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On the state award conferred to a person

Case No. 07/08

THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA

RULING

ON THE COMPLIANCE OF ARTICLE 1 OF DECREE OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA NO. 1806 “ON AWARDING CITIZENS OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA AND CITIZENS OF FOREIGN STATES WITH ORDERS AND MEDALS OF THE STATE OF LITHUANIA ON THE OCCASION OF THE DAY OF STATE (CORONATION OF KING MINDAUGAS OF LITHUANIA)” OF 14 JUNE 2002, TO THE EXTENT THAT IT PROVIDES THAT VLADIMIR YAKUNIN WAS AWARDED THE CROSS OF COMMANDER OF THE ORDER OF THE LITHUANIAN GRAND DUKE GEDIMINAS, WITH THE CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA AND WITH PROVISIONS OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA LAW ON ORDERS, MEDALS AND OTHER DECORATIONS

7 September 2010
Vilnius

 

The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, composed of the Justices of the Constitutional Court Armanas Abramavičius, Toma Birmontienė, Pranas Kuconis, Kęstutis Lapinskas, Zenonas Namavičius, Ramutė Ruškytė, Egidijus Šileikis, Algirdas Taminskas, and Romualdas Kęstutis Urbaitis,

with the secretary of the hearing—Daiva Pitrėnaitė,

in the presence of the representatives of a group of Members of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, who were Saulius Pečeliūnas, Rytas Kupčinskas and Valentinas Mazuronis, all of whom are Members of the Seimas,

pursuant to Articles 102, 105 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and Article 1 of the Law on the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, on 24 August 2010, in the public Court hearing heard constitutional justice case No. 07/08 subsequent to the petition of a group of Members of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, the petitioner, requesting to investigate whether Article 1 of Decree of the President of the Republic of Lithuania No. 1806 “On Awarding Citizens of the Republic of Lithuania and Citizens of Foreign States with Orders and Medals of the State of Lithuania on the Occasion of the Day of State (Coronation of King Mindaugas of Lithuania)” of 14 June 2002, to the extent that it provides that Vladimir Yakunin, a citizen of the Russian Federation, is awarded the Cross of Commander of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas, is not in conflict with Article 5, Paragraph 1 of Article 29, Item 18 of Article 67, Paragraph 2 of Article 77, Paragraph 1 of Article 82, Item 22 of Article 84 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, with the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law, of an open, just and harmonious civil society, also whether it was not in conflict with Article 1, Article 4 (wording of 1 July 1993), Paragraph 2 of Article 21, Article 22, Paragraph 1 of Article 24 and Articles 80 and 81 of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Orders, Medals and Other Decorations.

The Constitutional Court

has established:

I

A group of Members of the Seimas, the petitioner, applied to the Constitutional Court with a petition requesting to investigate whether Article 1 of Decree of the President of the Republic No. 1806 “On Awarding Citizens of the Republic of Lithuania and Citizens of Foreign States with Orders and Medals of the State of Lithuania on the Occasion of the Day of State (Coronation of King Mindaugas of Lithuania)” of 14 June 2002 (hereinafter also referred to as the Decree), to the extent that it provides that Vladimir Yakunin, a citizen of the Russian Federation, is awarded the Cross of Commander of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas, is not in conflict with Article 5, Paragraph 1 of Article 29, Item 18 of Article 67, Paragraph 2 of Article 77, Paragraph 1 of Article 82, Item 22 of Article 84 of the Constitution, with the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law, of an open, just and harmonious civil society, also whether it was not in conflict with Article 1, Article 4 (wording of 1 July 1993), Paragraph 2 of Article 21, Article 22, Paragraph 1 of Article 24 and Articles 80 and 81 of the Law on Orders, Medals and Other Decorations.

II

The petition of the group of Members of the Seimas, the petitioner, is substantiated by the following arguments.

1. On the day when the Decree was signed and came into force, the Law on Orders, Medals and Other Decorations was in force. In the opinion of the petitioner, Articles 1 and 80 of this law stipulated that the citizens of foreign states, who were awarded the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas, must have merits to the State of Lithuania, gained by strenuous and honest work in public activities. The petitioner invokes the provisions of the official constitutional doctrine formulated in the Constitutional Court rulings of 30 December 2003 and 12 May 2006 related with the concept of merits to the State of Lithuania, and, while taking account of the factual circumstances specified in the petition, believes that there is not any evidence as regards merits of the citizen of the Russian Federation Vladimir Yakunin to the State of Lithuania.

2. Articles 21 and 22 of the Law on Orders, Medals and Other Decorations had established the procedure for nomination of persons to be awarded. In the opinion of the petitioner, although part of the provisions of the Law on Orders, Medals and Other Decorations were obsolete (the provisions regarding the subject conferring the award), however, there were no grounds for non-application of the provisions of Articles 21, 22 of this law.

According to the petitioner, a special norm was established in Paragraph 2 of Article 21 of the Law on Orders, Medals and Other Decorations, which was related to awarding citizens of foreign states, i.e. that citizens of foreign states were to be awarded only upon nomination by the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Article 22 of this law specified the documents which were to be presented to the Grand Master of the Orders together with the presentation of the persons expected to be bestowed the award. According to the petitioner, it is clear from the specified factual circumstances that there are not any documents or a nomination by the Minister of Foreign Affairs related to the award bestowed to the citizen of the Russian Federation Vladimir Yakunin.

In the opinion of the petitioner, in the absence of the documents specified in Article 22 of the Law on Orders, Medals and Other Decorations, one was not allowed to follow the criteria specified in Paragraph 1 of Article 24 of this law, which were applied in establishing the class of the order, and such criteria were not followed.

3. It was established in Article 4 (wording of 1 July 1993) and Article 81 of the Law on Orders, Medals and Other Decorations that the there are five classes (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th) of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas, and that no titles were given to the said classes. According to the disputed provision of Article 1 of the Decree, Vladimir Yakunin was awarded with the Cross of Commander of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas, i.e. a different title and class of the order than it was established in the then in force Law on Orders, Medals and Other Decorations were specified, however, the said title and class were established in a new Republic of Lithuania Law on State Awards, which had not been adopted by the Seimas at that time yet.

4. The petitioner has drawn a conclusion that the President of the Republic had taken over the powers of the Seimas in establishment of the system of state awards as well as the titles of state awards.

5. In the opinion of the petitioner, the provision of Article 1 of the Decree regarding the award of Vladimir Yakunin is in conflict with Item 22 of Article 84 of the Constitution in two aspects: it is incompatible with the constitutional concept of state awards and with the procedure for nomination for bestowing awards established by the law.

6. In the opinion of the petitioner, one is to draw a conclusion from the specified factual circumstances that in the course of awarding Vladimir Yakunin, the norms related with bestowing state awards were either applied differently, if compared with other persons, or were not applied at all. The President of the Republic had shown a special favour to Vladimir Yakunin, since the latter was awarded in the absence of any documents describing his person or merits, even though the President of the Republic knew, must have known and was able to know as to what documents were required by the law. By invoking the official constitutional doctrine formulated by the Constitutional Court, the petitioner doubts whether the principle of equality of persons entrenched in Paragraph 1 of Article 29 of the Constitution and the requirements, entrenched in Paragraph 1 of Article 82 of the Constitution, for the President of the Republic to conscientiously fulfil the duties of his office, and to be equally just to all, as well as the constitutional imperative of transparency, have not been violated.

7. The petitioner, while invoking the official constitutional doctrine of presumption of constitutionality of legal acts, notes that the Constitution and laws do not commission the President of the Republic to decide as to which provisions of the law must be applied, and which must be not applied even when there is a doubt regarding the constitutionality thereof.

8. In the opinion of the petitioner, Paragraph 1 of Article 5 of the Constitution has been violated also because of the fact that the President of the Republic, while applying the provisions of the Law on Orders, Medals and Other Decorations in a selective manner, had taken over the powers of the Constitutional Court to decide as regards the constitutionality of the provisions of this law.

9. The petitioner doubts whether the principle of a state under the rule of law entrenched in the Preamble of the Constitution has not been violated.

III

1. By Ordinance of the President of the Republic No. 2K-514 of 24 October 2008, Aušra Rauličkytė, Milda Vainiutė and Darius Vilimas, advisors to the President of the Republic, were appointed to represent the President of the Republic, the party concerned.

2. In the course of the preparation of the case for the Constitutional Court hearing written explanations were received from A. Rauličkytė, M. Vainiutė and D. Vilimas, wherein it is asserted that Article 1 of the Decree to the extent specified by the petitioner is not in conflict with the Constitution and the Law on Orders, Medals and Other Decorations. The position of A. Rauličkytė, M. Vainiutė and D. Vilimas, the representatives of President of the Republic, is substantiated by the following arguments.

2.1. In the Law on Orders, Medals and Other Decorations, which was valid at the time of issuance of the Decree and which was adopted when the Provisional Basic Law of the Republic of Lithuania was in force, the right to confer state awards was granted to the Presidium of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania—an institution which had not existed since 25 October 1992, when the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania came into force. The Law on Orders, Medals and Other Decorations established also other rights and duties of the Supreme Council, those of its Chairman and Presidium, related to conferring state awards. Thus, in the opinion of the representatives of the party concerned, the Law on Orders, Medals and Other Decorations to the extent regulating the procedure for conferring state awards could not be applied since it was obviously in conflict with the Constitution. Article 2 of the Republic of Lithuania Law “On the Procedure for Entry into Force of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania” established that laws, other legal acts or parts thereof, which were in force on the territory of the Republic of Lithuania prior to the adoption of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, shall be effective inasmuch as they are not in conflict with the Constitution and this law, and shall remain in force until they are either declared null and void or brought in line with the provisions of the Constitution. According to the representatives of the party concerned, until the entry into force of the Law on State Awards, the President of the Republic used to confer awards by directly invoking the Constitution.

It has been noted in the explanations that, under the Law on State Awards valid at present, the President of the Republic is allowed to award persons also in the absence of nominations by the institutions and officials established in the law. Until the entry into force of this law, the President of the Republic had awarded quite a few persons without nominations (presentations), in addition, by means of the Decree, whose provision is being disputed in the case at issue, 113 citizens of the Republic of Lithuania and of foreign states were awarded, where nominations had been received regarding 74 persons, whereas the President of the Republic awarded 39 persons by directly invoking the Constitution.

2.2. The representatives of the party concerned emphasised that, tired of waiting for the legislator’s resolve to properly regulate the procedure for conferring awards, the President of the Republic, by his Decree No. 1609 of 19 December 2001, submitted to the Seimas a draft Law on State Awards for consideration. The Seimas adopted the Law on State Awards on 18 June 2002, it was published in the official gazette “Valstybės žinios” on 3 July 2002. Under Article 45 of the Law on State Awards, this law was to come into force after the President of the Republic approved standards of state orders, medals and other decorations, the procedure for wearing state orders, medals and other decorations, the Regulations of the Council for the State Awards, and the Regulations of the Grand Master for the State Orders of Lithuania. While invoking the official constitutional doctrine, the representatives of the party concerned have noted that the time of the entry into force of the Law on State Awards may not and must not depend upon the issuance and entry force of a decree of the President of the Republic, a legal act of lower power.

The Decree was adopted on 14 June 2002, whereas the Seimas adopted the Law on State Awards, as mentioned, on 18 June 2002. According to the practice established by then, which was also legalised in the new law, state awards used to be bestowed, as a rule, twice a year: on the occasions of February 16th—the Day of the Restoration of the State of Lithuania—and July 6th—the Day of State (Coronation of King Mindaugas of Lithuania). The President of the Republic sought to achieve that, the awards conferred by the Decree would be in compliance with the provisions the Law on State Awards already adopted on the day of the awarding (6 July 2002). The representatives of the party concerned have emphasised that the orders of precedence of state orders, medals and other decorations remained identical in both the Law on Orders, Medals and Other Decorations (Article 4) and the Law on State Awards (Article 7), although the titles of the classes of orders were amended by the new law, and, among other things, the 3rd Class Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas was replaced by the Cross of Commander of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas. In the opinion of the representatives of the party concerned, although this coincidence of alteration of laws and the moment of presentation of the awards determined certain formal discrepancies, they are of little significance and did not inflict any damage upon the state interests or the awarded persons.

