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Recognition of Moldovan citizenship by ICT Ministry - Constitutional (Complaint no. 10/2015)
On 6 October 2015, the Constitutional Court ruled on the constitutionality of Article 28.b of Law on citizenship of the Republic of Moldova no. 1024 of 2 June 2000 (Complaint no. 10/2015).
Circumstances of the case
The case originated in the complaint lodged with the Constitutional Court on 31 March 2015 by MPs Ion Casian and Valeriu Munteanu.
According to Article 28.b of Law on citizenship of the Republic of Moldova, the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (ICT Ministry) "examines applications for acquisition of citizenship by recognition, and takes the decision to recognize or refuse citizenship. In case of persons who hold the citizenship of another country, a decision shall be taken in line with the well-reasoned Note of the Information and Security Service."
The authors claimed that the duties of ICT Ministry infringe upon the competence of the President of the Republic of Moldova "to settle the issues on the citizenship" provided by Article 88.c of the Constitution.
The Constitutional Court ruled on the complaint in the following composition:
Mr Alexandru TĂNASE, President,
Mr Aurel BĂIEȘU,
Mr Igor DOLEA,
Mr Tudor PANȚÎRU, judges
Conclusions of the Court
Hearing the reasoning of the parties and examining the case files, the Court held that under Article 17.1 of the Constitution, the citizenship of the Republic of Moldova can be acquired, maintained or withdrawn only under the conditions provided for by organic law.
Also, Article 88.c of the Constitution provides that the President of the Republic of Moldova "settles the issues on the citizenship of the Republic of Moldova."
The Court held that this competence of the President of Moldova does not suppose any exclusive duties that would cover the entire spectrum of citizenship procedures.
Given the nature and status of the office of President of the Republic, his competences on citizenship refer to issues involving the sovereign and discretionary right of the State to grant citizenship, such as naturalization and recovery, in cases where citizenship is granted by Presidential decree.
Under Article 10 of Law on citizenship, apart from naturalization and recovery (competences of the President of the Republic of Moldova), citizenship is acquired by birth, recognition and adoption. In these three cases, the citizenship of the Republic of Moldova is only confirmed, based on documents and simplified administrative procedures, with no need for a Presidential decree to be issued in this regard.
The Court noted that the essence of the institution of citizenship recognition is that the State can restore the citizenship of those who had the vocation to possess it due to political and legal circumstances or have lost it as a result of specific historical events (state border changes, deportations, etc.).
Article 12 of Law on citizenship provides that there shall be recognized as citizens of the Republic of Moldova individuals who have expressed their wish to become citizens of the Republic of Moldova, as follows: a) those born on the territory of Republic of Moldova or those who have at least one of their grand/parents born on the above-mentioned territory; b) those who before 28 June 1940 resided in Basarabia, North Bucovina, Hertza Region, and the M.A.S.S.R. (Moldovan Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic encompassing the breakaway region of Transnistria and a number of territories that are now part of Ukraine), their descendants, c) those who have been deported or those who have fled the Republic of Moldova, since 28 June 1940, and the descendants thereof; d) those who on 23 June 1990 were residing and keep reside, lawful and habitual in the Republic of Moldova.
In light of the above reasons, the Court concluded that, in this specific case, the ICT Ministry only determines a fact based on supporting documents, with no discretion to grant or deny citizenship if all the conditions provided by law are met, and therefore does not infringe the competences of the President of the Republic of Moldova on citizenship, provided for by Article 88.c of the Constitution.
Judgment of the Court
Stemming from the above reasoning, the Constitutional Court:
- rejected the complaint of MPs Alla Dolință and Vasile Bolea;
- declared constitutional Article 28.b of Law no. 1024 of 2 June 2000 on citizenship of the Republic of Moldova.
The Judgment of the Constitutional Court is final, cannot be appealed, shall enter into force on the date of passing, and shall be published in the Official Gazette of the Republic of Moldova.