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On accepting a petition of the petitioner

 

THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA

DECISION

ON ACCEPTING THE PETITION OF THE SEIMAS OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA, THE PETITIONER, SET FORTH IN ITS 21 DECEMBER 2007 RESOLUTION “ON APPLYING TO THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA WITH THE PETITION REQUESTING AN INVESTIGATION INTO WHETHER ARTICLE 2 OF THE 31 OCTOBER 2007 DECREE (NO. 1K-1143) OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA IS NOT IN CONFLICT WITH THE CONSTITUTION”, REQUESTING AN INVESTIGATION INTO WHETHER ARTICLE 2 OF THE DECREE OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA (NO. 1K-1143) “ON REFERRING THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA’S LAW ON AMENDING THE LAW ON THE REGISTRATION, CONFESSION, AND ENTRY ON RECORD OF THE PERSONS OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA WHO ENGAGED THEMSELVES IN SECRET COLLABORATION WITH THE FORMER USSR SPECIAL SERVICES AND THE PROTECTION OF THOSE WHO CONFESSED, WHICH WAS ADOPTED BY THE SEIMAS OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA, BACK TO THE SEIMAS OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA FOR REPEATED CONSIDERATION” OF 31 OCTOBER 2007 IS NOT IN CONFLICT WITH ARTICLE 5, ARTICLE 71 AND ARTICLE 84 OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA, AND WITH THE CONSTITUTIONAL PRINCIPLE OF A STATE UNDER THE RULE OF LAW

 

8 January 2008
Vilnius

 

The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, composed of the Justices of the Constitutional Court: Armanas Abramavičius, Toma Birmontienė, Egidijus Kūris, Kęstutis Lapinskas, Zenonas Namavičius, Ramutė Ruškytė, Vytautas Sinkevičius, Stasys Stačiokas, and Romualdas Kęstutis Urbaitis

The court reporter—Daiva Pitrėnaitė

The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, in its procedural sitting, considered the petition of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, the petitioner, set forth in its 21 December 2007 Resolution (No. X-1411) “On Applying to the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania with the Petition Requesting an Investigation into Whether Article 2 of the 31 October 2007 Decree (No. 1K-1143) of the President of the Republic of Lithuania is not in Conflict with the Constitution” requesting an investigation into whether Article 2 of the Decree of the President of the Republic (No. 1K-1143) “On Referring the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Amending the Law on the Registration, Confession, and Entry on Record of the Persons of the Republic of Lithuania Who Engaged Themselves in Secret Collaboration with the Former USSR Special Services and Protection of Those Who Confessed, Which was Adopted by the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, Back to the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania for Repeated Consideration” of 31 October 2007 is not in conflict with Article 5, Article 71, Article 72 and Article 84 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, and with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

The Constitutional Court

has established:

1. On 11 October 2007, the Seimas adopted the Republic of Lithuania Law on Amending the Law on the Registration, Confession, Entry of Record of the Persons of the Republic of Lithuania Who Engaged Themselves in Secret Collaboration with the Former USSR Special Services and the Protection of Those Who Confessed.

2. On 31 October 2007, the President of the Republic issued the Decree (No. 1K-1143) “On Referring the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Amending the Law on the Registration, Confession, and Entry on Record of the Persons of the Republic of Lithuania Who Engaged Themselves in Secret Collaboration with the Former USSR Special Services and the Protection of Those Who Confessed, Which was Adopted by the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, Back to the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania for Repeated Consideration” (hereinafter also referred to as the 31 October 2007 Decree (No. 1K-1143) of the President of the Republic), Article 2 of which established the following:

Pursuant to Paragraph 1 of Article 71 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania,

I hereby refer the Law (No. X-1292) on Amending the Law on the Registration, Confession, and Entry on Record of the Persons of the Republic of Lithuania Who Engaged Themselves in Secret Collaboration with the Former USSR Special Services and the Protection of Those Who Confessed back to the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania for repeated consideration.”

3. On 8 November 2007, in its sitting, the Seimas decided on whether to consider the Law on Amending the Law on the Registration, Confession, an Entry on Record of the Persons of the Republic of Lithuania Who Engaged Themselves in Secret Collaboration with the Former USSR Special Services and the Protection of Those Who Confessed which was referred back by the President of the Republic Decree of 31 October 2007 anew or to regard it as the one which was not adopted. It was decided to regard the Law on Amending the Law on the Registration, Confession, and Entry on Record of the Persons of the Republic of Lithuania Who Engaged Themselves in Secret Collaboration with the Former USSR Special Services and the Protection of Those Who Confessed as the one which was not adopted.

