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31.10
2017

The Court Delivered a Positive Opinion on the Amendment of Article 13 of the Constitution

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On 31 October 2017, the Constitutional Court of Moldova delivered its Opinion of the initiative to amend Article 13 of the Constitution of Moldova.

 Circumstances of the case

The case originated in an application lodged with the Constitutional Court of Moldova on 13 October 2017, by a group of MPs.

The draft law proposes an amendment to the Constitution – an amendment to be brought to Article 13, by replacing the phrase ”the Moldovan language based on Latin alphabet” with the phrase “Romanian language.” The application was examined by the Constitutional Court in the following composition:

Mr Tudor PANȚÎRU, President,

Mr Aurel BĂIEȘU,

Mr Igor DOLEA,

Mrs Victoria IFTODI,

Mr Victor POPA,

Mr Veaceslav ZAPOROJAN, judges.

Conclusions of the Court

Examining the draft constitutional law, the Court noted that it refers to an amendment of the Constitution – an amendment to be brought to Article 13, by replacing the phrase ”the Moldovan language based on the Latin alphabet” with the phrase “Romanian language.”

The Court underscored that, in its Judgment no. 36 of 5 December 2013 on the interpretation of Article 13.1 of the Constitution correlated with the Preamble of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence of the Republic of Moldova, the Constitutional Court held that the Declaration of Independence operates with the term “Romanian language.”

The Court mentioned that the reference to “Romanian language” as state language is a factual situation enshrined in the text of the Declaration itself, which is the founding act of the State Republic of Moldova. Irrespective of the glossonymes in legal use prior to independence, the Declaration of Independence operated a clear-cut distinction, opting clearly for the phrase “Romanian language.”

Subsequently, the Court underlined that the provision of the Declaration of Independence on Romanian language as the official language of Moldova takes precedence over the provision on Moldovan language of Article 13 of the Constitution.

The Court underlined that the initiative to amend Article 13 of the Constitution is not an ordinary initiative on amending the Constitution, but rather a technical one resulting from the duty to execute the judgments of the Constitutional Court, i.e. Judgment no. 36 of 5 December 2013 enjoys res judicata status, it being executory for all public authorities and for all individuals and legal entities.

Therefore, considering the abovementioned, the Court observed that the draft law on amending Article 13 of the Constitution, advanced for the purposes of executing the Judgment of the Constitutional Court no. 36 of 5 December 2013, has no legal inconsistencies or inaccuracies and shall be submitted to Parliament for adoption.

Concurrently, the Court noted that irrespective of the passing of these technical amendments, the Judgment of the Constitutional Court no. 36 of 5 December 2013, holding that provision of the Declaration of Independence referring to the Romanian language as state official language takes precedence over the provision on Moldovan language provided by Article 13 of the Constitution, does not cease to produce legal effects, it being applied directly, with no other formal requirements. The Court reiterated that interpretative judgments of the Constitutional Court are texts with constitutional value, which form an integral part of the Constitution, them making up a joint body with the interpreted provisions. Therefore, all the authorities are bound to observe the Judgment of the Constitutional Court no. 36 of 5 December 2013.

Judgment of the Court

Stemming from the above reasoning, the Constitutional Court held:

- The initiative to amend the Constitution, drafted with a view to execute the Judgment of the Constitutional Court no. 36 of 5 December 2013 on the interpretation of Article 13.1 of the Constitution correlated with the Preamble of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence of the Republic of Moldova does not infringe upon the limits of revision imposed by the provisions of Article 142.2 of the Constitution.

This Opinion of the Constitutional Court is final, cannot be subject to any appeal, enters into force as of the date of adoption and is published in the Official Journal of Moldova.

This is an English language courtesy translation of the original press-release in Romanian language.

 
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