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Criminal Procedure Code of the Republic of Moldova

(General Part)

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Article 8. Presumption of Innocence
(1) A person charged with the commission of a crime shall be presumed innocent until his/her guilt
is proved in the manner set out in this Code in a public judicial proceeding during which all the
guarantees necessary to his/her defense shall be secured and is confirmed by a final conviction
sentence of the court.
(2) No one has to prove his or her innocence.
(3) Conclusions on a person’s guilt in the commission of a crime may not be based on
suppositions. By proving guilt, all doubts that cannot be eliminated under this Code shall be
interpreted in favor of the suspect/accused/defendant.


Article 9. Equal Protection of the Law
(1) Everyone shall benefit from the equal protection of the law irrespective of sex, race, color,
language, religion, political opinion or any other opinion, national or social origin, affiliation to a
national minority, wealth, birth or any other situation.
(2) Special conditions for criminal investigations and hearings applied to certain categories of
persons benefiting, in line with the law, from a certain degree of immunity shall be secured based on
the provisions of the Constitution, international treaties, this Code and other laws.

Article 10. Observance of Human Rights, Freedoms, and Dignity
(1) All agencies and persons participating in criminal proceedings shall respect human rights,
freedoms and dignity.
(2) The temporary limitation of the rights and freedoms of a person and the application of
constraints by competent bodies shall be allowed only in cases and in manners strictly provided by
this Code.
(3) During criminal proceedings, no one may be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhumane or
degrading treatment; no one may be detained in humiliating conditions; no one may be forced to
participate in actions that undermine human dignity.
(31) The burden of providing evidence that torture or other cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment
was not administered shall be born by the authority detaining the person deprived of liberty or that
placed there upon the order or instruction of a state agency or upon its tacit agreement or consent.
(4) Any person has the right by any means not forbidden by law to defend his/her rights, freedoms,
and human dignity illegally violated or limited during a criminal proceeding.
(5) Damage caused to the rights, freedoms, and human dignity during a criminal proceeding shall be
repaired in the manner set forth in the law.
(6) When a juvenile is a victim or a witness, actions shall be undertaken to respect his/her interests
at any stage of the criminal proceedings.

Article 11. Inviolability of a Person
(1) The individual freedom and security of a person are inviolable.
(2) No one may be apprehended or arrested except in the cases and manners set forth in this Code.
(3) The deprivation of liberty, arrest, forced placement of a person in a medical institution or his/her
assignment to a special educational institution, as well the prolongation of these measures shall be
allowed based only on an arrest warrant or on a reasoned court judgment.
(4) The apprehension of a person prior to issuing an arrest warrant may not exceed 72 hours.
(5) Persons apprehended or arrested shall be immediately informed about their rights and the
reasons for their apprehension or arrest, the circumstances and the legal qualification of the action
the person is suspected or accused of in a language they understand and in the presence of a chosen
defense counsel or an attorney providing the legal assistance guaranteed by the state.
(6) The criminal investigative body, the prosecutor or the court must immediately release any person
illegally detained or if the reason for his/her apprehension or arrest is found to be groundless.
(7) Searches, bodily searches and other actions that breach the inviolability of a person may be
performed without the consent of the person or his/her legal representative only under the provisions
in this Code.
(8) Any person apprehended or arrested shall be treated with respect for human dignity.
(9) In the course of a criminal proceeding, no one may be physically or mentally abused, and any
actions or methods that jeopardize the life or health of a person, even with his/her consent and that
endanger the environment shall be prohibited. A person subject to apprehension, preventive arrest
may not be subject to violence, threats or methods that would affect his/her ability to make decisions
or to express his/her views.

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Article 16. Language of a Criminal Proceeding and the Right to an Interpreter
(1) The state language shall be spoken during a criminal proceeding.
(2) A person who does not speak the state language has the right to examine all the documentation
on the case and to speak before the criminal investigative body and the court through an interpreter.
(3) Criminal proceedings may also be conducted in a language accepted by the majority of persons
participating in the proceeding. In such a case, judgments shall be mandatorily prepared in the state
language as well.
(4) The procedural acts of the criminal investigative body and the court shall be handed over to the
suspect/accused/defendant translated into the native or other language he/she speaks in the manner
provided for in this Code.