4. On 21 December 2007, the Seimas, the petitioner, adopted the Resolution (No. X-1411) “On Applying to the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania with the Petition Requesting an Investigation into Whether Article 2 of the 31 October 2007 Decree (No. 1K-1143) of the President of the Republic of Lithuania is not in Conflict with the Constitution” (hereinafter also referred to as Seimas Resolution No. X-1411 of 21 December 2007), whereby it requested the Constitutional Court to investigate whether Article 2 of the Decree of the President of the Republic (No. 1K-1143) “On Referring the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Amending the Law on the Registration, Confession, and Entry on Record of the Persons of the Republic of Lithuania Who Engaged Themselves in Secret Collaboration with the Former USSR Special Services and the Protection of Those Who Confessed, Which was Adopted by the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, Back to the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania for Repeated Consideration” of 31 October 2007 is not in conflict with Article 5, Article 71, Article 72 and Article 84 of the Constitution, and with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

5. This petition of the Seimas, the petitioner, was officially published in the official gazette “Valstybės žinios” on 5 January 2008 (Official Gazette Valstybės žinios, 2008, No. 2-56); it was received at the Constitutional Court on 7 January 2008.

The Constitutional Court

holds that:

1. Under Paragraph 1 of Article 102 and Item 1 of Paragraph 2 of Article 105 of the Constitution, an investigation into the compliance of acts-decrees of the President of the Republic with the Constitution and laws is assigned to the jurisdiction of the Constitutional Court.

2. Under Paragraph 1 of Article 106 of the Constitution, the Government, not less than 1/5 of all the members of the Seimas, and the courts, shall have the right to apply to the Constitutional Court concerning the acts specified in Paragraph 1 of Article 105, i.e. on the conformity of the laws and other acts adopted by the Seimas with the Constitution. Paragraph 2 of this article provides that not less than 1/5 of all the Members of the Seimas and the courts shall have the right to apply to the Constitutional Court concerning the conformity of acts of the President of the Republic with the Constitution and the laws, and Paragraph 4 thereof provides that the presentation by the President of the Republic for the Constitutional Court or the resolution of the Seimas asking for an investigation into the conformity of an act with the Constitution shall suspend the validity of the act.

While construing these provisions in a systemic manner, it needs to be held that the Seimas in corpore has the constitutional powers to apply by its resolution to the Constitutional Court and to request it to investigate the compliance of the said legal acts, inter alia, acts-decrees of the President of the Republic, with the Constitution and laws.

In this context, it needs to be mentioned that in the previous constitutional justice cases subsequent to the petitions set forth in the Seimas resolutions, the Constitutional Court has investigated the compliance of decrees of the President of the Republic with the Constitution (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 30 December 2003 and 15 April 2004).

3. Under Paragraph 1 of Article 26 (wording of 28 October 2003) of the Law on the Constitutional Court, in cases when the Constitutional Court receives a resolution of the Seimas requesting an investigation into whether a decree of the President of the Republic is in compliance with the Constitution and laws, the preliminary investigation of that material must be carried out within 3 days, and the issue of whether to accept the petition for consideration in the Constitutional Court must be settled during its procedural sitting of the Constitutional Court.

The corresponding decision of the Constitutional Court neither approves of nor denies the arguments on which the Seimas, the petitioner, grounds its position; when adopting such decisions, the fact of essential significance is whether the petition of the petitioner is grounded on legal reasoning.

4. It needs to be held that the petition set forth in Seimas Resolution No. X-1411 of 21 December 2007 requesting an investigation into whether Article 2 of the Decree of the President of the Republic (No. 1K-1143) “On Referring the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Amending the Law on the Registration, Confession, and Entry on Record of the Persons of the Republic of Lithuania Who Engaged Themselves in Secret Collaboration with the Former USSR Special Services and the Protection of Those Who Confessed, Which was Adopted by the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, Back to the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania for Repeated Consideration” of 31 October 2007 is not in conflict with Article 5, Article 71, Article 72 and Article 84 of the Constitution, and with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law is grounded on the legal reasoning. Even though this petition includes various inaccuracies (for example, Paragraph 3 of Article 71 and Paragraph 1 of Article 72 of the Constitution are quoted inaccurately), it may be accepted for consideration at the Constitutional Court.

5. It has been mentioned that, under Paragraph 4 of Article 106 of the Constitution, the resolution of the Seimas asking for an investigation into the conformity of an act with the Constitution shall suspend the validity of the act.

