Ilan Shor faces a real risk and danger of prejudice – UK Extradition Expert to Arutz Sheva

A UK law professor has issued a report raising serious concerns in relation to the legal case pending against Israeli Moldovan businessman and politician Ilan Shor, suggesting that Shor “faces a real risk and danger of prejudice in the criminal proceedings against him in Moldova of an unfair trial, and of grave violations of his rights under the ECHR.”

Professor William Bowring is a Professor of Law at Birkbeck College, University of London and a UK Barrister since 1974, practising at Field Court Chambers. An expert on legal systems in the former Soviet Union, he has given expert evidence since 2003 on more than 100 occasions in a variety of proceedings concerning several countries of the Former Soviet Union.

Bowring’s report came out just days after the District Court for the District of Columbia in the U.S. issued an order against a Moldovan national and former employee of the IMF, holding him in conditional civil contempt for failing to comply with two subpoenas.

Shor had asked the court to grant a deposition with Dohotaru in relation to Shor’s criminal proceedings in Moldova. The Moldovan national, Matei Dohotaru was a key witness against Shor in the Moldovan bank fraud case, which is still pending in Moldovan courts. Following providing evidence against Shor in 2017, Dohotaru left the country.

Shor’s submission in court was successful and Dohotaru was called to appear for a deposition, however, he failed to do so. The court issued a daily fine, $500 and $1000, against Dohotaru and ordered him to pay Shor's legal costs. Failing to respect court-ordered decisions in the U.S. can lead to imprisonment.

Shor contests Dohotaru's evidence as well as his credibility as a witness and Shor's legal team have made several attempts to depose Dohotaru in relation to his evidence. Sources close to Shor said that the win in the U.S. was a “breakthrough” and would help support a planned appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.

Bowring’s expertise on Moldova includes having led a mission to Moldova on behalf of the Centre for the Independence of Judges and Lawyers (CIJL) of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ). The Mission was led by former ICJ President Claire L'Heureux-Dubé, a former Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada.

Their mission highlighted serious concerns in relation to the judicial system and concern of systematic corruption and a lack of independence. The mission’s report compares Moldova’s judicial system to that of the Soviet Union, where “if a judge was faced with a politically sensitive case, she could be sure to receive a telephone call from the local Party Secretary - the so-called "telephone justice" - if she did not already implicitly know how to decide. The rule of law was in no sense respected.”

In his report, Bowring reviewed and summarized a series of published reports showing that the systemic problems of independence of the Moldovan judiciary and adherence to the Rule of Law have regressed and that the Moldovan criminal justice system is subjected to ongoing political interference. The findings are based on reports from reputable international organs, including the ICJ, The PACE Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, the Anti-Corruption Resource Centre, IMF, Freedom House, the German Institute for International and Security Affairs, U.S. State Department, GRECO and the Council of Europe.

His conclusions are illustrated by the fact that between 1997, when Moldova ratified the ECHR, and 2020, the European Court of Human Rights delivered over 470 judgments on Moldovan cases, 90 percent of which identify violations by Moldovan courts.

Bowring was instructed by Shor’s legal team to provide an expert view on the Judicial System in Moldova and if the system would guarantee Shor the right to a fair trial under Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

“My own conclusion”, Bowring writes, “supported cumulatively by all these reports, is that Mr Shor would have faced (as would any person of his prominence and unpopularity with the regime) a real risk and danger of prejudice in the criminal proceedings against him in Moldova, of an unfair trial, and of grave violations of his rights under the ECHR.”

This article first appeared in Arutz Sheva.

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