Article 17. Ensuring the Right to Defense
(1) In the entire course of a criminal proceeding, the parties (suspect/accused/defendant, injured
party, civil party, civilly liable party) have the right to be assisted or, as the case may be, represented
by a defense counsel of their choosing or by an attorney providing the legal assistance guaranteed by
the state.
(2) The criminal investigative body and the court must ensure the full exercise of the procedural
rights of the participants in a criminal proceeding in line with this Code.
(3) The criminal investigative body and the court must ensure the right of the
suspect/accused/defendant to qualified legal assistance provided by a defense counsel of their
choosing or by an attorney providing the legal assistance guaranteed by the state and independent of
the investigative body.
(4) While examining the injured party and the witnesses, the criminal investigative body shall not be
entitled to prohibit the presence of the attorney invited by the person examined to represent him/her.
(5) If the suspect/accused/defendant cannot afford a defense counsel, he/she shall be assisted free of
charge by a court-appointed attorney providing the legal assistance guaranteed by the state.

Article 18. Public Nature of Court Hearings
(1) Hearings are public in all courts except in cases provided by this Code. 
(2) Access to the courtroom may be prohibited to the press or public in a reasoned ruling for the
entire duration of the proceeding or for a part thereof in order to ensure the protection of morality,
public order or national security; when the interests of juveniles or the protection of the private lives
of the parties in the proceeding so require or to the extent the court considers this measure strictly
necessary due to special circumstances when publicity could damage the interests of justice.
(21) In a proceeding involving a juvenile victim or witness, the court shall hear his/her testimony in
a closed hearing.
(3) Trying a case in a closed court hearing must be justified, and all the rules relating to such a
judicial procedure shall be followed.
(4) In all cases, court judgments shall be pronounced publicly.

Article 19. Free Access to Justice
(1) Any person has the right for his/her case to be examined and settled in an equitable manner
within a reasonable timeframe by an independent, impartial, legally set court that will act in line
with this Code.
(2) The person conducting a criminal investigation and the judge may not participate in the hearing
of the case if they directly or indirectly are interested in the proceeding.
(3) The criminal investigative body must take all measures provided for in the law to make a
comprehensive, complete and objective investigation of the circumstances of the case, to identify the
circumstances that prove the guilt of the suspect/accused/defendant or that discharge that guilt and
to identify any circumstances that mitigate or aggravate their liability.


Article 20. Reasonable Timeframe for Criminal Proceedings
(1) Criminal investigations and hearings of cases shall be performed within reasonable timeframes.
(2) Criteria assessing a reasonable timeframe for settling a criminal case are:
1) the complexity of the case;
2) the conduct of the participants in the proceeding;
3) the conduct of the criminal investigative body and the court;
31) the importance of the proceeding for the person concerned;
4) if the victim is under the age of 18.
(3) Criminal investigation and hearing of criminal cases involving persons under arrest and
juveniles, shall be performed in an urgent and preferential manner.
(4) The observance of a reasonable timeframe during a criminal investigation shall be guaranteed by
the prosecutor and during a case hearing by the respective court.
(5) Should during the criminal investigation or hearing of a specific case there be a risk to violate
the reasonable time, the participants in the proceeding may file with the investigative judge or, as
the case may be, the court hearing the case in the first instance, a request to speed up the criminal
investigation or the hearing of the case. The investigative judge or, as the case may be, a judge or a
panel of judges different from the one that heard the case, shall examine the request within 5
working days in the absence of the parties.
(6) The investigative judge or the court shall decide on the request specified in para. (5) by a
reasoned ruling, either making the criminal investigative body or, as the case may be, the court
hearing the case in the first instance, issue a procedural act setting, as the case may be, a certain
timeframe to speed up the procedure, or rejecting the request. The ruling shall not be subject to
appeal.

Article 21. Freedom from Testifying against Oneself
(1) No one may be forced to testify against himself/herself or against his/her close relatives, husband
wife, fiancé or fiancée or to plead guilty.
(2) A person to whom a criminal investigative body suggests making revealing statements against
himself/herself or against his/her close relatives, husband, wife, fiancé or fiancée shall be entitled to
refuse to make such statements and may not be held liable for this.


