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Lithuania’s Independence Acts in the jurisprudence of the Constitutional Court

The most significant extracts from the final acts of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania in which the Act of Independence of 16 February 1918, adopted by the Council of Lithuania, and the Act “On the Re-establishment of the Independent State of Lithuania” of 11 March 1990, adopted by the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania, are invoked:

<…> the innate nature of human rights and freedoms, democracy, and the independence of the state are such constitutional values that constitute the foundation for the Constitution, as the social contract, as well as the foundation for the nation’s common life, which is based on the Constitution, and for the State of Lithuania itself. No one may deny the provisions of the Constitution consolidating these fundamental constitutional values, since doing so would amount to the denial of the essence of the Constitution itself. Therefore, even where regard is paid to the <…> limitations on the alteration of the Constitution, which stem from the Constitution itself, it is not permitted to adopt any such amendments to the Constitution that would destroy the innate nature of human rights and freedoms, democracy, or the independence of the state; if the Constitution were construed in a different way, it would be understood as creating preconditions for putting an end to the restored “independent State of Lithuania, founded on democratic principles”, as proclaimed by the Act of Independence of Lithuania of 16 February 1918 (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 11 July 2014).

The Act of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania “On the Re-establishment of the Independent State of Lithuania” of 11 March 1990, inter alia, established that the execution of the sovereign powers of the State of Lithuania, abolished by foreign forces in 1940, was re-established, and henceforth Lithuania was again an independent state. The Act of Independence of 16 February 1918 of the Council of Lithuania and the 15 May 1920 Resolution of the Constituent Seimas on the Re-established Democratic State of Lithuania have never lost their legal power and comprise the constitutional foundation of the State of Lithuania; the territory of Lithuania is integral and indivisible, and the constitution of no other state is valid on it (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 22 February 2013 and 18 March 2014).

<…> the provisions “the execution of the sovereign powers of the State of Lithuania, abolished by foreign forces in 1940, is re-established, and henceforth Lithuania is again an independent state” of the Act of 11 March 1990 make it clear that the restoration of the independence of the State of Lithuania was grounded on the continuity of the State of Lithuania, which means that the aggression that the USSR began against the Republic of Lithuania on 15 June 1940 (inter alia, the occupation and annexation of the territory of the Republic of Lithuania) abolished neither the State of Lithuania as a subject of international law nor its sovereign powers; due to the occupation of the territory of Lithuania and demolition of its state institutions, the implementation of the sovereign powers of the State of Lithuania, inter alia, its international rights and obligations, were suspended; the annexation of the territory of the Republic of Lithuania perpetrated by the USSR on 3 August 1940, as a continuation of the aggression, was an act null and void, thus, from the viewpoint of international law, the territory of the Republic of Lithuania was occupied by another state and it was never a legal part of the USSR (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 22 February 2013 and 18 March 2014).

<…> from the provisions “the Act of Independence of 16 February 1918 of the Council of Lithuania and the Resolution of 15 May 1920 of the Constituent Seimas on the re-established democratic State of Lithuania have never lost their legal power and comprise the constitutional foundation of the State of Lithuania” of the Act of 11 March 1990 it is obvious that not only the continuity of the State of Lithuania, but also the identity thereof is upheld: having restored its independence, the Republic of Lithuania, from the viewpoint of international and constitutional law, is a subject of law identical to the State of Lithuania against which the aggression of the USSR was perpetrated on 15 June 1940 (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 22 February 2013 and 18 March 2014); such constitutional sameness of the State of Lithuania is confirmed, inter alia, through the Republic of Lithuania’s Law “On the Reinstatement of the Constitution of Lithuania of 12 May 1938” of 11 March 1990 (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 22 February 2013);

<…> from the provision of the Act of 11 March 1990 that the constitution of no other state is valid on the territory of the Republic of Lithuania it is obvious that the introduction of the validity of the constitution of any other state (inter alia, the USSR), inter alia, the imposition of the duties established by such a constitution on the citizens of the Republic of Lithuania, was unlawful (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 22 February 2013 and 18 March 2014).

<…> according to the universally recognised norms of international law, citizens of the Republic of Lithuania had an inalienable right to resist the aggression of another state, inter alia, the Soviet occupation; the organised resistance of citizens of the Republic of Lithuania in 1944–1953 should be assessed as self-defence of the State of Lithuania (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 18 March 2014).

<…> according to the laws of the Republic of Lithuania (inter alia, the Preamble to the Republic of Lithuania’s Law “On the Declaration of the Council of the Lithuanian Freedom Fight Movement of 16 February 1949” and Paragraph 2 of Article 1 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Restoration of the Rights of Persons Repressed for Resistance Against the Occupation Regimes), the organised armed resistance against the Soviet occupation is regarded as self-defence of the State of Lithuania, the participants of the armed resistance are declared volunteer servicemen and their military ranks and awards are recognised; Paragraph 2 of Article 2 of the Law “On the Declaration of the Council of the Lithuanian Freedom Fight Movement of 16 February 1949” states that the Council of the Lithuanian Freedom Fight Movement constituted the supreme political and military structure and was the sole legal authority within the territory of occupied Lithuania (inter alia, on the grounds of Item 1 of the Declaration of the Council of the Lithuanian Freedom Fight Movement of 16 February 1949, which provided that “during the occupation period, the LFFM Council shall be the supreme political body of the Nation, in charge of the political and military fight for the liberation of the Nation”) (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 18 March 2014).

The adherence of the State of Lithuania to universally recognised principles of international law was declared in the Act of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania “On the Re-establishment of the Independent State of Lithuania”, which was adopted on 11 March 1990. Consequently, the observance of international obligations undertaken on its own free will, respect for the universally recognised principles of international law (as well as the principle pacta sunt servanda) are a legal tradition and a constitutional principle of the restored independent State of Lithuania (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 14 March 2006).