Lt

On refusing to interpret the Constitutional Court’s conclusion of 31 March 2004

 

THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA

DECISION

ON THE PETITION OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA “ON THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE CONCLUSION OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT”

 

6 April 2004

Vilnius

 

The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, composed of the Justices of the Constitutional Court: Armanas Abramavičius, Egidijus Jarašiūnas, Egidijus Kūris, Kęstutis Lapinskas, Zenonas Namavičius, Augustinas Normantas, Jonas Prapiestis, Vytautas Sinkevičius, and Stasys Stačiokas

The court reporter—Daiva Pitrėnaitė

The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, in its procedural sitting, has considered the Petition of President Rolandas Paksas of the Republic of Lithuania “On the Construction of the Conclusion of the Constitutional Court” of 2 April 2004.

The Constitutional Court

has established:

1. The President of the Republic Rolandas Paksas applied to the Constitutional Court with the Petition “On the Construction of the Conclusion of the Constitutional Court” of 2 April 2004 (hereinafter also referred to as the Petition), in which he requests the construction of the following:

1. In which stage of impeachment proceedings at the Seimas the investigation of the evidence ought to be accomplished, by which one either affirms or denies the necessity to remove the President of the Republic from office.

2. Does this change in the impeachment proceedings, which appeared in the course of the impeachment proceedings, not violate the protection of legitimate interests and legitimate expectations, legal certainty and legal security of the impeached person.

3. Will the elimination of the interrogation stage at the impeachment proceedings at the Seimas not violate the fundamental legal principle, the right of the person to defend himself against the charges brought against him, when the person did not have any objective opportunity—the right to defend against the charges brought against him, which have not been investigated in the Constitutional Court.”

2. The Petition of the President of the Republic “On the Construction of the Conclusion of the Constitutional Court” of 2 April 2004 was received at the Constitutional Court on 5 April 2004.

The Constitutional Court

holds that:

1. On 31 March 2004, the Constitutional Court presented the Conclusion “On the Compliance of Actions of President Rolandas Paksas of the Republic of Lithuania Against Whom an Impeachment Case has been Instituted with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania”.

2. The President of the Republic Rolandas Paksas requests the construction of the following:

1. In which stage of impeachment proceedings at the Seimas the investigation of the evidence ought to be accomplished, by which one either affirms or denies the necessity to remove the President of the Republic from office.

2. Does this change in the impeachment proceedings, which appeared in the course of the impeachment proceedings, not violate the protection of legitimate interests and legitimate expectations, legal certainty and legal security of the impeached person.

3. Will the elimination of the interrogation stage at the impeachment proceedings at the Seimas not violate the fundamental legal principle, the right of the person to defend himself against the charges brought against him, when the person did not have any objective opportunity—the right to defend against the charges brought against him, which have not been investigated in the Constitutional Court.”

3. Under Paragraph 3 of Article 105 of the Constitution, the Constitutional Court presents conclusions:

1) whether there were violations of election laws during elections of the President of the Republic or elections of members of the Seimas;

2) whether the state of health of the President of the Republic permits him to continue to hold office;

3) whether international treaties of the Republic of Lithuania are not in conflict with the Constitution;

4) whether concrete actions of members of the Seimas and State officials against whom an impeachment case has been instituted are in conflict with the Constitution.

Paragraph 2 of Article 107 of the Constitution provides that the decisions of the Constitutional Court on issues within its competence according to the Constitution shall be final and not subject to appeal.

4. Under Article 61 of the Law on the Constitutional Court, the Constitutional Court is empowered to construe its rulings. Paragraph 1 of Article 61 of the Law on the Constitutional Court provides that a ruling of the Constitutional Court may only be officially construed by the Constitutional Court at the request of the parties to the case, of other institutions or persons to whom it was sent, or on its own initiative.

A conclusion of the Constitutional Court, as well as a ruling of the Constitutional Court, is a final act of the Constitutional Court. Therefore, it is evident that, if the Constitutional Court enjoys the powers to construe its rulings, then it also enjoys the powers to construe it conclusions at the request of the parties to the case, of other institutions or persons to whom it was sent, or on its own initiative.

5. The President of the Republic Rolandas Paksas used to be the party concerned—the impeached person—in case No. 14/04, in which the Constitutional Court presented the Conclusion “On the Compliance of Actions of President Rolandas Paksas of the Republic of Lithuania Against Whom an Impeachment Case has been Instituted with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania” on 31 March 2004. Therefore, the President of the Republic Rolandas Paksas has the right to request the Constitutional Court to construe the Conclusion “On the Compliance of Actions of President Rolandas Paksas of the Republic of Lithuania Against Whom an Impeachment Case has been Instituted with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania” of 31 March 2004.