2.3. The representatives of the party concerned have single out the following powers of the President of the Republic from among those established in Article 84 of the Constitution: to grant citizenship of the Republic of Lithuania according to the procedure established by law (Item 21), to confer state awards (Item 22) and to grant pardons to convicted persons (Item 23). The said powers are related with one another by one feature: the President of the Republic implements them by means of a one-person decision. In the opinion of the representatives, it is even more important that in the course of their implementation the Head of State has the right to decide at his discretion. Item 21 of Article 84 of the Constitution has entrenched the right of the President of the Republic to grant citizenship of the Republic of Lithuania according to the procedure established by law, whereas when the right to confer state awards (Item 22 of Article 84 of the Constitution) and the right to grant pardons to convicted persons (Item 23 of Article 84 of the Constitution) are constitutionally regulated, there is no entrenched requirement to execute such powers by invoking concrete laws, where in this manner the wider discretion of the President of the Republic is thus emphasised. It is established in corresponding legal acts that the issues related with the implementation of the aforesaid powers are preliminary considered by certain institutions founded for this purpose (the Citizenship Commission, the Pardon Commission, the Council for the State Awards), however, these institutions play only an advisory role, and their advice may not be binding upon the President of the Republic. The representatives of the party concerned have pointed out the provisions of the official constitutional doctrine, which were formulated in the Constitutional Court rulings of 30 December 2003 and 12 May 2006, regarding the discretion of the President of the Republic. In the explanations it is also noted that the right of the President of the Republic to confer state awards may not be assessed as only a representational or ritual one. The assessment of the merits for the sate, for which the award is conferred, is an essential condition of implementation of this power. Such an assessment is grounded upon an inner conviction which in all cases may not and must not be substantiated by certain documents or evidence.

2.4. The representatives of the party concerned, while invoking the provisions of the Constitutional Court ruling of 12 May 2006 regarding the constitutional concept of state awards, assert that conferring awards to citizens and Heads of other states is regarded as part of diplomacy, an important means assisting in entering into relations between states and strengthening such relations.

By means of the Decree, the state award was conferred to Vladimir Yakunin for his merits in supporting bilateral relations of Lithuania and Russia, who, at the time when the award was conferred, was holding the office of the Deputy Transportation Minister of the Russian Federation and was the Chairman of the Committee of Trustees of the Centre of the National Glory of Russia Foundation. This decision of the President of the Republic is to be assessed by taking account of the then foreign policy, which was determined by two factors—improving relations with Russia and preparation for membership in the EU and NATO.

2.5. In the opinion of the representatives of the party concerned, the petitioner has set forth the factual circumstances in a subjective manner, has substantiated his position by assumptions and speculations, he has not raised a question of lawfulness (constitutionality) of the implementation of the powers of the President of the Republic to confer state awards, but has questioned whether it was expedient in this case (from the point of view of morality and policy) to implement the said powers of the President of the Republic. In the petition one has substantiated by the circumstances which became known after the award had been conferred, i.e. by publications, in 2006–2007, about Vladimir Yakunin and his activities. The petitioner asserts that the President of the Republic should have been aware of these circumstances also at the time of issuance of the decree, however, he has not presented any evidence confirming this fact. In the opinion of the representatives of the party concerned, the petition of the petitioner is grounded upon non-legal arguments, assumptions not substantiated by evidence, as well as fictitious reasoning, therefore, the legal proceedings in the case at issue should be dismissed.

3. On 25 February 2010, at the Constitutional Court, Ordinance of the President of the Republic No. 2K-104 of 22 February 2010 was received whereby Rasa Svetikaitė and Ernestas Rimšelis, advisors to the President of the Republic, were empowered to represent the President of the Republic in the constitutional justice case at issue. The same ordinance recognised Ordinance of the President of the Republic No. 2K-514 of 24 October 2008, which had empowered Aušra Rauličkytė, Milda Vainiutė and Darius Vilimas, advisors to the President of the Republic, to represent the President of the Republic, as no longer valid.

IV

In the course of the preparation of the case for the Constitutional Court hearing explanations were received from Vytautas Ališauskas, the then Chairman of the Council for the State Awards.

V

In the course of the preparation of the case for the Constitutional Court hearing the witnesses—Zita Andrijonienė (the former Head of the Decorations Division of the Office of the President of the Republic) and Andrius Meškauskas (the former Head of the Office of the President of the Republic and Grand Master or the Orders of the Republic of Lithuania)—were questioned.

VI

At the Constitutional Court hearing, the representatives of the group of Members of the Seimas, the party concerned, who were S. Pečeliūnas, R. Kupčinskas and V. Mazuronis, virtually reiterated the arguments set forth in their written explanations, answered to questions of Justices of the Constitutional Court and submitted additional explanations.

The Constitutional Court

holds that:

I

1. As mentioned, a group of Members of the Seimas, the petitioner, requests to investigate whether Article 1 of Decree of the President of the Republic No. 1806 “On Awarding Citizens of the Republic of Lithuania and Citizens of Foreign States with Orders and Medals of the State of Lithuania on the Occasion of the Day of State (Coronation of King Mindaugas of Lithuania)” of 14 June 2002, to the extent that it provides that Vladimir Yakunin, a citizen of the Russian Federation, is awarded the Cross of Commander of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas, is not in conflict with Article 5, Paragraph 1 of Article 29, Item 18 of Article 67, Paragraph 2 of Article 77, Paragraph 1 of Article 82, Item 22 of Article 84 of the Constitution, with the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law, of an open, just and harmonious civil society, also whether it was not in conflict with Article 1, Article 4 (wording of 1 July 1993), Paragraph 2 of Article 21, Article 22, Paragraph 1 of Article 24 and Articles 80 and 81 of the Law on Orders, Medals and Other Decorations.

2. Although the petitioner asserts that Article 1 of Decree of the President of the Republic No. 1806 “On Awarding Citizens of the Republic of Lithuania and Citizens of Foreign States with Orders and Medals of the State of Lithuania on the Occasion of the Day of State (Coronation of King Mindaugas of Lithuania)” of 14 June 2002 provides that Vladimir Yakunin, a citizen of the Russian Federation, is awarded the Cross of Commander of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas, however, under Article 1 of the said decree, Vladimir Yakunin is rewarded as the Chairman of the Committee of Trustees of the Centre of the National Glory of Russia Foundation and supporter of bilateral relations of Lithuania and Russia (Russian Federation).

3. The petitioner had doubts whether the said Article 1 of the Decree (to the corresponding extent) is not in conflict with inter alia constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, and that of an open, just and harmonious civil society.

It needs to be noted that in the Preamble to the Constitution the striving for a state under the rule of law, and that of an open, just and harmonious civil society are entrenched.

The Constitutional Court has held that the investigation of the compliance of legal acts (parts thereof) with the enshrined in the Preamble to the Constitution striving for an open, just, and harmonious civil society and a state under the rule of law implies the investigation of their compliance with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law (Constitutional Court ruling of 13 December 2004).

4. Thus, the aforementioned petition of the petitioner requesting investigation into whether Article 1 of Decree of the President of the Republic No. 1806 “On Awarding Citizens of the Republic of Lithuania and Citizens of Foreign States with Orders and Medals of the State of Lithuania on the Occasion of the Day of State (Coronation of King Mindaugas of Lithuania)” of 14 June 2002, to the extent that it provides that Vladimir Yakunin, a citizen of the Russian Federation, is awarded the Cross of Commander of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas, is not in conflict with Article 5, Paragraph 1 of Article 29, Item 18 of Article 67, Paragraph 2 of Article 77, Paragraph 1 of Article 82, Item 22 of Article 84 of the Constitution, with the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law, of an open, just and harmonious civil society, also whether it was not in conflict with Article 1, Article 4 (wording of 1 July 1993), Paragraph 2 of Article 21, Article 22, Paragraph 1 of Article 24 and Articles 80 and 81 of the Law on Orders, Medals and Other Decorations, is to be treated as a petition requesting investigation into whether Article 1 of Decree of the President of the Republic No. 1806 “On Awarding Citizens of the Republic of Lithuania and Citizens of Foreign States with Orders and Medals of the State of Lithuania on the Occasion of the Day of State (Coronation of King Mindaugas of Lithuania)” of 14 June 2002, to the extent that it provides that Vladimir Yakunin, the Chairman of the Committee of Trustees of the Centre of the National Glory of Russia Foundation and supporter of bilateral relations of Lithuania and Russia (Russian Federation), is awarded the Cross of Commander of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas, is not in conflict with Article 5, Paragraph 1 of Article 29, Item 18 of Article 67, Paragraph 2 of Article 77, Paragraph 1 of Article 82, Item 22 of Article 84 of the Constitution, with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, also whether the aforesaid decree of the President of the Republic (to the specified extent) was not in conflict with Article 1, Article 4 (wording of 1 July 1993), Paragraph 2 of Article 21, Article 22, Paragraph 1 of Article 24 and Articles 80 and 81 of the Law on Orders, Medals and Other Decorations (wording of 12 September 1991).

It needs to be noted that the other provisions of Article 1 of Decree of the President of the Republic No. 1806 “On Awarding Citizens of the Republic of Lithuania and Citizens of Foreign States with Orders and Medals of the State of Lithuania on the Occasion of the Day of State (Coronation of King Mindaugas of Lithuania)” of 14 June 2002 are not the matter of investigation in the constitutional justice case at issue.

II

1. It has been mentioned that in the constitutional justice case at issue it is investigated whether the disputed decree of the President of the Republic (to the specified extent) inter alia is not in conflict with Article 5, Paragraph 1 of Article 29, Item 18 of Article 67, Paragraph 2 of Article 77, Paragraph 1 of Article 82, Item 22 of Article 84 of the Constitution and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

2. The grounds of the constitutional institute of state awards are entrenched in inter alia Item 18 of Article 67 and Item 22 of Article 84 of the Constitution.

2.1. Item 18 of Article 67 of the Constitution provides that the Seimas shall establish state awards of the Republic of Lithuania.

While construing the empowerment of the Seimas to establish state awards, which is entrenched in Item 18 of Article 67 of the Constitution, together with the power of the Seimas to pass laws, which is entrenched in Item 2 of Article 67 of the Constitution, it needs to be held that, under the Constitution, the Seimas may establish state awards by means of passing a law, i.e. by establishing by such a law inter alia a system, types of state awards, badges of awards, and grounds of conferring them.

2.2. Item 22 of Article 84 of the Constitution provides that the President of the Republic shall confer state awards.

While construing the empowerment of President of the Republic to confer state awards, which is entrenched in Item 22 of Article 84 of the Constitution, together with the provision “The President of the Republic, implementing the powers vested in him, shall issue acts-decrees. To be valid, the decrees of the President of the Republic, specified in Items 3, 15, 17, and 21 of Article 84 of the Constitution, must be signed by the Prime Minister or an appropriate Minister. Responsibility for such a decree shall lie with the Prime Minister or the Minister who signed it” of Article 85 of the Constitution, it needs to be held that, under the Constitution, the President of the Republic confers state awards (which are established by means of a law passed by the Seimas) by issuing decrees, whose power is not bound either by consent of the Prime Minister or the corresponding Minister.

3. The content of the constitutional institute of state awards was disclosed to the corresponding extent in the Constitutional Court ruling of 12 May 2006. The following was inter alia held in the said Constitutional Court ruling:

a state award is a sign of state estimation towards a person;

the persons with merits to the State of Lithuania, i.e. those who conducted exceptional deeds demanding extraordinary efforts or even self-sacrifice and which provided exceptional benefits to the State of Lithuania, its society or certain spheres of life of this country, are honoured in the name of the state by means of state awards;

when establishing state awards (inter alia establishing the system thereof) the Seimas enjoys broad discretion, however, it must follow the constitutional concept of state awards, which implies that state awards are granted namely for merits and that the said merits should be merits to Lithuania (the State of Lithuania, its society, certain spheres of life of this country). The grounds under which persons could be awarded must be clear; they must be established by the law. The law should also establish a procedure of presenting a person for a state award.

granting a certain state award is not implementation of the right nor of a legitimate expectation of a person, even though he has undoubted merits to Lithuania, but rather such assessment of his merits, which depends on the discretion and will of the President of the Republic;

the President of the Republic has rather broad freedom of discretion to decide whether or not to award a presented person. It should be stressed that the Constitution does not oblige the President of the Republic to grant a certain state award to a certain person or persons (for certain merits), however, when granting state awards the President of the Republic must heed inter alia the requirements to conscientiously fulfil the duties of his office, and to be equally just to all, established in Article 82 of the Constitution.

