and brought together representatives of government, parliament and civil society, as well as international experts.
ODIHR presented a legal opinion reviewing the compatibility of the draft amendments and other provisions related to hate crimes in the Criminal Code with OSCE commitments and other international standards. It also makes recommendations on how the country's hate crimes legislation can be brought fully in line with international standards.
In his opening speech the Head of the OSCE Mission to Moldova, Ambassador Philip Remler, welcomed government efforts to examine the legislation through discussion of ODIHR's expertise in this area and existing practices in OSCE participating States. He confirmed the Mission's readiness to assist the Government of Moldova in its efforts to prevent and address hate crimes.
Moldova's Deputy Minister of Justice, Oleg Efrim, said: "Our priority is the creation of an efficient legal framework to protect people who consider themselves to be victims of hate crimes, which need to be distinguished from general discriminatory acts."
The discussion also addressed practical aspects of combating hate crimes, with presentations from police and prosecutors from the United Kingdom and a representative of the Gendarmerie Nationale of France. Issues discussed included the need to distinguish hate crimes from other crimes, the victimization of certain population groups, how to investigate potential hate crimes and how to monitor and report on such crimes.
"Legislation on hate crime can only be implemented effectively if police, prosecutors and judges have the capacity and the skills to identify and record hate-motivated incidents and crimes properly," said Floriane Hohenberg, the Head of the Tolerance and Non-Discrimination Department at ODIHR.
The workshop is part of the OSCE's efforts to enhance hate crimes legislation and practical responses in OSCE participating States, and make these consistent with international standards and good practices.
ODIHR's legal opinion on the draft law is available on the OSCE website at http://www.legislationline.org/.OSCE