Under Paragraph 2 of Article 26 (wording of 28 October 2003) of the Law on the Constitutional Court, if the Constitutional Court adopts a decision to accept a petition for consideration, the President of the Constitutional Court shall immediately give an official announcement about it in the official gazette “Valstybės žinios” as well as on the Internet website of the Constitutional Court. In this announcement, the President of the Constitutional Court must state the exact title of the impugned act, the date of its adoption, and that, in accordance with Article 106 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, the validity of the aforementioned act is suspended from the day of its official announcement until the ruling of the Constitution Court concerning this case is published.

Under Paragraph 3 of Article 26 (wording of 28 October 2003) of the Law on the Constitutional Court, in cases when the Constitutional Court, having considered a case, passes a ruling that the impugned act is not in conflict with the Constitution, the President of the Constitutional Court shall immediately make an official announcement about it under procedure established in the Second Paragraph of this Article. In this announcement, the President of the Constitutional Court shall state the exact title of the impugned act, the date of its adoption, the essence of the ruling of the Constitutional Court concerning this issue, the date of its passage, and that the validity of the suspended act shall be restored from the day that this ruling is published.

It also needs to be noted that, under Paragraph 1 of Article 107 of the Constitution, the act of the President of the Republic may not be applied from the day of the official publication of the decision of the Constitutional Court that the act in question (or part thereof) is in conflict with the Constitution.

6. The 31 October 2007 Decree (No. 1K-1143) of the President of the Republic has already given rise to legal effects; it has been mentioned (in Item 3 of the fact-establishing part of this Constitutional Court decision) that, on 8 November 2007, the Seimas decided to consider the Law on Amending the Law on the Registration, Confession, and Entry on Record of the Persons of the Republic of Lithuania Who Engaged Themselves in Secret Collaboration with the Former USSR Special Services and the Protection of Those Who Confessed, which was referred by the President of the Republic back to the Seimas for repeated consideration, as the one which was not adopted. The fact that the Constitutional Court accepts the petition requesting an investigation into the compliance of Article 2 of the Decree of the President of the Republic (No. 1K-1143) “On Referring the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Amending the Law on the Registration, Confession, and Entry on Record of the Persons of the Republic of Lithuania Who Engaged Themselves in Secret Collaboration with the Former USSR Special Services and the Protection of Those Who Confessed, Which was Adopted by the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, Back to the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania for Repeated Consideration” of 31 October 2007 with the Constitution which is set forth in Seimas Resolution No. X-1411 of 21 December 2007 and that accepting of such request which is set forth in Seimas Resolution No. X-1411 of 21 December 2007 suspends the validity of Article 2 of the said President of the Republic decree, does not quash and change the said legal effects which have occurred.

Thus, the Seimas may not revoke or change otherwise its 8 November 2007 decision to consider the Law on Amending the Law on the Registration, Confession, and Entry on Record of the Persons of the Republic of Lithuania Who Engaged Themselves in Secret Collaboration with the Former USSR Special Services and the Protection of Those Who Confessed as the one which was not adopted, until a ruling of the Constitutional Court on the compliance of Article 2 of the said decree of the President of the Republic with the Constitution (possibly—also with the laws) is passed and officially published. In his turn, the President of the Republic may not amend, supplement or quash the suspended legal regulation at that time.

Conforming to Item 1 of Paragraph 2 of Article 105 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, and Articles 26, 28 and 63 of the Law on the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania adopts the following

decision:

To accept the petition requesting an investigation into whether Article 2 of the Decree of the President of the Republic of Lithuania (No. 1K-1143) “On Referring the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Amending the Law on the Registration, Confession, and Entry on Record of the Persons of the Republic of Lithuania Who Engaged Themselves in Secret Collaboration with the Former USSR Special Services and the Protection of Those Who Confessed, Which was Adopted by the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, Back to the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania for Repeated Consideration” of 31 October 2007 which is set forth in the Resolution of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania (No. X-1411) “On Applying to the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania with the Petition Requesting an Investigation into Whether Article 2 of the 31 October 2007 Decree (No. 1K-1143) of the President of the Republic of Lithuania is not in Conflict with the Constitution” of 21 December 2007 is not in conflict with Article 5, Article 71, Article 72 and Article 84 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, and with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

Justices of the Constitutional Court: Armanas Abramavičius
                                                                      Toma Birmontienė
                                                                      Egidijus Kūris
                                                                      Kęstutis Lapinskas
                                                                      Zenonas Namavičius
                                                                      Ramutė Ruškytė
                                                                      Vytautas Sinkevičius
                                                                      Stasys Stačiokas
                                                                      Romualdas Kęstutis Urbaitis