4. In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue it needs to be noted that the constitutional institute of state awards is related to the corresponding extent with the empowerment of the President of the Republic to decide the basic issues of foreign policy, which is entrenched in Item 1 of Article 84 of the Constitution.

As it was held in the Constitutional Court ruling of 12 May 2006, according to international customs, the diplomatic protocol, i.e. according to the established international practice, state awards can be granted to citizens of foreign states (inter alia Heads of States and high-ranking officials), expressing special respect to their state and themselves and by seeking to develop mutually beneficial relations between Lithuania and other states.

5. It also needs to be noted that inter alia a duty arises from the Constitution to the legislator to establish such grounds for conferring state awards, according to which it would be inter alia clear as to which persons may not be conferred state awards at all.

It also needs to be noted that in the course of establishing the grounds for conferring state awards it is not permitted to establish any final list of awarded persons or of merits in the presence of which a person may be awarded.

6. In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue it needs to be noted that the legislator, while establishing the procedure for presentation of persons to state awards, cannot deny the empowerment of the President of the Republic entrenched in Item 22 of Article 84 of the Constitution.

The legislator, while regulating the relations related to the procedure for conferring state awards, inter alia while consolidating the powers of corresponding subjects (inter alia Ministers) to nominate (present) persons for awarding with state awards, or while establishing the procedure for consideration of issues of conferring state awards in some institutions, may not establish any such legal regulation which would deny the empowerment of the President of the Republic to confer state awards, which stems from Item 22 of Article 84 of the Constitution.

The amendment or limitation of the empowerments of the President of the Republic in this area, as well as establishment of such a procedure for implementing these empowerments where the actions of the President of the Republic would be bound by decisions of institutions or officials not provided for in the Constitution would mean change in the constitutional competence of the President of the Republic.

7. It needs to be noted that it was also held in the aforesaid Constitutional Court ruling of 12 May 2006 that the constitutional institute of state awards is not identical to other constitutional institutes, inter alia, those related to provision of support, care, maintenance, material, financial or other benefits provided for in the Constitution (thus, grounded constitutionally and not regarded as privileges) to various persons.

In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue it needs to be noted that the constitutional institute of state awards is not identical to the constitutional institute of citizenship, either.

It was held in the Constitutional Court ruling of 30 December 2003 that granting of citizenship of the Republic of Lithuania to a foreign citizen or a stateless person by way of exception is not and may not be a state award.

8. Article 5 of the Constitution prescribes: in Lithuania, state power shall be executed by the Seimas, the President of the Republic and the Government, and the Judiciary (Paragraph 1); The scope of power shall be limited by the Constitution (Paragraph 2); state institutions shall serve the people (Paragraph 3).

In its rulings, the Constitutional Court has held more than once that Article 5 (Paragraphs 1 and 2 thereof) and other articles of the Constitution enshrine the constitutional principle of separation of powers (rulings of 10 January 1998, 5 February 1999, 3 June 1999, 9 July 1999, 26 April 2001, 12 July 2001, and 13 May 2004).

The Constitutional Court has also held that the provision of Paragraph 2 of Article 5 of the Constitution that the scope of powers is limited by the Constitution is binding not only upon the institutions of state power specified in Paragraph 1 of Article 5 of the Constitution, but also it is binding upon other institutions which enjoy authoritative empowerments, but are not attributed to either the legislative, the executive, or the judicial power, including the state servants employed at these institutions, too (ruling of 13 December 2004).

In this context it also needs to be noted that, as it has been held by the Constitutional Court, the state service must act in conformity only with the Constitution and law. Every state or municipal institution through which state functions are exercised, every state servant must pay heed to the requirements of lawfulness. State servants must not abuse the powers established for them and not violate the requirements of legal acts (ruling of 13 December 2004).

In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue it needs to be noted that state servants must not disregard the requirements of lawfulness in inter alia also the course of preparation of draft legal acts.

In this context it also needs to be noted that the President of the Republic, when he confers state awards, is bound by the constitutional principle of responsible governance, too.

9. Paragraph 2 of Article 77 of the Constitution provides that the President of the Republic shall represent the State of Lithuania and shall perform everything with which he is charged by the Constitution and laws.

Paragraph 1 of Article 82 of the Constitution prescribes:

The elected President of the Republic shall take office on the day following the expiration of the term of office of the President of the Republic, after he, in Vilnius, in the presence of the representatives of the Nation, the Members of the Seimas, takes an oath to the Nation to be faithful to the Republic of Lithuania and the Constitution, to conscientiously fulfil the duties of his office, and to be equally just to all.”

As it was held in the Constitutional Court ruling of 30 December 2003, the requirement established in Paragraph 1 of Article 82 of the Constitution that the President of the Republic must be equally just to all, when one takes account of the provision of Paragraph 2 of Article 77 of the Constitution that the President of the Republic performs everything that he is charged with by the Constitution and laws, means that the President of the Republic, while implementing the powers established for him in the Constitution and laws, must follow only the Constitution and laws, cannot violate them, that the President of the Republic must act only in the interests of the Nation and the State of Lithuania, that the President of the Republic, while implementing the powers established for him in the Constitution and laws, cannot act with aims and interests, which are inconsistent with the Constitution and laws, as well as with public interests. The constitutional requirement to be equally just to all obligates the President of the Republic to act so that there would not be a conflict between the interests of the President of the Republic, as a private person, and his constitutional duty, as of the Head of State, to represent the State of Lithuania, and to follow only the interests of the Nation and the State of Lithuania.

10. It needs to be mentioned that principle of equality of all persons, which is entrenched in Article 29 of the Constitution, means the innate right of the person to be treated equally with the others and obliges to assess the homogenous facts in the same manner and prohibits to arbitrarily assess the facts, which are the same in essence, in a different manner. This principle must be followed in the course of enactment of laws and their application (Constitutional Court rulings of 23 April 2002, 4 July 2003, 3 December 2003, and 24 December 2008).

11. The constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law entrenched in the Constitution implies the hierarchy of legal acts as well, inter alia the fact that substatutory legal acts may not be in conflict with laws, constitutional laws and the Constitution, that substatutory legal acts must be adopted on the basis of laws, that a substatutory legal act is an act of application of norms of the law, irrespective of whether the act is of one-time (ad hoc) application, or permanent validity (Constitutional Court rulings of 30 December 2003, 7 February 2005, and 8 October 2009). Decrees issued by the President of the Republic are sub-statutory legal acts, therefore, they, as well as any other sub-statutory legal acts, should not be in conflict with the Constitution, constitutional laws and laws (Constitutional Court ruling of 30 December 2003).

In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue it needs to be noted that the President of the Republic, while implementing the empowerment to confer state awards, which is entrenched in Item 22 of Article 84 of the Constitution, and while, due to this, issuing a decree, is bound by the requirement arising from the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law inter alia to confer only such state awards which are established in the law.

III

1. In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue it is also important to elucidate the development of the institute of state awards in the Republic of Lithuania, inter alia to elucidate the legislative regulation of conferring of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas.

2. On 11 March 1990, the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania adopted the Republic of Lithuania Law “On the Provisional Basic Law of the Republic of Lithuania” by Article 2 whereof if approved the Provisional Basic Law of the Republic of Lithuania—the provisional constitution of the restored independent State of Lithuania.

2.1. In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue it needs to be noted that the said Provisional Basic Law (wording of 11 March 1990) inter alia prescribed: “The Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania shall have the following powers: <...> to establish state awards of the Republic of Lithuania” (Article 78), “The Presidium of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania shall <...> grant awards <...> of the Republic of Lithuania” (Article 85).

2.2. The said Provisional Basic Law was amended and supplemented more than once, however, the specified provisions thereof were not amended or supplemented.

3. On 12 September 1991, the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania adopted the Republic of Lithuania Law on Orders, Medals and Other Decorations, which was defined in its Preamble as “a new wording of the Law on Orders, Medals and Other Decorations of the State of Lithuania, which has been valid in the Republic of Lithuania since 1 September 1930”.

4. In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue it needs to be noted that the said Law on Orders, Medals and Other Decorations of the State of Lithuania, which had been valid in the Republic of Lithuania since 1 September 1930, had established inter alia the orders of the State of Lithuania which were to be conferred “in order to honour the persons with merits at time of peace and at time of war and to induce citizens of Lithuania to become involved in the work for the welfare of the State of Lithuania and society” (Article 1).

4.1. It needs to be noted that the Law on Orders, Medals and Other Decorations of the State of Lithuania inter alia established that “The orders of the State of Lithuania shall be: <…> the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas” (Article 2); “The Order of LGD Gediminas shall be of five classes” (Article 217); “The order of precedence of orders <…> shall be as follows: “ <…> 15) the 3rd Class Order of LGD Gediminas (Article 4); “The persons awarded a certain order of the State of Lithuania shall be bearers of that order” (Article 6); “The bearer of an order, according to the class of the order conferred to him, shall be: <…> a bearer of the 3rd class order or commander (commandeur) of that order” (Article 7).

4.2. In this context it needs to be noted that the said law (Article 7 thereof) additionally defined a person awarded with the 1st, 2nd, 4th or 5th Class Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas by a corresponding international word according to the class of the order: bearer of the 1st class order—grand-croix, that of the 2nd class order— grand officier, that of the 4th class order—officier, that of the 5th class order—chevalier.

4.3. It was also established in the Law on Orders, Medals and Other Decorations of the State of Lithuania that “Lithuanian orders shall be bestowed by the President of the Republic” (Article 23); “The Order of the LGD Gediminas <…> shall be conferred to persons with merits to Lithuania, especially those who became distinguished by diligent and honest work in the state or public service” (Article 215); “The Order of LGD Gediminas may also be bestowed to citizens of other sates” (Article 216); “No one shall enjoy the right to nominate persons for awarding with <…> the 1st Class Order of LGD Gediminas; the matter of awarding persons with these orders shall only belong to the President of the Republic”, “Nominations of citizens of foreign states for awards shall be made by the Minister of Foreign Affairs” (Article 24); “Nominations for awarding with orders <…> shall be considered at the corresponding council <…>” (Article 26); “The Council of the Order of LGD Gediminas shall be composed of the chairman and 5 members, which are appointed from among bearers of the Order of LGD Gediminas for three years by the President of the Republic” (Article 220); the council of the order “shall express its opinion regarding awarding of the persons whose nominations has been suggested for consideration <…>” (Article 15); “The opinion of the council shall not be binding upon the President of the Republic” (Article 16); “In individual cases the President of the Republic may bestow the award also in the absence of the consideration by the council” (Article 26).

4.4. Thus, the said law established also the grounds for awarding persons with the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas: merits to the State of Lithuania, especially if one becomes distinguished by diligent and honest performance of state or public duties. Inter alia one entrenched the right of the President of the Republic to bestow this order to the persons with merits to Lithuania, an opportunity to bestow this order to citizens of foreign sates as well, the exclusive empowerment of the President of the Republic to decide the issue of awarding persons with the 1st Class Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas, the right of the Minister of Foreign Affairs to nominate citizens of foreign states for awarding with 2nd, 4th or 5th Class Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas, consideration of such a nomination in the Council of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas, the right of the President of the Republic to bestow the award “in individual cases” “also in the absence of the consideration by the council”, and the recommendation nature of the opinion of this council (provided it considered the nomination) to the President of the Republic.

Thus, under the said law, the President of the Republic had an exclusive right to bestow the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas; the President of the Republic was not bound (could not be bound) by decisions of other institutions or officials to initiate awarding of persons, inter alia citizens of foreign states, with the 1st Class Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas; the President of the Republic was not allowed to award citizens of foreign states with 2nd, 4th or 5th Class Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas if there had not been a nomination (i.e. presentation of these persons for awarding with the orders of the said classes) by the Minister of Foreign Affairs; in the presence of a nomination (presentation) by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the President of the Republic was allowed, in exceptional (“individual”) cases, to decide the issue of awarding independently regardless of whether such a nomination (presentation) by the Minister of Foreign Affairs had been considered at the Council of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas; the President of the Republic was allowed to adopt a decision on awarding citizens of foreign states also regardless of the opinion expressed by the said council of the order concerning the aforesaid nomination (presentation) by the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

4.5. The Law on Orders, Medals and Other Decorations of the State of Lithuania, which had been valid in the Republic of Lithuania since 1 September 1930, was amended and/or supplemented, however, the specified provisions thereof were not amended or supplemented.