Article 22. Inadmissibility of Repeated Prosecution, Trial or Punishment
(1) No one may be prosecuted by criminal investigative bodies, tried or punished by the court
several times for the same crime.
(2) A person must be discharged or a criminal investigation must be terminated to prevent pressing
repeated charges against the same person for the same act except in cases when new or recently
discovered facts come to light or if a fundamental breach of justice in the previous proceeding
affected the respective judgment.
(3) The decision of the criminal investigative body to discharge a person or to terminate criminal
investigations, and the final court judgment shall prevent from resuming the criminal investigation
pressing more severe charges or setting a more severe punishment for the same person and for the
same act except for cases when new or recently discovered facts come to light or a fundamental
breach in the previous proceeding affected the judgment issued.

Article 23. Securing the Rights of the Victims of Crimes, Abuses of Official Positions and
Judicial Errors
(1) Criminal procedural law secures the rights of the victims of crimes or of abuses of official
positions as well as of persons illegally convicted or arrested or whose rights are otherwise injured.
(2) The victim of an act that is a component of a crime shall be entitled to request hereunder the
initiation of a criminal case, to participate in the criminal proceeding as an injured party and to
solicit recovery of moral, physical and material damage.
(3) A person acquitted or discharged or for whom a criminal investigation was terminated for
purposes of rehabilitation shall be entitled to the reinstatement of personal rights lost as well as to
redress for damage caused.


Article 24. Principle of the Adversarial Nature of a Criminal Proceeding
(1) The criminal investigation, defense and hearing of a case are separate activities carried out by
different bodies and persons.
(2) The court is not a criminal investigative body; it does not act in favor of the prosecution or of the
defense and expresses only the interests of the law.
(3) The parties participating in the case hearing have equal rights under criminal procedural law with
equal opportunities to support their positions. The court bases its sentence on only the evidence
equally accessed by all parties for purposes of examination.
(4) The parties in a criminal proceeding select their positions and the manner and means of their
unassisted support being independent from the court, other bodies or other persons. The court
provides support to any party upon request under this Code in the management of relevant evidence.


Article 25. Dispensing Justice: an Exclusive Prerogative of the Courts
(1) In criminal cases, justice is dispensed in the name of the law only by courts. The establishment
of illegal courts shall be prohibited.
(2) No one may be declared guilty of the commission of a crime and subjected to criminal
punishment except based on a final court judgment adopted in line with this Code.
(3) The competence of the court and the limits of its jurisdiction and the manner in which the
criminal proceeding is carried out may not be arbitrarily changed for certain categories of cases or
persons and for a certain situation or a certain period of time.
(4) No one may be deprived of the right to have his/her case tried by a court and a judge competent
to do so.
(5) Only the courts hereunder may verify sentences and other court judgments in a criminal case.
(6) Sentences and other judgments of illegal courts have no legal force and may not be enforced.


Article 26. Independence of Judges and Their Duty Only to Uphold the Law
(1) While dispensing justice in criminal cases, judges shall be independent and committed only to
upholding the law. Judges hear criminal cases based on the law and in conditions excluding any
pressure exerted upon them.
(2) A judge hears criminal cases in line with the law and his/her own views and based on evidence
examined under the respective judicial procedure.
(3) A judge shall not be predisposed to accept conclusions presented by the criminal investigative
body against the defendant or to begin a trial with the preconceived idea that the defendant
committed the crime that constitutes the object of the charges against him/her. The submission of
evidence for the prosecution shall be the duty of the prosecutor.
(4) Criminal justice shall be dispensed without interference. A judge shall oppose to any attempt to
exert pressure on him/her. Exerting pressure on a judge while hearing a criminal case in order to
influence a judgment shall imply criminal liability in line with the law.
(5) An investigative judge shall be independent in his/her relationship with other law enforcement
bodies and courts and shall exercise his/her duties based only on the law and within its limits.


Article 27. Free Assessment of Evidence
(1) The judge and the person carrying out a criminal investigation shall assess evidence according to
their own convictions formed after examining all the evidence managed.
(2) No evidence shall have a pre-established force of argument.


Article 28. Official Nature of a Criminal Proceeding
(1) The prosecutor and the criminal investigative body shall, within the limits of their competence,
initiate a criminal investigation if they are informed in the manner set forth in this Code about the
commission of a crime and shall undertake the actions necessary to determine the criminal act and
the guilty person.
(2) The court shall undertake procedural actions upon its own initiative within the limits of its
competence unless the law provides for such actions to be undertaken upon the request of the parties
involved.

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