Ms. Dobrovolska: When commemorating our Day of Restoration of Independence we cannot forget the judges and prosecutors of the 13 January case


2021 03 18


When attending the meeting of the EU Ministers of Justice, Minister Evelina Dobrovolska mainly focussed on the issue of persecution of the judges and prosecutors who worked with the 13 January case. 

“It is symbolic that the meeting of the EU Ministers of Justice is held on a day that is particularly important to Lithuania. Yet when celebrating our Freedom we won we must take care of those who have faced political persecution because they carried out their civic and constitutional duty. Therefore, today I have invited the EU Member States to take all possible measures to reinforce the mechanism of international cooperation based on the principles of justice and democracy which will help protect all EU citizens,” Minister of Justice Ms. Dobrovolska pointed out. 

At the Minister’s initiative the issue of the 13 January case has been included on the agenda of the EU ministers. Ms. Dobrovolska also raised this topic during the conversation with Juan Fernando Lopez Aguilar, Chair of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs of the European Parliament, and this issue has also been included on the agenda of the committee meeting scheduled for the coming week. 

“I am glad to see that Lithuania’s active efforts to raise the issue of judicial independence with regard to the judges and prosecutors of the 13 January case on the international scale are paying off, because if we want this issue to become an underlying principle of the Community both international publicity and support for Lithuania’s initiative are particularly relevant,” comments Ms. Dobrovolska. 

According to the Minister, Russia’s hostile actions against Lithuania is an important signal to all EU Member States implying that their citizens might also be politically persecuted, thus they must be protected.

Lithuania’s Minister of Justice emphasised the need for wider opportunities of the EU Member States to exchange information on potentially politically motivated extradition requests from third countries; therefore, it is important to establish the EU cooperation mechanism with regard to this issue and make use of Interpol’s potential more efficiently. 

During the meeting, the representatives of Germany, Estonia, Latvia, Poland and France expressed support and solidarity with the initiatives of our country, whereas European Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders assured that they have been considering a possibility to include the issue of the EU cooperation mechanism in the guidelines that were at the preparation stage and were aimed at safeguarding the EU citizens against unlawful and politically motivated actions of third countries. Mr. Reynders also suggested inviting Ministers of Internal Affairs of the EU Member States to a broader discussion. 

Ms. Dobrovolska has also asked Francisca Van Dunem, Minister of Justice of Portugal currently presiding over the Council of the EU, to pay adequate attention to this issue on the Council of the EU agenda.

The Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation has instigated criminal proceedings against Lithuania’s judges and prosecutors who took part in the investigation of the 13 January case.