Procedure : 2019/2938(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B9-0182/2019

Texts tabled :

B9-0182/2019

Debates :

Votes :

PV 28/11/2019 - 8.10
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P9_TA(2019)0081

<Date>{25/11/2019}25.11.2019</Date>
<NoDocSe>B9‑0182/2019</NoDocSe>
PDF 142kWORD 47k

<TitreType>MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION</TitreType>

<TitreSuite>to wind up the debate on the statements by the Council and the Commission</TitreSuite>

<TitreRecueil>pursuant to Rule 132(2) of the Rules of Procedure</TitreRecueil>


<Titre>on recent actions by the Russian Federation against Lithuanian judges, prosecutors and investigators involved in investigating the tragic events of 13 January 1991 in Vilnius</Titre>

<DocRef>(2019/2938(RSP))</DocRef>


<RepeatBlock-By><Depute>Rasa Juknevičienė, Roberta Metsola, Andrius Kubilius, Michael Gahler</Depute>

<Commission>{PPE}on behalf of the PPE Group</Commission>

</RepeatBlock-By>

See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B9-0182/2019

B9‑0182/2019

European Parliament resolution on recent actions by the Russian Federation against Lithuanian judges, prosecutors and investigators involved in investigating the tragic events of 13 January 1991 in Vilnius

(2019/2938(RSP))

The European Parliament,

 having regard to its previous resolutions on Russia,

 having regard to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (European Convention on Human Rights),

 having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,

 having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,

 having regard to the European Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters,

 having regard to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union,

 having regard to the UN Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary,

 having regard to Rule 132(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas the Russian Federation, having made commitments under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights, and as a full member of the Council of Europe and the Organization for Security and Co‑operation in Europe, has committed itself to the principles of democracy, the rule of law and respect for fundamental freedoms and human rights;

B. whereas between 11 and 13 January 1991 the armed forces of the USSR committed an act of aggression against the independent state of Lithuania and its people which left 14 people dead and nearly 800 injured;

C. whereas the bloodshed was denounced worldwide, including by the Head of the Supreme Council of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic during a mass demonstration in Moscow a few days later;

D. whereas the Russian Federation, in the Treaty between the Republic of Lithuania and the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic on the Basis for Relations between States of 29 July 1991, recognised the restoration of the independent Republic of Lithuania of 11 March 1990;

E. whereas on 27 March 2019 the Vilnius Regional Court gave a ruling on the so-called ‘13 January’ case and found 67 former USSR officials, now citizens of the Russian Federation, the Republic of Belarus and/or Ukraine, guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity, and of involvement in the aggression against the state of Lithuania;

F. whereas, in carrying out the pre-trial investigation for the 13 January case, the authorities of the Republic of Lithuania actively requested that the competent authorities of the Russian Federation provide legal assistance in these criminal proceedings, but the Russian Federation did not cooperate;

G. whereas the Russian Federation assumed the rights and obligations of the former Soviet Union and is its successor state;

H. whereas in 2018 and 2019 the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation launched criminal proceedings against the prosecutors and judges of the Republic of Lithuania who were involved in the investigation and hearing for the 13 January case;

I. whereas this politically motivated criminal prosecution initiated by the Russian Federation may result in efforts to misuse the Interpol system and other bilateral and multilateral cooperation agreements in order to restrict the rights of the investigating prosecutors and trial judges in the 13 January case during searches, interrogation and arrests;

J. whereas a propaganda and disinformation campaign is being conducted in the state-controlled media of the Russian Federation, as well as by its official representatives, aimed at developing conspiracy theories regarding the 13 January case, and is part of the hybrid warfare against the EU and democracies;

K. whereas the judges of any Member State are also judges of the European Union as a whole;

L. whereas the independence of the judiciary underpins the rule of law and is essential to the functioning of democracy and the observance of human rights; whereas the independence of the judiciary is enshrined in Article 47 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights;

M. whereas the UN Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary stipulate that it is the duty of all governmental and other institutions to respect and observe the independence of the judiciary; whereas they also state that there is to be no inappropriate or unwarranted interference with the judicial process[1];

N. whereas the Universal Declaration of Human Rights enshrines in particular the principles of equality before the law, of the presumption of innocence and of the right to a fair and public hearing by a competent, independent and impartial tribunal established by law;

O. whereas Article 1 of the European Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters – which has been ratified by the Russian Federation – stipulates that ‘the Contracting Parties undertake to afford each other, in accordance with the provisions of this Convention, the widest measure of mutual assistance in proceedings in respect of offences the punishment of which, at the time of the request for assistance, falls within the jurisdiction of the judicial authorities of the requesting Party’;

1. Notes that the actions of the authorities of the Russian Federation with respect to Lithuanian judges and prosecutors violate fundamental legal values, in particular the independence of the judiciary, as well as the principle that human rights and freedoms may only be restricted lawfully for the purposes for which such restrictions are imposed by international law;

2. Recalls that the criminal prosecution of prosecutors and judges for their professional activities is an unacceptable external influence that interferes with the primacy of law;

3. Stresses that proceedings in such criminal cases against prosecutors and judges cannot be considered legitimate;

4. Strongly condemns these violations of fundamental principles and norms of international law committed by Russian authorities;

5. Protests against the politically motivated criminal prosecution of Lithuanian prosecutors and judges in the Russian Federation for their professional activities;

6. Underlines that any situation whereby precedents are created for the prosecution of prosecutors and judges of an independent state for the performance of their constitutional duties cannot be tolerated or justified, and regards this as pressure not to fulfil their constitutional duties;

7. Stresses that the universally recognised guarantees for the independence of judges and prosecutors prohibit interfering in any way in the administration of justice by the court or exerting even the slightest influence on a judgment, as well as prosecuting a judge for a judgment rendered thereby or interfering in the work of the prosecutor’s office in investigating cases;

8. Calls on the Russian Federation’s public authorities to terminate the criminal proceedings initiated against the Lithuanian investigating prosecutors and trial judges in the 13 January case;

9. Calls on the competent Russian authorities, in implementing the Treaty between the Republic of Lithuania and the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic on the Basis for Relations between States of 29 July 1991, to assess the accountability of the persons who led or participated in the aggression of 11 to 13 January 1991 against the state of Lithuania, and to assist the law enforcement authorities of the Republic of Lithuania in seeking justice in the 13 January case;

10. Calls on the competent Russian authorities to comply with the Republic of Lithuania’s requests for mutual legal assistance in the 13 January case;

11. Calls on the competent Russian authorities to cease irresponsible disinformation and propaganda statements by Russian Federation officials regarding the 13 January case;

12. Calls on the EU Member States, if requests for mutual legal assistance are received from the Russian Federation in connection with the criminal prosecution in Russia of the Lithuanian prosecutors and judges involved in the 13 January case, to treat this case as politically motivated, to cooperate closely with the competent Lithuanian authorities, and to refuse legal assistance to the Russian Federation in this case;

13. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Council, the Commission, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the Council of Europe, the Organization for Security and Co‑operation in Europe, and the President, Government and Parliament of the Russian Federation.

 

[1] https://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/IndependenceJudiciary.aspx

Last updated: 26 November 2019Legal notice - Privacy policy