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Historical background



In a genuine democracy the constitutional control serves as a fundamental guarantee of the Constitution supremacy. In most countries the constitutional control is carried out by an independent authority - the Constitutional Court.

The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Moldova is a relatively young institution, there was nothing like it over decades and even over centuries in this region. However, the constitutional issues the Court faces and which it shall address pass a long way, also reflecting the reality and the necessity of the time.

Until the proclamation of the sovereignty and independence of the Republic of Moldova, there was no any separate agency vested with constitutional control.

The first legal regulations on the control of constitutionality date from the interwar period. The 1923 Constitution of Romania and the 1938 Constitution of Romania contained some general provisions on the constitutional control. Thus, the 1923 Constitution and the 1938 Constitution granted the Court of Cassation and Justice the right to review the constitutionality of laws and to annul those, which were contrary to the Constitution, being limited only to the judged case.

Since Moldova joined the USSR, it undertaken the union governance model and its constitutions mirrored the USSR constitutions, being founded on the principle of territorial unity and the one-party system, which gave the constitutional control right to the supreme agencies of state power (Presidium of the Central Executive Committee) and the Supreme Court had only some primary powers of constitutionality verification. This control system existed until 1 December 1988, when, under the art. 124 of the USSR Constitution and under the Law on Constitutional Oversight in the USSR of 23 December 1989, the USSR Constitutional Oversight Committee was established. The Committee was established to ensure the compliance of the acts of state agencies and public organizations with the USSR Constitution rules. Thus, in the event of non-compliance, it could recommend to the issuing agency to exclude from the adopted acts the provisions which were contrary to the Constitution. At the same time, the right to modify or to cancel the act subject to control remained with the agency which had adopted it. The Committee had also the right of veto for categories of laws and the right of legislative initiative. The Committee's work was limited in time, as determined by the dissolution of the USSR and the proclamation of the sovereignty and independence of the union republics.

The constitutional reform in the Republic of Moldova was determined by the need to change the political and economic system, thus the development of the draft RM Constitution was conditioned by the need to create a legal framework for development towards the rule of law and democratic, sovereign, independent, unitary and indivisible state. The need for an independent constitutional authority was expressed by the representatives of indigenous doctrine, being easily undertaken and implemented by the parliamentary commissions and the Commission for finalizing the draft Constitution by introducing a separate title in the 1994 Constitution.  Thus, the Title V of the Constitution granted the Constitutional Court the status of sole authority of constitutional jurisdiction in the Republic of Moldova, independent of any other public authority and obeying only the Constitution, being the guarantor of the Constitution supremacy (art. 134). Simultaneously, the Supreme Law expressly regulates its powers (art. 135), the status of constitutional judges (art.137, art. 138, arti.139) and the legal value of acts of the Constitutional Court (art.140). The statute of the Constitutional Court was subsequently developed by the Law no. 317-XIII of 13 December 1994 on the Constitutional Court and Constitutional Jurisdiction Code no. 502-XIII of 16 June 1995.

Thus on 23 February 1995 the Constitutional Court was established, the first and sole authority of constitutional jurisdiction in the Republic of Moldova. The first act delivered by the Court was the Opinion of 18 April 1995 of the Court about the referral made by the President of the Republic of Moldova relative to the amendment of the art. 13 and art.118 of the Constitution. The Court ruled that the Law amending the art. 13 and art. 118 of the Constitution is consistent with the Constitution.



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