5. In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue it needs to be noted that, as mentioned, on 12 September 1991, the Supreme Council adopted the Law on Orders, Medals and Other Decorations, which, as mentioned, is “a new wording of the Law on Orders, Medals and Other Decorations of the State of Lithuania, which has been valid in the Republic of Lithuania since 1 September 1930”.

The Law on Orders, Medals and Other Decorations came into force on 12 September 1991 (Article 124) and it established inter alia the orders of the State of Lithuania which are conferred “in order to honour the persons with merits at time of peace and at time of war and to induce citizens of Lithuania to become involved in the work for the welfare of the State of Lithuania and society” (Article 1).

5.1. It needs to be noted that the said Law on Orders, Medals and Other Decorations inter alia established that “The orders of the State of Lithuania shall be: <…> the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas” (Article 2); “The Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas shall be of five classes” (Article 81); “The order of precedence of orders <…> shall be as follows: <…> 15) the 3rd Class Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas (Article 4); “The persons awarded a certain order of the State of Lithuania shall be bearers of that order” (Article 6).

5.2. It needs to be noted that the said Law on Orders, Medals and Other Decorations (wording of 12 September 1991) also established that “Orders of the State of Lithuania <...> shall be bestowed by the Presidium of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania” (Article 20); “The Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas shall be bestowed to persons with merits to the State of Lithuania, who became distinguished by diligent and honest work in the state service or public activities”, “The Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas may also be bestowed to citizens of foreign states” (Article 80); “The citizens of foreign states to be awarded with orders <...> shall be nominated by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania” (Paragraph 2 of Article 21); “Nominations for awarding with orders <…> shall be considered at the corresponding council <…>” (Article 23); “The Council of the Order of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas shall be composed of the chairman and 5 members, which are appointed from among bearers of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas for three years by the Chairman of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania” (Article 84); “When the class of the order is established, an account is taken of the significance of the merits of the awarded person, his rank or his social status” (Article 24); “The opinion of the council shall not be binding upon the Presidium of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania” (Article 13); “In some cases the Presidium of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania may bestow the award also in the absence of the consideration by the council” (Article 23).

5.3. Thus, the said law (wording of 12 September 1991) established also the grounds for awarding persons with the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas: merits to the State of Lithuania, distinguished diligent and honest work in the state service or public activities. Inter alia one entrenched the right of the Presidium of the Supreme Council to bestow this order to the persons with merits to Lithuania, an opportunity to bestow this order to citizens of foreign sates as well, the right of the Minister of Foreign Affairs to nominate citizens of foreign states for awarding with the orders, consideration of such a nomination in the Council of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas, the right of the Presidium of the Supreme Council to bestow the award “in some cases” “also in the absence of the consideration by the council”, and the recommendation nature of the opinion of this council (provided it considered the nomination) to the Presidium of the Supreme Council.

5.4. Thus, under the said law, the Presidium of the Supreme Council had an exclusive right to bestow the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas; the Presidium of the Supreme Council was not allowed to decide independently on whether to award citizens of foreign states with the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas if there had not been a nomination (i.e. presentation of these persons for awarding with the orders of the said classes); in the presence of such a nomination (presentation) by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Presidium of the Supreme Council was allowed, in exceptional (“some”) cases, to decide the issue of awarding regardless of whether such a nomination (presentation) by the Minister of Foreign Affairs had been considered at the Council of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas; the Presidium of the Supreme Council was allowed to adopt a decision on awarding also regardless of the opinion expressed by the said council of the order concerning the aforesaid nomination (presentation) by the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

5.5. The Law on Orders, Medals and Other Decorations (wording of 12 September 1991) was amended and/or supplemented, however, the specified provisions thereof were not amended or supplemented (save Article 4, which was correspondingly supplemented by the Law “On Establishing the Commemorative Medal of 13 January and on Amending and Supplementing the Republic of Lithuania Law on Orders, Medals and Other Decorations” adopted by the Supreme Council on 18 December 1991, and by the Law “On Establishing the Medal of Darius and Girėnas and on Amending and Supplementing the Republic of Lithuania Law on Orders, Medals and Other Decorations” adopted by the Seimas on 1 July 1993; the aforesaid provision of Article 4 (wording of 1 July 1993) “The order of precedence of orders <…> shall be as follows: <…> the 3rd Class Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas” remained unchanged.

6. In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue, having compared the aforesaid legal regulation, which was established in the Law on Orders, Medals and Other Decorations of the State of Lithuania valid since 1 September 1930, with that established in the Law on Orders, Medals and Other Decorations which came into force on 12 September 1991, one is to note the following:

the grounds for awarding persons with the 3rd Class Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas (merits to the State of Lithuania by distinguished diligent and honest work in the state service or public activities), the place (precedence) of this 3rd class order in the system of all orders, the criteria for awarding by this 3rd class order, the possibility to award citizens of foreign states by this 3rd class order (by the cross respectively designating the honour of this order), the procedure for awarding (inter alia nomination for awarding) citizens of foreign states by this 3rd class order;

there were changes in the state institution empowered to award persons (under the Law on Orders, Medals and Other Decorations of the State of Lithuania, which had been valid in the Republic of Lithuania since 1 September 1930, the President of the Republic used to be such an institution, whereas under the 12 September 1991 wording of this law, the Presidium of the Supreme Council used to be such an institution), and in the consolidation of the title of the person awarded with the 3rd Class Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas (bearer of the order): inter alia the international definition commandeur was no longer there (as well as the international definitions of the persons awarded with the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th Class Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas: grand-croix, grand officier, officier, chevalier).

7. By the will of citizens of the State of Lithuania, by means of the 25 October 1992 referendum, the Lithuanian Nation adopted the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, which came into force on 2 November 1992.

8. In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue it needs to be noted that the Constitution inter alia prescribes: “The Seimas <...> shall establish State awards of the Republic of Lithuania” (Article 67), “The President of the Republic <...> shall confer State awards” (Article 84).

9. Under Article 1 of the Law “On the Procedure for Entry into Force of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania”, upon the entry into force of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, the Provisional Basic Law became null and void.

Article 2 of the Law “On the Procedure for Entry into Force of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania” established that laws, other legal acts or parts thereof, which were in force on the territory of the Republic of Lithuania prior to the adoption of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, shall be effective inasmuch as they are not in conflict with the Constitution and this law, and shall remain in force until they are either declared null and void or brought in line with the provisions of the Constitution.

10. In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue it needs to be noted that even though, as mentioned, the Law on Orders, Medals and Other Decorations adopted by the Supreme Council on 12 September 1991 had been amended and supplemented, however, upon the entry into force of the 25 October 1992 Constitution, the inter alia following aforesaid provisions of this law (wording of 12 September 1991 with subsequent amendments and supplements) were not changed: “Orders of the State of Lithuania <...> shall be bestowed by the Presidium of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania” (Article 20); “The Council of the Order of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas shall be composed of the chairman and 5 members, which are appointed <…> for three years by the Chairman of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania” (Article 84). “The opinion of the council shall not be binding upon the Presidium of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania” (Article 13); “In some cases the Presidium of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania may confer the award also in the absence of the consideration by the council” (Article 23); “The Grand Master of Orders shall perform all matters related with the issues of <…> orders through the apparatus of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania” (Article 9).

11. On 19 December 2001, the President of the Republic issued Decree No. 1609 “On Submitting the Republic of Lithuania Draft Law on State Awards and the Republic of Lithuania Draft Law on Amending Article 7 of the Law on Land Reform to the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania for Deliberation”, whereby he submitted inter alia the Republic of Lithuania Draft Law on State Awards to the Seimas for deliberation (Article 1).

The explanatory note to the Draft Law on State Awards submitted by Decree of the President of the Republic No. 1609 of 19 December 2001 to the Seimas inter alia specified that “the Law on Orders, Medals and Other Decorations adopted on 12 September 1991 <…> both in its formulations and the structure of awards is no longer in line with the present-day requirements <…>. <…> the titles of orders widely used in other countries are given to each order: Grand Cross (1st Class Order), the Grand Cross of Commander (2nd Class Order), the Cross of Commander (3rd Class Order), the Cross of Officer (4th Class Order), the Cross of the Knight (5th Class Order). The five-class system will not cause confusion among the already bestowed and would-be bestowed orders, whereas the titles of orders will help avoid possible misunderstandings when high ranking officials, diplomats and other persons of other states are awarded with orders of the Republic of Lithuania.”

12. It is clear from the travaux préparatoires of the Draft Law on State Awards submitted by Decree of the President of the Republic No. 1609 of 19 December 2001 to the Seimas that one of the aims of preparation of this draft law and of submission it to the Seimas was harmonisation of the procedure for conferring state awards, as well as the formulations of the regulation of this procedure according to the law, with the Constitution, also granting international titles to the classes of the orders, inter alia the title of the Cross of Commander—to the 3rd Class Order.

13. On 18 June 2002, the Seimas adopted the Law on State Awards wherein it established inter alia the system of state awards, their types, badges of the awards and grounds for conferring state awards.

13.1. Article 45 (wording of m. 18 June 2002) of the said law prescribes that this law shall enter into force after the President of the Republic approves the standards of state orders, medals and other decorations (Item 1), the procedure for wearing state orders, medals and other decorations (Item 2), the Regulations of the Council for the State Awards (Item 3), the Regulations of the Grand Master for the State Orders of Lithuania (Item 4).

13.1.1. In this context it needs to be noted that Paragraph 2 of Article 7 of the Constitution provides that only laws which are published shall be valid. While construing this constitutional provision, the Constitutional Court has held that “The constitutional principle that law may not be non-public is reflected in Paragraph 2 of Article 7 of the Constitution. Thus, taking account of the constitutional requirement that law may not be non-public, the notion ‘laws’ which is employed in Paragraph 2 of Article 7 of the Constitution should not be construed only literally. It should be construed in an expanding manner, as a notion that includes not only legal acts, which have the power of the law, but also other legal acts” (Constitutional Court rulings of 29 October 2003, 27 June 2007, 9 February 2010, and 26 February 2010), thus, the said notion also encompasses decrees of the President of the Republic (Constitutional Court decision of 29 December 2006). The official publication of laws in pursuance with the procedure established in the Constitution and laws is a necessary condition so that laws be valid and that subjects of legal relations should know as to what laws are valid, what their content is, and that they might follow these laws (Constitutional Court rulings of 11 January 2001, 29 October 2003, 27 June 2007, and 9 February 2010).

13.1.2. The President of the Republic confirmed, by means of Article 1 of his Decree No. 2026 “On the Confirmation of the Projects, Drawings, and Standards of Awards and Substitutes Thereof of the State of Lithuania, the Rules of Wearing State Awards, the Regulations of the Lithuanian State Awards Council and the Regulations of the Grand Master for the State Orders of Lithuania” of 16 January 2003, the projects, drawings, and standards of awards and substitutes thereof of the State of Lithuania (Item 1), the Rules of Wearing State Awards (Item 2), the Regulations of the Lithuanian State Awards Council (Item 3), the Regulations of the Grand Master for the State Orders of Lithuania (Item 4). Article 3 of the said decree of the President of the Republic established that it shall come into force as from the day of its signing. In this context it needs to be mentioned that Decree of the President of the Republic No. 2026 “On the Confirmation of the Projects, Drawings, and Standards of Awards and Substitutes Thereof of the State of Lithuania, the Rules of Wearing State Awards, the Regulations of the Lithuanian State Awards Council and the Regulations of the Grand Master for the State Orders of Lithuania” of 16 January 2003 was officially published in the official gazette “Valstybės žinios” on 24 January 2003.

Taking account of the provision of Paragraph 2 of Article 7 of the Constitution that that only laws which are published shall be valid, of the fact that in pursuance of the general principle of law lex retro non agit (which is also entrenched in the Constitution) the power of legal acts must be only prospective (save the cases permitted by the general principle of law lex benignior retro agit), it needs to be held that it was allowed to apply the provisions of Decree of the President of the Republic No. 2026 “On the Confirmation of the Projects, Drawings, and Standards of Awards and Substitutes Thereof of the State of Lithuania, the Rules of Wearing State Awards, the Regulations of the Lithuanian State Awards Council and the Regulations of the Grand Master for the State Orders of Lithuania” of 16 January 2003 (and the legal acts—constituent parts of this decree) only as from 24 January 2003, after this decree of the President of the Republic had been officially published in the official gazette “Valstybės žinios” (Constitutional Court decision of 29 December 2006). Thus, the application of the provisions of the Law on State Awards could be started only as from 24 January 2003 and the said provisions could not be applied to any relations that had appeared till that day (Constitutional Court decision of 29 December 2006). Consequently, one was allowed to start conferring the state awards entrenched in the Law on State Awards, inter alia the Cross of Commander of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas, according to their new drawings and standards, only from 24 January 2003.

