Moldova is currently going through a process of vetting all of its senior prosecutors for ethical and financial integrity. This is a process of addressing possible corruption within the Prosecution Service.

While Vetting and Pre-Vetting have gained traction in the public agenda, the two concepts still cause confusion. To clarify, we outline below the distinctions between the two processes, both of which assess the financial and ethical integrity of prosecutors and judges.

“Pre-Vetting” targets candidates who are seeking to serve on the Superior Council of Prosecutors and its specialized boards (or the similar Superior Council of Magistracy for judges). These are the boards that govern the behavior and operation of the prosecution services, looking at issues like prosecutor performance and discipline. This process started in 2022 and is regulated by Law 26/2022. Until recently, this process or “pre-vetting” prosecutors was handled by the Pre-Vetting Commission (formally known as the Independent Evaluation Commission). The work of the Pre-Vetting Commission has now formally been taken up by the Prosecutor Vetting Commission, which was created in late 2023. Our commission is currently focused on the pre-vetting process for 33 candidates to the boards of the Superior Council of Prosecutors. We are reviewing all of those candidates for issues of financial and ethical integrity.

“Vetting” on the other hand, is the review of sitting prosecutors, or those seeking such jobs. Prosecutor vetting is conducted under a newer law, 252/2023. This law mandates that those who hold, or have held, key leadership positions or various specialized positions in the prosecution service between January 1, 2017, and August 22, 2023, as well as candidates for these positions must be evaluated as to their financial and ethical integrity. The law covers over 200 senior prosecutors. Vetting may have serious consequences for prosecutors who are found to lack financial or ethical integrity. In those cases, the Prosecutor Vetting Commission sends a report of its findings to the Superior Council of Prosecutors; if that body adopts the findings, a failure of vetting may result in termination from employment and a 5–7-year prohibition from employment in the prosecution service and other public positions.

A similar vetting Commission was established in 2023 under Law 65/2023 and Law 252/2023 for sitting judges and those seeking such positions on the judiciary. The Judicial Vetting Commission is currently working in parallel to the Prosecutor Vetting Commission.