NEWS FROM CELTIC LEAGUE
In response to a letter from the Celtic League, the Deputy Minister of Justice for Lithuania has stated that if Irish prisoner Michael Campbell believes that ‘the actions or decisions in respect of him during the pre trial or trial stage were unlawful or unreasoned’, he can lodge a complaint.
However, what the letter fails to highlight is the view expressed in the last International Helsinki Federation Annual Report on Human Rights Violations (2006) into Lithuania that stated that ‘the independence and impartiality of the judiciary was affected by the dependence of courts on executive authorities’ and the incorrect perception of many judges of their own role. The United Nations backed report points out that Lithuanian Judges, who run their own inquiry into cases and hold trials without juries, largely have an attitude that is still characterised by the former Soviet legal system to protect the state, rather than acting as independent protectors of human rights.
Michael Campbell has protested on numerous occasions that his human rights, as an Irish citizen, were affected on numerous occasions during his detention in Lithuania and that his trial was not impartial. In July 2013, Lithuania took over the European Union Presidency for 12 months with the goal of working towards ensuring that that the EU institutions remain active in their protection of fundamental human rights both within the EU and abroad.
The full text of the letter sent from the Ministry can be found below.
Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Lithuania
12 September 2013
RE: Concerning Your Letter
The Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Lithuania has examined your letter of 11 August 2013 whereby you mark the importance of upholding the human rights of the citizens of Europe and ask to evaluate whether in Michael Campbell’s case his human rights were abused.
We appreciate your interest in the objectives of the Lithuanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union. For the second term of the years 2013 the Lithuanian Presidency indeed will continue to implement the Stockholm Programme and follow its priority, that is, to focus on the interests and needs of citizens. In this regard the Lithuanian Presidency foresees to examine in the Council of the European Union a number of legislative proposals in justice field aimed at protecting the rights of the European Union citizens.
As regards your request concerning assessment of Michael Campbell’s case we would like to draw your attention to the fact that given the powers invested by the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania the Ministry of Justice as an executive authority is not entitled to assess the decisions or actions taken by judicial authorities. Pursuant to the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, which was adopted by citizens of the Republic of Lithuania in the Referendum of 25 October 1992, there is a clear separation of state powers. As established by article 109 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, justice shall be administered only by courts. Any interference by other authorities with the activities of a judge or the court is strictly prohibited (Article 114 of the Constitution).
Please be advised that if Mr Campbell believes that the actions or decisions in respect of him during the pre trial or trial stage were unlawful or unreasoned, he can defend his rights by lodging a complaint/appeal in accordance with the procedures established by relevant law.
Vice Minister of Justice
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