It also needs to be mentioned that, as the Constitutional Court held in its ruling of 29 October 2003 (and noted in its decision of 29 December 2006 and in its ruling of 20 February 2008), under the Constitution, the Government by its resolutions may not establish any such legal regulation, according to which the time of entry into force or becoming no longer valid of a resolution would depend on entry into force of a legal act of lower power, which is adopted by another subject. This doctrinal provision formulated in the Constitutional Court ruling of 29 October 2003 is to be construed as expressing a general constitutional imperative that the time of entry into force of a legal act of higher power or its becoming no longer valid should not, nor may be made dependent on the time of entry into force of a legal act of lower power or of its becoming no longer valid, etc. Thus, one neither should nor may make the time of entry into force of a law dependent on a decree of the President of the Republic, i.e., on the issuance of a legal act of lower power and its coming into force (Constitutional Court decision of 29 December 2006).

13.1.3. It needs to be noted that neither the time of official publishing and entry into force of Decree of the President of the Republic No. 2026 “On the Confirmation of the Projects, Drawings, and Standards of Awards and Substitutes Thereof of the State of Lithuania, the Rules of Wearing State Awards, the Regulations of the Lithuanian State Awards Council and the Regulations of the Grand Master for the State Orders of Lithuania” of 16 January 2003, or of the Law on State Awards, nor the date of the beginning of the application of these legal acts is the matter of dispute in the constitutional justice case at issue.

13.1.4. After the Law on State Awards had come into force, the Law on Orders, Medals and Other Decorations (wording of 12 September 1991) became no longer valid (Article 44 of the Law on State Awards).

13.2. In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue it needs to be noted that the Law on State Awards (wording of 18 June 2002) inter alia prescribed: “The Orders shall be as follows: <…> the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas” (Paragraph 2 of Article 4); “‘Cross’ means the main part of the State orders” (Paragraph 12 of Article 2); “The Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas shall be of five classes”, “The badges of the Order shall be as follows: the Grand Cross, the Grand Cross of Commander, the Cross of Commander, the Cross of Officer and the Cross of the Knight” (Article 33); “Insignia of the Orders shall be as follows: <...> the Cross of Commander (3rd Class Order)” (Paragraph 3 of Article 4); “The order of precedence of State orders, medals and other decorations shall be as follows: <…> 12) the Cross of Commander of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas” (Article 7); “Persons presented with any of the State orders of Lithuania shall be referred to as bearers of that order”, “Persons awarded the orders <…> of the State of Lithuania prior to the entry into force of this Law shall enjoy the same rights as the persons awarded in accordance with this Law” (Article 6).

13.3. Thus, the specified provisions of the law (wording of 18 June 2002) inter alia entrenched the 3rd Class Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas (“the Cross of Commander of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas”). A person awarded with this order was referred to as a bearer of this order; one entrenched the principle that the rights of the bearer of the order acquired under the previous legal regulation are the same as those acquired under the new legal regulation.

13.4. It needs to be mentioned that the Law on State Awards (wording of 18 June 2002) also established that “State awards shall be orders <…> bestowed by decree of the President of the Republic” (Article 4); “State orders <…> shall be awarded to honour the citizens of the Republic of Lithuania, stateless persons and foreign nationals for their merits” (Article 3); “The Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas shall be bestowed upon the persons for their merits to Lithuania, especially diligent and honest work, public activities” (Article 32); “Nominations for bestowing State orders <…> shall be considered in the Council for the Awards. Its conclusions shall be presented to the President of the Republic” (Paragraph 1 of Article 12); “The Council for the State Awards <…> shall be a public consultative institution dealing with the issues pertaining to State awards”, “The President of the Republic shall set up the Council for the Awards for a period of three years <...>”, “The Council for the Awards shall consider the candidatures nominated for bestowing the award <…> and submit its conclusions to the President of the Republic” (Article 9); “The President of the Republic may bestow awards even without the consideration by the Council for the Awards” (Paragraph 2 of Article 12).

In this context it needs to be mentioned that Article 11 titled “Procedure for Nominating Candidates for Awarding” of the said law (wording of 2002 June 18) prescribes:

1. The following shall be entitled to nominate to the President of the Republic candidates to be awarded orders <…>:

1) the Government—the Grand Crosses of <…> the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas <…>;

2) the Speaker of the Seimas and his deputies, the Prime Minister, the members of the Government—<…> the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas <…> of other classes <…>.

2. Candidatures of foreign citizens nominated for the bestowal of the orders <…> must be co-ordinated with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania.

3. Enterprises, establishments, organisations and citizens may nominate to the State institutions and officers specified in Paragraph 1 of this Article the candidates for awarding.

4. The President of the Republic may award State orders <…> even without the recommendation of the State institutions and officers specified in Paragraph 1 of this Article. <...>”

13.5. Thus, the Law on State Awards (wording of 18 June 2002) has also established the grounds of awarding of persons with the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas, inter alia with its Cross of Commander: merits to the State of Lithuania by distinguished diligent and honest work or public activities. In addition, the same law has entrenched the following: the right of the President of the Republic to award persons with merits to Lithuania with the Cross of Commander of this order; the possibility to award citizens of foreign states and stateless persons with the aforesaid order; the right of the Speaker of the Seimas and his deputies, the Prime Minister, members of the Government to nominate candidates, inter alia citizens of foreign states and stateless persons, to the President of the Republic to be awarded orders, inter alia the Cross of Commander of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas; the possibility of enterprises, establishments, organisations that they nominate, to the aforesaid subjects, the candidates for awarding; the duty of the said subjects that have the right to nominate candidates to be awarded with orders, to co-ordinate the candidatures of citizens of foreign states with the Minister of Foreign Affairs; consideration of the submitted candidatures in the Council for the State Awards; the right of the President of the Republic to bestow orders even without the said nomination of candidates to be awarded and without the consideration of the nominations for awarding by the Council for the State Awards.

Consequently, under the said law (wording of 18 June 2002), the President of the Republic has the exclusive right to bestow orders, inter alia the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas, to persons, inter alia citizens of foreign states; the President of the Republic may bestow the Cross of Commander of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas to citizens of foreign states regardless of whether there is a nomination by the Speaker of the Seimas or his deputies, the Prime Minister, or members of the Government (regarding bestowing the award to these persons) and whether it has been co-ordinated with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and in case such co-ordination exists—regardless of whether it has been considered in the Council for the State Awards and regardless of the opinion of this council.

13.6. It needs to be noted that the provisions of the said Law on State Awards (wording of 18 June 2002) are valid at present, these provisions have not been amended or supplemented.

14. Having compared the discussed legal regulation established in the Law on Orders, Medals and Other Decorations (wording of 12 September 1991) and the Law on State Awards (wording of 18 June 2002), in the context of the constitutional justice case at issue it needs to be noted that:

1) the Law on State Awards (wording of 18 June 2002) no longer contains provisions whereby only the Minister of Foreign Affairs has the right to nominate citizens of foreign states to be awarded and such a nomination is considered in the corresponding council of the order (as mentioned, under the new legal regulation, the Speaker of the Seimas and his deputies, the Prime Minister and members of the Government, may nominate citizens of foreign states to be awarded upon prior co-ordination of such candidatures with the Minister of Foreign Affairs; the nominations are considered in the Council for the State Awards—the institution advising the President of the Republic on issues of all state awards);

2) the following was changed in the Law on State Awards (wording of 18 June 2002):

the title of the 3rd Class Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas (the order was titled: “the Cross of Commander of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas”,

bestowing orders to persons, inter alia citizens of foreign states, subsequent to a nomination (under the new legal regulation, the President of the Republic may bestow the award also in the absence of a nomination by other empowered subjects).

15. Thus, in summary it needs to be held that inter alia the fact that the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas was and is treated as one of the orders of the State of Lithuania that may be bestowed inter alia to citizens of foreign states, is characteristic of the tradition of the legal regulation (previously valid and at present valid in the Republic of Lithuania) established by means of the law, regarding bestowal of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas to persons.

IV

On the compliance of Article 1 of Decree of the President of the Republic No. 1806 “On Awarding Citizens of the Republic of Lithuania and Citizens of Foreign States with Orders and Medals of the State of Lithuania on the Occasion of the Day of State (Coronation of King Mindaugas of Lithuania)” of 14 June 2002 to the extent that it provides that Vladimir Yakunin, the Chairman of the Committee of Trustees of the Centre of the National Glory of Russia Foundation and supporter of bilateral relations of Lithuania and Russia (Russian Federation), is awarded the Cross of Commander of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas with the provisions of the Law on Orders, Medals and Other Decorations (wording of 12 September 1991).

1. It has been mentioned that in the constitutional justice case at issue it is investigated whether Article 1 of Decree of the President of the Republic No. 1806 “On Awarding Citizens of the Republic of Lithuania and Citizens of Foreign States with Orders and Medals of the State of Lithuania on the Occasion of the Day of State (Coronation of King Mindaugas of Lithuania)” of 14 June 2002, to the extent that it provides that Vladimir Yakunin, the Chairman of the Committee of Trustees of the Centre of the National Glory of Russia Foundation and supporter of bilateral relations of Lithuania and Russia (Russian Federation), is awarded the Cross of Commander of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas, was not in conflict with inter alia Article 1, Article 4 (wording of 1 July 1993), Paragraph 2 of Article 21, Article 22, Paragraph 1 of Article 24 and Articles 80 and 81 of the Law on Orders, Medals and Other Decorations (wording of 12 September 1991).

2. On 14 June 2002, the President of the Republic issued Decree No. 1806 “On Awarding Citizens of the Republic of Lithuania and Citizens of Foreign States with Orders and Medals of the State of Lithuania on the Occasion of the Day of State (Coronation of King Mindaugas of Lithuania)” which came into force as from the day of its signing (Article 2).

Article 1 of the Decree inter alia prescribes:

On the occasion of the Day of State (Coronation of King Mindaugas of Lithuania), for merits to the State of Lithuania and for efforts to spread the name of Lithuania in the world I shall award the following persons with orders and medals of the State of Lithuania <...>

with the Cross of Commander of the

Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas,

<...>

Vladimir YAKUNIN—the Chairman of the Committee of Trustees of the Centre of the National Glory of Russia Foundation and supporter of bilateral relations of Lithuania and Russia (Russian Federation); <...>.”

3. While deciding, subsequent to the petition of the petitioner, whether Article 1 of the Decree to the specified extent was not in conflict with inter alia Article 1, Article 4 (wording of 1 July 1993), Paragraph 2 of Article 21, Article 22, Paragraph 1 of Article 24 and Articles 80 and 81 of the Law on Orders, Medals and Other Decorations (wording of 12 September 1991), it necessary to elucidate whether Article 1, Article 4 (wording of 1 July 1993), Paragraph 2 of Article 21, Article 22, Paragraph 1 of Article 24 and Articles 80 and 81 of the Law on Orders, Medals and Other Decorations (wording of 12 September 1991) were not in conflict with the Constitution.

The Constitutional Court has held that while administering justice, the court must follow only the laws and legal acts that are not in conflict with the Constitution, and it may not apply a law, which is in conflict with the Constitution (Constitutional Court rulings of 13 December 2004, 16 January 2006, 27 June 2007, and 2 March 2009). The Constitutional Court has also held that a virtually wrong presumption would be made that, purportedly, a substatutory legal act must be in line with an unconstitutional law; such a presumption would deny the concept (entrenched in the Constitution) of the hierarchy of legal acts, on top of which is the Constitution; thus, the essence of constitutional justice itself would be distorted (Constitutional Court rulings of 16 January 2007, 27 June 2007, 17 December 2007 and 22 June 2009).

One of essential elements of the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law is the requirement that one should not apply a legal act which is in conflict with a legal act of higher power.

