Cooperation between Moldova and Norway in the field of rule of law.

Brochure about NORLAM 2007–2017 (PDF)

1. Norwegian experience in rule of law projects

Norway has a long tradition of participating in international civil operations and international rule of law cooperation. Norway has thus provided police and rule of law personnel through the UN, the EU, the OSCE and on a bilateral basis.

In order to strengthen its international contribution in the area of rule of law, Norway established in 2004 a pool of experts in this field. This pool currently consists of 45 members, and includes judges, public prosecutors, police lawyers, prison administrators and defence lawyers.

Many of Norway’s most experienced specialists in the rule of law field have signed up for the pool of experts, and thereby declared themselves ready to get involved in projects in partner countries on a short notice. Today Norwegian experts and professionals work in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia and Afghanistan, and now also in Moldova.

2. Background for the Norwegian-Moldovan rule of law project

In 2005 the Head of the OSCE Mission in Moldova suggested that Norway take the lead in carrying out a legal assistance needs assessment for the Republic of Moldova. Following consultations with the Government of Moldova at the level of Ministers of Justice and Interior/Police and Ministers/State Secretaries of Foreign Affairs and European Integration, Norway undertook to carry out such a study.

A team of three Norwegian experts had extensive contacts in Moldova during 2006 prior to finalising a report entitled “A Norwegian Rule of Law Programme in Moldova. Report and Recommendations”. The report lists several possible cooperation projects as regards the police, the prosecution authorities, the courts, the prison service and lawyers. It recommends a comprehensive Norwegian-Moldovan bilateral rule of law project in order to strengthen the legal chain in priority sectors and support the European integration efforts of the Republic of Moldova. The report was presented to the Government of Moldova in the autumn of 2006, and has also been presented to OSCE delegations in Vienna and to the OSCE Mission to Moldova.

Shortly afterwards the Government of Moldova expressed its support and appreciation for the legal cooperation proposal and declared its willingness to negotiate a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to serve as the basis for the project. A formal decision to this effect was taken by the Government of Moldova on 12 February 2007.

Following this decision, the two sides started negotiations on the MOU and the Norwegian side started recruiting the rule of law personnel necessary for the start-up of the project. Mr. Iver Huitfeldt, a senior judge of the Norwegian Court of Appeals in Oslo with considerable experience of running international rule of law projects (including in the Western Balkans and Asia), was appointed Head of the Norwegian team of rule of law experts.

The MOU was signed on 3 May by the Minister of Justice of the Republic of Moldova, H.E. Mr. Vitalie Pîrlog, and the Ambassador of Norway to the Republic of Moldova, H.E. Mr. Leif A. Ulland. The MOU establishes the framework for the rule of law project.

The Ministries of Justice in Moldova and Norway have the overall project responsibility in the respective countries. The project is funded through the Norwegian Government’s programme for assisting Moldova’s sustainable development and European integration. This programme is administered by the Royal Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway.

3. The purpose of the cooperation

The main aim of the cooperation project is to strengthen the institutions guaranteeing the rule of law in the Republic of Moldova. This cooperation will provide essential support to Moldova’s European integration and the aims of the Moldova-EU Action Plan, and also promote and deepen bilateral cooperation between Norway and Moldova.

After the signature of the MOU the NORLAM team worked closely with their Moldovan colleagues in order to identify the priority areas for further collaboration. As a result of these working meetings, the concrete projects have been established and are currently being implemented.

During the realisation of the project, the number of Norwegian experts involved in Moldova may vary from 2 to 8. They are assisted by three members of the local staff. In order to learn more about the members of our team, please visit the “Contacts” category.