Procedure : 2019/2938(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B9-0183/2019

Texts tabled :

B9-0183/2019

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>B9‑0183/2019</NoDocSe>
PDF 138kWORD 46k

<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>Sergey Lagodinsky, Bronis Ropė</Depute>

<Commission>{Verts/ALE}on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group</Commission>

</RepeatBlock-By>

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

B9‑0183/2019

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, foreign interference and on EU-Russia relations, in particular its resolution of 12 March 2019[1],

 having regard to the recent exchange of views in the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs on 12 November 2019[2],

 having regard to the Treaty on European Union (TEU), the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, notably Article 49 thereof,

 having regard to the Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary endorsed by UN General Assembly resolutions 40/32 of 29 November 1985 and 40/146 of 13 December 1985,

 having regard to Recommendation CM/Rec(2010)12 of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe entitled ‘Judges: independence, efficiency and responsibilities’,

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

A. whereas on 27 March, the Vilnius Regional Court issued its ruling in the so called ‘13th of January case’, in which 67 Russian, Belarusian and Ukrainian citizens, including former high-level officials of the Soviet Union, were found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity for their involvement in the Soviet aggression on the 13 January 1991 in Vilnius; whereas the defendants were tried in absentia, except for two former Soviet officers, and received sentences of up to 14 years of prison; whereas these judgements are currently under appeal;

B. whereas the rulings concern the tragic events following the Lithuanian declaration of independence on 11 March 1990 and the Soviet Union’s use of military force against independence movement demonstrators, who were peacefully trying to defend the state television headquarters and TV tower in Vilnius; whereas this Soviet intervention led to the death of 14 demonstrators and over 800 injured;

C. whereas Russian and Belarusian authorities refused to cooperate or respond to Lithuanian requests for legal assistance during pre-trial investigations;

D. whereas between July 2018 and April 2019 the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation initiated criminal proceedings against the Lithuanian judges, prosecutors, and investigators involved in investigating or judging the ‘13th of January case’, based on Articles 299 and 305 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, which provide that there is criminal liability for ‘bringing a knowingly innocent person to criminal responsibility’ and for ‘imposition of obviously illegal sentences’; whereas Russian authorities may attempt to seek international arrest warrants against the indicted Lithuanian officials;

E. whereas the EU is a community based on a key set of common values that include peace, freedom, democracy, the rule of law, and respect for fundamental and human rights; whereas those values form the basis of the EU’s relations with third parties; whereas Lithuania is a Member State of the European Union, and is acting in full compliance with international law by exercising criminal jurisdiction in accordance with the territorial principle;

F. whereas Russia breaches international law and commitments with increasing frequency, and acts counter to good neighbourly relations; whereas current persistent tensions and confrontation between the EU and Russia are not in the interests of either party;

G. whereas the rule of law and an independent judiciary are at the core of resilient democratic societies;

1. Expresses its solidarity with the Lithuanian officials and judges wrongfully accused by the Russian authorities, and supports the efforts of the Lithuanian government to highlight this case and to limit the harm and danger facing those individuals investigated by the Russian authorities;

2. Stresses that the judiciary must decide matters before them impartially, on the basis of facts and in accordance with the law, without any restrictions, improper influences, inducements, pressures, threats or interferences, direct or indirect, from any quarter or for any reason;

3. Condemns Russian authorities’ actions as illegitimate and non-compliant with the rule of law, and deems them interference with the independence of the Lithuanian judiciary; calls on the Russian authorities to drop these charges, and to refrain from seeking any international arrest warrants in this case, either through Interpol or bilaterally;

4. Encourages the EU to continue to reiterate its calls on Russia to repeal or amend all laws incompatible with international standards; calls on Russia to immediately cease the prosecution of foreign citizens where this is not in line with international rules; stresses the importance of cooperation between the EU and Russia in the international rules-based order;

5. Calls on the Member States to fully cooperate at European level on their policy towards Russia, as more coherence and better coordination is essential to a more effective EU policy, and to make greater efforts to build resilience, as well as work towards practical solutions to support and strengthen democratic processes and an independent judiciary; expects all EU institutions and Member States to raise this case in their contacts with Russian authorities;

6. Calls on the incoming HR/VP and the EEAS to ensure that these cases are fully known to all Member States, and brought up in the Foreign Affairs Council and that the Russian authorities are made fully aware of the unity and solidarity of the European Union on this case, as in other related cases;

7. Calls on all EU Member States and other signatories of the Interpol Constitution to ignore any international arrest warrants against the Lithuanian officials accused, and calls on Interpol to ignore any Russian requests for such warrants;

8. Calls on all EU Member States to refrain from transferring any personal data to Russia that might be used in criminal proceedings against Lithuanian judges, prosecutors, and investigators;

9. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe, the President, Government and the State Duma of the Russian Federation, and Interpol.

[1] Texts adopted, P_8 TA(2019)0157

[2] https://www.europarl.europa.eu/ep-live/en/committees/video?event=20191112-0900-COMMITTEE-LIBE

Last updated: 26 November 2019Legal notice