4. As mentioned, the group of Members of the Seimas, the petitioner, requests to investigate the compliance of Article 1 of the Decree to the specified extent with inter alia Article 1, Paragraph 2 of Article 21, Article 22, Paragraph 1 of Article 24 and Article 80 of the Law on Orders, Medals and Other Decorations (wording of 12 September 1991).

As mentioned, Article 1 of the said law (wording of 12 September 1991) prescribed: “The orders, medals and other decorations of the State of Lithuania shall be conferred in order to honour the persons with merits at time of peace and at time of war and to induce citizens of Lithuania to become involved in the work for the welfare of the State of Lithuania and society.”

As mentioned, Article 80 of the said law (wording of 12 September 1991) prescribed:

The Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas shall be bestowed to persons with merits to the State of Lithuania, who became distinguished by diligent and honest work in the state service or public activities.

The Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas may also be bestowed to citizens of foreign states.”

As mentioned, Paragraph 2 of Article 21 of the said law (wording of 12 September 1991) prescribed: “The citizens of foreign states to be awarded with orders, medals and other decorations shall be nominated by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania.”

As mentioned, Article 22 of the said law (wording of 12 September 1991) prescribed: “Presentations of the persons expected to be bestowed the award shall be submitted to the Grand Master of the Orders not later than one month prior to the day of awarding with a short biography of the presented person, description of merits, a note on the badges of honour held together with the indication of the type of the award to which the said person is presented.

As mentioned, Paragraph 1 of Article 24 of the said law (wording of 12 September 1991) prescribed: “When the class of the order is established, an account is taken of the significance of the merits of the awarded person, his rank or his social status.”

4.1. The aforesaid provisions of the Law on Orders, Medals and Other Decorations (wording of 12 September 1991) used to regulate the relations linked with the grounds and procedure for bestowing awards. Such provisions were inseparable from the other provisions of the same law, which also used to regulate the relations linked with the grounds and procedure for bestowing awards.

The said law (wording of 12 September 1991) inter alia established that “Orders of the State of Lithuania <...> shall be bestowed by the Presidium of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania” (Article 20); “Nominations for awarding with orders <…> shall be considered at the corresponding council <…>” (Article 23); “The Council of the Order of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas shall be composed of the chairman and 5 members, which are appointed from among bearers of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas for three years by the Chairman of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania” (Article 84); “The opinion of the council shall not be binding upon the Presidium of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania” (Article 13); “In some cases the Presidium of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania may bestow the award also in the absence of the consideration by the council” (Article 23).

4.2. In this context it needs to be noted that, as mentioned, although the Law on Orders, Medals and Other Decorations adopted by the Supreme Council on 12 September 1991 was amended and supplemented, the following provisions were not amended: “Orders of the State of Lithuania <...> shall be bestowed by the Presidium of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania” (Article 20); “Nominations for awarding with orders <…> shall be considered at the corresponding council <…>” (Article 23); “The Council of the Order of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas shall be composed of the chairman and 5 members, which are appointed from among bearers of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas for three years by the Chairman of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania” (Article 84); “The opinion of the council shall not be binding upon the Presidium of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania” (Article 13); “In some cases the Presidium of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania may bestow the award also in the absence of the consideration by the council” (Article 23).

4.3. Thus, the powers of inter alia the Presidium of the Supreme Council and the Chairman of the Supreme Council related with awarding persons, inter alia citizens of foreign states with orders of the State of Lithuania, inter alia with the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas, entrenched in the said law (wording of 12 September 1991) remained unchanged during the entire time of the validity of this law, i.e. till the entry into force of the Law on State Awards adopted by the Seimas on 18 June 2002.

4.4. In this context it needs to be noted that, as mentioned, the Constitution adopted in the 25 October 1992 referendum came into force on 2 November 1992.

4.4.1. As mentioned, the Constitution inter alia provides that the President of the Republic “shall confer State awards” (Item 22 of Article 84).

4.4.2. As mentioned, by means of the 25 October 1992 referendum, the Nation adopted the Law “On the Procedure for Entry into Force of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania” together with the Constitution.

4.4.3. The Constitutional Court has held that the provisions of the Law “On the Procedure of Entry into Effect of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania” are inseparably related with other provisions of the Constitution. The provisions, which are consolidated in some articles of this law, supplement other provisions of the Constitution, without which the former could not be implemented; other articles of this law establish the peculiarities of implementation of the provisions of the Constitution during the period when state institutions provided for by the Constitution were in the course of establishment, also when the legal regulation which is required by the Constitution was being created. The Law “On the Procedure of Entry into Effect of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania”, which was adopted by the Nation in the referendum together with the Constitution and provisions of which are inseparably related with the provisions and principles of the Constitution and supplement other provisions of the Constitution or establish peculiarities of implementation of corresponding provisions of the Constitution may not be itself a non-constituent part of the Constitution. Thus, the Law “On the Procedure of Entry into Effect of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania” is a constituent part of the Constitution and its provisions have the power of the Constitution (Constitutional Court ruling of 29 October 2003).

4.4.4. As mentioned, under Article 1 of the Law “On the Procedure for Entry into Force of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania”, upon the entry into force of the Constitution, the Provisional Basic Law became null and void. From then on the Lithuanian national legal system was to be created and developed only on the grounds of the Constitution.

As mentioned, Article 2 of the Law “On the Procedure for Entry into Force of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania” established that laws, other legal acts or parts thereof, which were in force on the territory of the Republic of Lithuania prior to the adoption of the Constitution, shall be effective inasmuch as they are not in conflict with the Constitution and this law, and shall remain in force until they are either declared null and void or brought in line with the provisions of the Constitution.

4.4.5. The Constitutional Court has noted that the formulation of Article 2 of the Law “On the Procedure of Entry into Effect of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania” “inasmuch as they are not in conflict with the Constitution and this Law”, which is related with the principle of the superiority of the Constitution, and in particular with the provision of Paragraph 1 of Article 7 of the Constitution that any law or other act which is inconsistent with the Constitution shall be invalid, means that the Constitution establishes that legal acts, which had been adopted before the entry into effect of the Constitution, may not be valid if they are inconsistent with the Constitution and if it has been established, on the basis and according to the procedure established in the Constitution, that those legal acts are in conflict with the Constitution (Constitutional Court ruling of 29 October 2003).

The Constitutional Court has also held that the formulation “shall remain in effect until they are either declared null and void or harmonised with the provisions of the Constitution” of Article 2 of the Law “On the Procedure of Entry into Effect of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania” means that the legislator, other legislative subjects have the duty to revise all legal acts adopted by them prior to the entry into effect of the Constitution and still remaining in force, also the legal acts which were adopted by no longer existing institutions after the entry into effect of the Constitution and still remaining in force which regulate the relationships which are assigned to the sphere of regulation of an appropriate legislative subject, as well as the legal acts which had been adopted before the restoration of the independent State of Lithuania and remained in force after the restoration of the independent State of Lithuania and, after the entry into effect of the Constitution, regulate the relationships which are assigned to the sphere of regulation of an appropriate legislative subject, and to assess whether those legal acts, in the opinion of that legislative subject, are not in conflict with the Constitution (Constitutional Court ruling of 29 October 2003).

Thus, as it has been held by the Constitutional Court, the principle of the superiority of the Constitution implies the duty of the legislator, other lawmaking subjects to revise legal acts, which were issued before coming into effect of the Constitution, while taking account of norms and principles of the Constitution, to ensure a harmonious hierarchical system of legal acts, which regulate the same relationships (inter alia Constitutional Court rulings of 3 December 1997, 29 October 2003, 5 March 2004, 13 November 2006 and 28 May 2008).

The legislator, other legislative subject, upon assessment that, in his opinion, a legal act, which had been adopted before the entry into effect of the Constitution and still remaining in force, or a legal act, adopted by no longer existing institutions after the entry into effect of the Constitution and still remaining in force, which regulates the relationships which are assigned to the sphere of regulation of an appropriate legislative subject, or a legal act, which had been adopted before the restoration of the independent State of Lithuania and remained in force after restoration of the independent State of Lithuania and, after the entry into effect of the Constitution regulate the relationships which are assigned to the sphere of regulation of an appropriate legislative subject, is in conformity with the Constitution, may leave such a legal act in effect. On the other hand, if the legislator, other legislative subject assesses that, in his opinion, a legal act (or part thereof), which had been adopted before the entry into effect of the Constitution and still remaining in force, or a legal act (or part thereof), adopted by no longer existing institutions after the entry into effect of the Constitution and still remaining in force which regulate the relationships which are assigned to the sphere of regulation of an appropriate legislative subject, or a legal act (or part thereof), which had been adopted before the restoration of the independent State of Lithuania and remained in force after restoration of the independent State of Lithuania and, after the entry into effect of the Constitution, regulate the relationships, which are assigned to the sphere of regulation of an appropriate legislative subject, is not in conformity with the Constitution, he has a constitutional duty to either harmonise this act with the Constitution, i.e. to pass a new legal act, which would amend, in the opinion of that legislative subject, the legal act (or part thereof) that is not in conformity with the Constitution, or to recognise such a legal act, which, in his opinion, is not in conformity with the Constitution, as no longer valid (Constitutional Court ruling of 29 October 2003).

The Constitutional Court has noted that the process of revision and assessment of legal acts as to their conformity with the Constitution, which were adopted before the entry into force of the Constitution, is not a onetime act, however, this process may not last for a groundlessly long time (Constitutional Court rulings of 29 October 2003 and 28 May 2008). The Constitutional Court has also held that the duty of the legislator, other lawmaking subjects to revise all legal acts adopted by them before the entry into effect of the Constitution and which still remain in force, also the legal acts adopted by no longer existing institutions after the entry into effect of the Constitution and still remaining in force, which regulate the relations which are assigned to the sphere of regulation of a corresponding law-making subject, as well as legal acts, which had been adopted before the restoration of the independent State of Lithuania and remained in force after restoration of the independent State of Lithuania and, after the entry into effect of the Constitution, regulate the relationships, which are assigned to the sphere of regulation of an appropriate legislative subject, and assess their conformity with the Constitution within a reasonably short period, stems from the principle of the superiority of the Constitution, and the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law (Constitutional Court rulings of 29 October 2003, 13 November 2006, and 28 May 2008). The Constitutional Court has also held that the constitutionality of legal acts (or parts thereof), which have not been harmonised with the Constitution by passing a new legal act by the corresponding law-making subject, which would amend, in the opinion of that law-making subject, the legal act (or part thereof) that was not in conformity with the Constitution, and which have not been recognized as no longer valid, may be verified by conducting constitutional control: according to the Constitution, the Constitutional Court decides as to the conformity of the Republic of Lithuania laws, other acts adopted by the Supreme Council, Government acts, which were adopted prior to the entry into effect of the Constitution, as well as of legal acts of corresponding legal power, which were adopted before the restoration of the independent State of Lithuania, but remained in force after the restoration of the independent State of Lithuania, and regulate the relationships that are assigned to sphere of regulation of the Seimas or the Government (Constitutional Court rulings of 29 October 2003, 13 November 2006, and 28 May 2008).

4.5. In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue it needs to be noted that upon the entry into force of the Constitution, there appeared a duty to the legislator to secure that the relations linked to state awards be regulated in the manner required by the Constitution.

4.5.1. It needs to be held that the provision “The opinion of the council shall not be binding upon the Presidium of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania” of Article 13 of the Law on Orders, Medals and Other Decorations (wording of 12 September 1991) to the extent that it established the powers of the Presidium of the Supreme Council in the area of state awards was in conflict with the provision of Item 22 of Article 84 of the Constitution that the President of the Republic shall confer state awards, with Paragraph 2 of Article 5 of the Constitution and with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

4.5.2. It needs to be held that the provision “Orders of the State of Lithuania <...> shall be bestowed by the Presidium of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania” of Article 20 of the Law on Orders, Medals and Other Decorations (wording of 12 September 1991) to the extent that it established the powers of the Presidium of the Supreme Council in the area of state awards was in conflict with the provision of Item 22 of Article 84 of the Constitution that the President of the Republic shall confer state awards, with Paragraph 2 of Article 5 of the Constitution and with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

4.5.3. It needs to be held that the provision “In some cases the Presidium of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania may bestow the award also in the absence of the consideration by the council” of Article 23 of the Law on Orders, Medals and Other Decorations (wording of 12 September 1991) to the extent that it established the powers of the Presidium of the Supreme Council in the area of state awards was in conflict with the provision of Item 22 of Article 84 of the Constitution that the President of the Republic shall confer state awards, with Paragraph 2 of Article 5 of the Constitution and with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

4.5.4. It needs to be held that the provision “The Council of the Order of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas shall be composed of the chairman and 5 members, which are appointed from among bearers of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas for three years by the Chairman of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania” of Article 84 of the Law on Orders, Medals and Other Decorations (wording of 12 September 1991) to the extent that it established the powers of the Chairman of the Supreme Council in the area of state awards was in conflict with the provision of Item 22 of Article 84 of the Constitution that the President of the Republic shall confer state awards, with Paragraph 2 of Article 5 of the Constitution and with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

4.6. The Constitutional Court has held that while administering justice, the court must follow only the laws and legal acts that are not in conflict with the Constitution, and it may not apply a law, which is in conflict with the Constitution (Constitutional Court rulings of 13 December 2004, 16 January 2006, 27 June 2007, 2 March 2009, and 22 June 2009).