6. It is inter alia maintained in the Petition of the President of the Republic “On the Construction of the Conclusion of the Constitutional Court” of 2 April 2004 that in its conclusion of 31 March 2004 the Constitutional Court “presented a new legal interpretation of norms of the Statute of the Seimas”, that “the regulation of impeachment proceedings established in the Statute of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania was changed”, that in the legal proceedings at the Constitutional Court “the impeached person did not have an objective opportunity to defend himself against the charges formulated in the proposal to institute impeachment proceedings”. The President of the Republic Rolandas Paksas also doubts whether “the elimination of the interrogation stage in this stage of impeachment will not the fundamental legal principle—the right of the person to defend himself against the charges brought against him.”

It needs to be noted that in the Constitutional Court’s Conclusion “On the Compliance of Actions of President Rolandas Paksas of the Republic of Lithuania Against Whom an Impeachment Case has been Instituted with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania” of 31 March 2004 the constitutional concept of impeachment proceedings is set forth. In the said conclusion the Constitutional Court developed the constitutional concept of impeachment proceedings that was set down in the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 11 May 1999 and 30 March 2000.

It needs to be emphasised that the statement of the President of the Republic that, purportedly, he in the legal proceedings at the Constitutional Court did not have an objective opportunity to defend himself “against the charges formulated in the proposal to institute impeachment proceedings” is groundless, since the President of the Republic Rolandas Paksas was summoned to appear at the Constitutional Court’s hearing in which the case was investigated whether concrete actions of the President of the Republic Rolandas Paksas were not in conflict with the Constitution, and he had an opportunity to give explanations and defend himself in that hearing, however, the President of the Republic Rolandas Paksas did not appear at the Constitutional Court’s hearing and conducted the case not by himself but through his representatives.

7. The Petition of the President of the Republic “On the Construction of the Conclusion of the Constitutional Court” of 2 April 2004 does not indicate particular statements of the aforesaid conclusion of the Constitutional Court, which might be construed. Actually, the Petition of the President of the Republic “On the Construction of the Conclusion of the Constitutional Court” of 2 April 2004 is not a petition requesting the construction of particular statements of the conclusion of the Constitutional Court, but a petition, based on certain assumptions, requesting the giving of a legal advice on how the initiated impeachment proceedings against the President of the Republic should be conducted at the Seimas.

Under the Law on the Constitutional Court, the Constitutional Court does not give legal advice either to the parties that participated in the case, or any other persons.

8. Under Article 85 of the Constitution, the President of the Republic, implementing the powers vested in him, shall issue acts-decrees. The provision of the same content that the President of the Republic, implementing the powers vested in him, shall issue acts-decrees is established in Paragraph 1 of Article 15 of the Law on the President of the Republic of Lithuania. Item 10 of Section 1 of Chapter VI of the Rules of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania provides that the President of the Republic shall apply to the Constitutional Court by a decree if he requests the construction of a ruling of the Constitutional Court; the arguments upon which the petition is grounded are set forth in the decree (annex thereof) or attached documents.

9. The Petition of the President of the Republic “On the Construction of the Conclusion of the Constitutional Court” of 2 April 2004 requesting the construction of the Constitutional Court’s conclusion of 31 March 2004 does not meet, as to its content, the requirements of Article 61 of the Law on the Constitutional Court, also, as to its form, it does not meet the requirements of Article 85 of the Constitution, Paragraph 1 of Article 15 of the Law on the President of the Republic of Lithuania and Item 10 of Section 1 of Chapter VI of the Rules of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania.

Conforming to Article 102 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and Articles 1, 28 and 61 of the Law on the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania has adopted the following

decision:

To refuse to construe the Conclusion “On the Compliance of Actions of President Rolandas Paksas of the Republic of Lithuania Against Whom an Impeachment Case has been Instituted with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania” of 31 March 2004 subsequent to the Petition of the President of the Republic Rolandas Paksas “On the Construction of the Conclusion of the Constitutional Court” of 2 April 2004.

Justices of the Constitutional Court:                                                  Armanas Abramavičius

Egidijus Jarašiūnas

Egidijus Kūris

Kęstutis Lapinskas

Zenonas Namavičius

Augustinas Normantas

Jonas Prapiestis

Vytautas Sinkevičius

Stasys Stačiokas