4.7. Having held that the provision “The opinion of the council shall not be binding upon the Presidium of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania” of Article 13, the provision “Orders of the State of Lithuania <...> shall be bestowed by the Presidium of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania” of Article 20, the provision “In some cases the Presidium of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania may bestow the award also in the absence of the consideration by the council” of Article 23 Article 84 of the Law on Orders, Medals and Other Decorations (wording of 12 September 1991), to the extent that they established the powers of the Presidium of the Supreme Council in the area of state awards, and the provision “The Council of the Order of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas shall be composed of the chairman and 5 members, which are appointed from among bearers of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas for three years by the Chairman of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania” of Article 84 of the same law to the extent that it established the powers of the Chairman of the Supreme Council in the area of state awards were in conflict with the provision of Item 22 of Article 84 of the Constitution that the President of the Republic shall confer state awards, with Paragraph 2 of Article 5 of the Constitution and with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, in the constitutional justice case at issue the Constitutional Court will not investigate whether Article 1 of the Decree to the specified extent was in conformity with inter alia the provisions of Article 1, Paragraph 2 of Article 21, Article 22, Paragraph 1 of Article 24, Article 80 of Law on Orders, Medals and Other Decorations which are inseparably related to the provisions of Articles 13, 20, 23, and 84 of the same law.

Otherwise, if one investigated the compliance of Article 1 of the Decree to the specified extent with Article 1, Paragraph 2 of Article 21, Article 22, Paragraph 1 of Article 24, and Article 80 of Law on Orders, Medals and Other Decorations (wording of 12 September 1991), one would deny the concept of the hierarchy of legal acts entrenched in the Constitution and one would also distort the principle of superiority of the Constitution and the essence of constitutional justice.

4.8. Taking account of the arguments set forth, this part of the constitutional justice case regarding the petition of the group of Members of the Seimas, the petitioner, requesting to investigate the compliance of Article 1 of the Decree to the extent that it provides that Vladimir Yakunin, the Chairman of the Committee of Trustees of the Centre of the National Glory of Russia Foundation and supporter of bilateral relations of Lithuania and Russia (Russian Federation), is awarded the Cross of Commander of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas with inter alia Article 1, Article 22, Paragraph 1 of Article 24, and Article 80 of Law on Orders, Medals and Other Decorations (wording of 12 September 1991) is to be dismissed.

4.9. In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue it needs to be held that on the mere grounds that the provision “The opinion of the council shall not be binding upon the Presidium of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania” of Article 13, the provision “Orders of the State of Lithuania <...> shall be bestowed by the Presidium of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania” of Article 20, the provision “In some cases the Presidium of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania may bestow the award also in the absence of the consideration by the council” of Article 23 of the Law on Orders, Medals and Other Decorations (wording of 12 September 1991), to the extent that they established the powers of the Presidium of the Supreme Council in the area of state awards, and the provision “The Council of the Order of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas shall be composed of the chairman and 5 members, which are appointed from among bearers of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas for three years by the Chairman of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania” of Article 84 of the same law to the extent that it established the powers of the Chairman of the Supreme Council in the area of state awards were in conflict with the provision of Item 22 of Article 84 of the Constitution that the President of the Republic shall confer state awards, with Paragraph 2 of Article 5 of the Constitution and with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, the lawfulness of the decisions to confer state awards adopted in the course of application of this law may not be questioned.

4.10. As mentioned, under the Constitution, the legislator, while regulating the relations related to the procedure for conferring state awards, inter alia while consolidating the powers of corresponding subjects (inter alia Ministers) to nominate (present) persons for awarding with state awards, or while establishing the procedure for consideration of issues of conferring state awards in some institutions, may not establish any such legal regulation which would deny the empowerment of the President of the Republic to confer state awards, which stems from Item 22 of Article 84 of the Constitution.

5. As mentioned, the group of Members of the Seimas, the petitioner, requests to investigate the compliance of Article 1 of the Decree to the specified extent with inter alia Article 4 (wording of 1 July 1993) and Article 81 of the Law on Orders, Medals and Other Decorations (wording of 12 September 1991).

Article 4 (wording of 1 July 1993) of the said law inter alia prescribed:

The order of precedence of orders, medals and other decorations shall be as follows:

1) the Order of Vytautas the Great with the golden collar,

2) the 1st Class Order of the Cross of Vytis,

3) the 1st Class Order of Vytautas the Great,

4) the 2nd Class Order of the Cross of Vytis,

5) the 1st Class Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas,

6) the 2nd Class Order of Vytautas the Great,

7) the 3rd Class Order of the Cross of Vytis,

8) the 2nd Class Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas,

9) the 4th Class Order of the Cross of Vytis,

10) the 3rd Class Order of Vytautas the Great,

11) the 5th Class Order of the Cross of Vytis,

12) the 1st Class Cross of Vytis,

13) the 2nd Class Cross of Vytis,

14) the 3rd Class Cross of Vytis,

15) the 3rd Class Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas,

16) the 4th Class Order of Vytautas the Great,

17) the 5th Class Order of Vytautas the Great,

18) the 4th Class Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas,

19) the 5th Class Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas,

20) the Life Saving Cross,

21) the 1st Class Medal of the Order of Vytautas the Great,

22) the 1st Class Medal of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas,

23) the Medal of Founding Volunteers of the Lithuanian Army,

24) the Star of Riflemen,

25) the Lithuania Independence Medal,

26) the 2nd Class Medal of the Order of Vytautas the Great,

27) the 2nd Class Medal of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas,

28) the 3rd Class Medal of the Order of Vytautas the Great,

29) the 3rd Class Medal of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas,

30) the Medal of the Star of Riflemen,

31) the Commemorative Medal of 13 January,

32) the Medal of Darius and Girėnas.”

Article 81 of the said law prescribed:

The Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas shall be of five classes. Its badges of honour shall be:

the 1st class order –

1) the silver diagonal cross oxidised in black with wide tips, in the middle of the cross there is a smaller white enamel cross with three golden rays at each tip of the cross. The diameter of the silver cross in the middle is 40 mm. In the middle of the cross—red enamel quadrangle shield with golden edges in the middle of which there are the silver columns of the Grand Duke Gediminas of Lithuania.

From the centres of in-between gaps of the tips of the cross there are three gilded circle-knotted rays which compose a vertical cross of 50 mm in diameter.

The reverse of the cross shall be the same, but the shield shall contain the date of the proclamation of the independence ‘16 February 1918’, instead of the columns of the Gediminas’ dynasty;

2) the ribbon—yellow moiré, with four dark brown vertical stripes;

3) the silver convex nine-ray star, in the centre of which—the reduced badge of the order, only its diameter in the middle shall be 28 mm. The diameter of the star shall be 85 mm;

the 2nd class order –

1) the cross shall be the same as that of the 1st class order;

2) the star shall be the same as that of the 1st class order;

the 3rd class order shall be the same as the cross of the 1st class order;

the 4th class order shall be the same as the cross of the 1st class order only the diameter of the cross shall be 42.5 mm. The cross is worn on the ribbon of the order with the rosette;

the 5th class order shall be the same as the cross of the 4th class order, worn on the same ribbon without the rosette.”

5.1. The specified provisions of Article 4 (wording of 1 July 1993) and Article 81 of the said law established state awards, inter alia the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas of five classes and a description of its badge of honour (cross).

It needs to be noted that the specified provisions of the said law did not regulate the relations related with the procedure for conferring state awards.

5.2. It has been mentioned that, under the Constitution, the Seimas can establish state awards by means of passing a law, i.e. by establishing by such a law inter alia the system and types of state awards, descriptions of badges of the awards and the grounds of conferring such awards.

Thus, in the context of the constitutional justice case at issue there are no grounds to doubt as to the compliance of Article 4 (wording of 1 July 1993) and Article 81 of the said law with the Constitution.

6. As mentioned, the doubt of the petitioner regarding the compliance of Article 1 of the Decree to the specified extent with inter alia Article 4 (wording of 1 July 1993) and Article 81 of the Law on Orders, Medals and Other Decorations is grounded upon the fact that in the course of establishment that the there are five classes (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th) of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas no titles were given to the said classes; by means of the disputed Decree of the President of the Republic, Vladimir Yakunin was awarded with the Cross of Commander of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas, i.e. a different title and class of the order than it was established in the then in force Law on Orders, Medals and Other Decorations were specified, however, the said title and class were established in a new Republic of Lithuania Law on State Awards, which had not been adopted by the Seimas at that time yet.

7. While deciding whether Article 1 of the Decree to the specified extent was not in conflict with Article 4 (wording of 1 July 1993) and Article 81 of the Law on Orders, Medals and Other Decorations (wording of 12 September 1991), it is important to elucidate also what state awards were established by law at the time of issuance of the disputed (to a certain extent) Decree, by Article 1 whereof inter alia Vladimir Yakunin was awarded with the Cross of Commander of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas.

7.1. It has been mentioned that on the day of issuance of the disputed (to a certain extent) Decree, the Law on Orders, Medals and Other Decorations (wording of 12 September 1991) was in force, wherein it was inter alia established that “The orders of the State of Lithuania shall be: <…> the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas” (Article 2); “The Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas shall be of five classes” (Article 81).

It has also been mentioned that Article 4 (wording of 1 July 1993) of the said law inter alia prescribed:

The order of precedence of orders <…> shall be as follows: <...>

5) the 1st Class Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas, <...>,

8) the 2nd Class Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas, <...>,

15) the 3rd Class Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas, <...>,

18) the 4th Class Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas,

19) the 5th Class Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas, <...>“.

Thus, Article 4 (wording of 1 July 1993) of the Law on Orders, Medals and Other Decorations (wording of 12 September 1991) established the following Orders of Five Classes of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas: “the 1st Class Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas”, “the 2nd Class Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas”, “the 3rd Class Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas”, “the 4th Class Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas”, and “the 5th Class Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas”.

7.2. If one compares the Orders of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas established in the aforesaid provisions of the law with the order (“the Cross of Commander of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas”) which is specified in Article 1 of the disputed (to the corresponding extent) Decree, with which Vladimir Yakunin is awarded, it becomes clear that the order intended for Vladimir Yakunin was not established in Article 4 (wording of 1 July 1993) of the Law on Orders, Medals and Other Decorations (wording of 12 September 1991).

8. It has been mentioned that the Republic of Lithuania Draft Law on State Awards, which was submitted for consideration to the Seimas by Decree of the President of the Republic No. 1609 “On Submitting the Republic of Lithuania Draft Law on State Awards and the Republic of Lithuania Draft Law on Amending Article 7 of the Law on Land Reform to the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania for Deliberation”, which was issued on 19 December 2001, inter alia provided for the Cross of Commander of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas.

It has also been mentioned that, on 18 June 2002, the Seimas adopted the Law on State Awards which entrenched inter alia the Cross of Commander of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas.

8.1. Thus, the order (“the Cross of Commander of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas”) specified in disputed (to a certain extent) Article 1 of the Decree with which Vladimir Yakunin was awarded, was provided for in the Draft Law on State Awards at the time of issuance of this Decree.

8.2. In this context it needs to be noted that, as mentioned:

the application of the provisions of the Law on State Awards could be started only as from 24 January 2003, after Decree of the President of the Republic No. 2026 “On the Confirmation of the Projects, Drawings, and Standards of Awards and Substitutes Thereof of the State of Lithuania, the Rules of Wearing State Awards, the Regulations of the Lithuanian State Awards Council and the Regulations of the Grand Master for the State Orders of Lithuania” of 24 January 16 had officially been published in the official gazette “Valstybės žinios”;

after the Law on State Awards had come into force, the Law on Orders, Medals and Other Decorations (wording of 12 September 1991) became no longer valid (Article 44 of the Law on State Awards);

one was allowed to start conferring the state awards entrenched in the Law on State Awards, inter alia the Cross of Commander of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas, according to their new drawings and standards, only from 24 January 2003.

9. Consequently, Article 1 of Decree of the President of the Republic No. 1806 of 14 June 2002 to the extent that inter alia Vladimir Yakunin was awarded with the Cross of Commander of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas was not in line with the legal regulation established in the then valid Law on Orders, Medals and Other Decorations (wording of 12 September 1991), inter alia Article 4 (wording of 1 July 1993) and Article 81 thereof, which did not provide for the Cross of Commander of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas.

10. Taking account of the arguments set forth, one is to draw a conclusion that Article 1 of Decree of the President of the Republic No. 1806 “On Awarding Citizens of the Republic of Lithuania and Citizens of Foreign States with Orders and Medals of the State of Lithuania on the Occasion of the Day of State (Coronation of King Mindaugas of Lithuania)” of 14 June 2002 to the extent that it provides that Vladimir Yakunin, the Chairman of the Committee of Trustees of the Centre of the National Glory of Russia Foundation and supporter of bilateral relations of Lithuania and Russia (Russian Federation), is awarded the Cross of Commander of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas was in conflict with Article 4 (wording of 1 July 1993) and Article 81 of the Law on Orders, Medals and Other Decorations (wording of 12 September 1991).

V

On the compliance of Article 1 of Decree of the President of the Republic No. 1806 “On Awarding Citizens of the Republic of Lithuania and Citizens of Foreign States with Orders and Medals of the State of Lithuania on the Occasion of the Day of State (Coronation of King Mindaugas of Lithuania)” of 14 June 2002 to the extent that it provides that Vladimir Yakunin, the Chairman of the Committee of Trustees of the Centre of the National Glory of Russia Foundation and supporter of bilateral relations of Lithuania and Russia (Russian Federation), is awarded the Cross of Commander of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas with Article 5, Paragraph 1 of Article 29, Item 18 of Article 67, Paragraph 2 of Article 77, Paragraph 1 of Article 82, Item 22 of Article 84 of the Constitution and with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

1. It has been mentioned that in the constitutional justice case at issue it is investigated whether Article 1 of Decree of the President of the Republic No. 1806 “On Awarding Citizens of the Republic of Lithuania and Citizens of Foreign States with Orders and Medals of the State of Lithuania on the Occasion of the Day of State (Coronation of King Mindaugas of Lithuania)” of 14 June 2002 to the extent that it provides that Vladimir Yakunin, the Chairman of the Committee of Trustees of the Centre of the National Glory of Russia Foundation and supporter of bilateral relations of Lithuania and Russia (Russian Federation), is awarded the Cross of Commander of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas is not in conflict with inter alia Article 5, Paragraph 1 of Article 29, Item 18 of Article 67, Paragraph 2 of Article 77, Paragraph 1 of Article 82, Item 22 of Article 84 of the Constitution and with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

2. It has also been mentioned that the request of the petitioner to investigate the compliance of Article 1 of the Decree to the specified extent with inter alia Article 5, Item 18 of Article 67, Paragraph 2 of Article 77, and Item 22 of Article 84 of the Constitution is grounded on the doubt whether the President of the Republic, while awarding Vladimir Yakunin with the Cross of Commander of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas by failing to follow the procedure of awarding and titles of awards established in the Law on Orders, Medals and Other Decorations, did not exceed his constitutional empowerment to confer state awards, did not take over the power of the Seimas to establish state awards, whether he observed the principle of separation of powers and whether he performed the duty established to him in the Constitution to perform everything with which he is charged by the Constitution and laws. According to the petitioner, the President of the Republic does not enjoy absolute discretion to decide issues on conferring state awards. The petitioner notes that the Constitution and laws do not commission the President of the Republic to decide as to which provisions of the law must be applied, and which must be not applied even when there is a doubt regarding the constitutionality thereof.

3. In this context it needs to be noted that, as mentioned:

Paragraph 2 of Article 77 of the Constitution provides that the President of the Republic shall represent the State of Lithuania and shall perform everything with which he is charged by the Constitution and laws. Consequently, the President of the Republic may not violate the Constitution and laws;

the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law entrenched in the Constitution implies the hierarchy of legal acts as well, inter alia the fact that substatutory legal acts may not be in conflict with laws, constitutional laws and the Constitution, that sub-statutory legal acts must be adopted on the basis of laws;

the President of the Republic, while implementing the empowerment to confer state awards, which is entrenched in Item 22 of Article 84 of the Constitution, and while, due to this, issuing a decree, is bound by the requirement arising from the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law inter alia to confer only such state awards which are established in the law.

4. It has been mentioned that Article 1 of the Decree to the extent that inter alia Vladimir Yakunin was awarded with the Cross of Commander of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas was not in line with the legal regulation established in the then valid Law on Orders, Medals and Other Decorations (wording of 12 September 1991), inter alia Article 4 (wording of 1 July 1993) and Article 81 thereof, which did not provide for the Cross of Commander of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas.

5. It has been held in this Constitutional Court ruling that Article 1 of Decree of the President of the Republic No. 1806 “On Awarding Citizens of the Republic of Lithuania and Citizens of Foreign States with Orders and Medals of the State of Lithuania on the Occasion of the Day of State (Coronation of King Mindaugas of Lithuania)” of 14 June 2002 to the extent that it provides that Vladimir Yakunin, the Chairman of the Committee of Trustees of the Centre of the National Glory of Russia Foundation and supporter of bilateral relations of Lithuania and Russia (Russian Federation), is awarded the Cross of Commander of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas was in conflict with Article 4 (wording of 1 July 1993) and Article 81 of the Law on Orders, Medals and Other Decorations (wording of 12 September 1991).

6. Having held that Article 1 of Decree of the President of the Republic No. 1806 “On Awarding Citizens of the Republic of Lithuania and Citizens of Foreign States with Orders and Medals of the State of Lithuania on the Occasion of the Day of State (Coronation of King Mindaugas of Lithuania)” of 14 June 2002 to the extent that it provides that Vladimir Yakunin, the Chairman of the Committee of Trustees of the Centre of the National Glory of Russia Foundation and supporter of bilateral relations of Lithuania and Russia (Russian Federation), is awarded the Cross of Commander of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas was in conflict with Article 4 (wording of 1 July 1993) and Article 81 of the Law on Orders, Medals and Other Decorations (wording of 12 September 1991), one is also to hold that Article 1 of Decree of the President of the Republic No. 1806 “On Awarding Citizens of the Republic of Lithuania and Citizens of Foreign States with Orders and Medals of the State of Lithuania on the Occasion of the Day of State (Coronation of King Mindaugas of Lithuania)” of 14 June 2002 to the extent that it provides that Vladimir Yakunin, the Chairman of the Committee of Trustees of the Centre of the National Glory of Russia Foundation and supporter of bilateral relations of Lithuania and Russia (Russian Federation), is awarded the Cross of Commander of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas is in conflict with the provision of Paragraph 2 of Article 77 of the Constitution that the President of the Republic shall perform everything with which he is charged by the Constitution and laws, as well as with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

7. Having held that Article 1 of Decree of the President of the Republic No. 1806 “On Awarding Citizens of the Republic of Lithuania and Citizens of Foreign States with Orders and Medals of the State of Lithuania on the Occasion of the Day of State (Coronation of King Mindaugas of Lithuania)” of 14 June 2002 to the extent that it provides that Vladimir Yakunin, the Chairman of the Committee of Trustees of the Centre of the National Glory of Russia Foundation and supporter of bilateral relations of Lithuania and Russia (Russian Federation), is awarded the Cross of Commander of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas is in conflict with the provision of Paragraph 2 of Article 77 of the Constitution that the President of the Republic shall perform everything with which he is charged by the Constitution and laws, as well as with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, the Constitutional Court will not investigate whether the disputed (to the corresponding extent) Article 1 of the decree of the President of the Republic is not in conflict with Article 5, Paragraph 1 of Article 29, Item 18 of Article 67, Paragraph 1 of Article 82, and Item 22 of Article 84 of the Constitution.

Conforming to Articles 102 and 105 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and Articles 1, 53, 54, 55, and 56 of the Law on the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania has passed the following

ruling:

1. To recognise that the provision “The opinion of the council shall not be binding upon the Presidium of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania” of Article 13 of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Orders, Medals and Other Decorations (wording of 12 September 1991) (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 1991, No. 29-787) to the extent that it established the powers of the Presidium of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania in the area of state awards was in conflict with the provision of Item 22 of Article 84 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania that the President of the Republic shall confer state awards, with Paragraph 2 of Article 5 of the Constitution Republic of Lithuania and with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

2. To recognise that the provision “Orders of the State of Lithuania <...> shall be bestowed by the Presidium of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania” of Article 20 of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Orders, Medals and Other Decorations (wording of 12 September 1991) (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 1991, No. 29-787) to the extent that it established the powers of the Presidium of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania in the area of state awards was in conflict with the provision of Item 22 of Article 84 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania that the President of the Republic shall confer state awards, with Paragraph 2 of Article 5 of the Constitution Republic of Lithuania and with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

3. To recognise that the provision “In some cases the Presidium of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania may bestow the award also in the absence of the consideration by the council” of Article 23 of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Orders, Medals and Other Decorations (wording of 12 September 1991) (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 1991, No. 29-787) to the extent that it established the powers of the Presidium of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania in the area of state awards was in conflict with the provision of Item 22 of Article 84 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania that the President of the Republic shall confer state awards, with Paragraph 2 of Article 5 of the Constitution Republic of Lithuania and with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

4. To recognise that the provision “The Council of the Order of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas shall be composed of the chairman and 5 members, which are appointed from among bearers of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas for three years by the Chairman of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania” of Article 84 of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Orders, Medals and Other Decorations (wording of 12 September 1991) (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 1991, No. 29-787) to the extent that it established the powers of the Chairman of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania in the area of state awards was in conflict with the provision of Item 22 of Article 84 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania that the President of the Republic shall confer state awards, with Paragraph 2 of Article 5 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

5. To recognise that Article 1 of Decree of the President of the Republic of Lithuania No. 1806 “On Awarding Citizens of the Republic of Lithuania and Citizens of Foreign States with Orders and Medals of the State of Lithuania on the Occasion of the Day of State (Coronation of King Mindaugas of Lithuania)” of 14 June 2002 (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2002, No. 71-2976) to the extent that it provides that Vladimir Yakunin, the Chairman of the Committee of Trustees of the Centre of the National Glory of Russia Foundation and supporter of bilateral relations of Lithuania and Russia (Russian Federation), is awarded the Cross of Commander of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas was in conflict with Article 4 (wording of 1 July 1993) and Article 81 of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Orders, Medals and Other Decorations (wording of 12 September 1991).

6. To recognise that Article 1 of Decree of the President of the Republic of Lithuania No. 1806 “On Awarding Citizens of the Republic of Lithuania and Citizens of Foreign States with Orders and Medals of the State of Lithuania on the Occasion of the Day of State (Coronation of King Mindaugas of Lithuania)” of 14 June 2002 (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2002, No. 71-2976) to the extent that it provides that Vladimir Yakunin, the Chairman of the Committee of Trustees of the Centre of the National Glory of Russia Foundation and supporter of bilateral relations of Lithuania and Russia (Russian Federation), is awarded the Cross of Commander of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas is in conflict with the provision of Paragraph 2 of Article 77 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania that the President of the Republic shall perform everything with which he is charged by the Constitution and laws, as well as with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

This ruling of the Constitutional Court is final and not subject to appeal.

The ruling is promulgated in the name of the Republic of Lithuania.

Justices of the Constitutional Court: Armanas Abramavičius
                                                                      Toma Birmontienė
                                                                      Pranas Kuconis
                                                                      Kęstutis Lapinskas
                                                                      Zenonas Namavičius
                                                                      Ramutė Ruškytė
                                                                      Egidijus Šileikis
                                                                      Algirdas Taminskas
                                                                      Romualdas Kęstutis Urbaitis