Year of the Constitution 2022
Titulinė skaidrė
Teismo sudėtis
Salė
Vytis
Lt Fr

On the limits of an investigation entrusted to an ad hoc investigation commission of the Seimas

 

Case no 17/2018

 

THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA

IN THE NAME OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA

 

RULING

ON THE COMPLIANCE OF THE RESOLUTION (No XIII-1495) OF THE SEIMAS OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA OF 25 SEPTEMBER 2018 ON FORMING AN AD HOC INVESTIGATION COMMISSION OF THE SEIMAS OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA FOR CONDUCTING A PARLIAMENTARY INVESTIGATION INTO POSSIBLE UNDUE INFLUENCE AND/OR IMPACT ON LITHUANIAN POLITICIANS, STATE SERVANTS, AND POLITICAL PROCESSES IN LITHUANIA AND OF THE RESOLUTION (No XIII-2937) OF 14 MAY 2020 OF THE SEIMAS OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA ON THE CONCLUSION OF THE PARLIAMENTARY INVESTIGATION CONDUCTED BY AN AD HOC INVESTIGATION COMMISSION OF THE SEIMAS OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA INTO POSSIBLE UNDUE INFLUENCE AND/OR IMPACT ON LITHUANIAN POLITICIANS, STATE SERVANTS, AND POLITICAL PROCESSES IN LITHUANIA WITH THE CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA

 

12 June 2020, no KT105-N8/2020

Vilnius

 

The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, composed of the Justices of the Constitutional Court: Elvyra Baltutytė, Gintaras Goda, Vytautas Greičius, Danutė Jočienė, Gediminas Mesonis, Vytas Milius, Daiva Petrylaitė, Janina Stripeikienė, and Dainius Žalimas

The court reporter – Daiva Pitrėnaitė

The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, pursuant to Articles 102 and 105 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and Article 1 and 531 of the Law on the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, at the hearing before the Constitutional Court on 20 May 2020, considered, under written procedure, constitutional justice case no 17/2018 subsequent to the petition (no 1B-20/2018) of a group of members of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, the petitioner, requesting an investigation into whether Paragraph 1 of Article 4 of the resolution (No XIII-1495) of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania of 25 September 2018 on forming an ad hoc investigation commission of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania for conducting a parliamentary investigation into possible undue influence and/or impact on Lithuanian politicians, state servants, and political processes in Lithuania is in conflict with Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 5 and Article 67 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, and Paragraph 1 of Article 2 of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on Ad Hoc Investigation Commissions of the Seimas.

The Constitutional Court

has established:

I

The arguments of the petitioner

1. The petition of a group of members of the Seimas, the petitioner, is based on the following arguments.

1.1. The rights and powers of ad hoc investigation commissions formed by the Seimas are determined by the principle of the separation of powers, which is entrenched in Paragraph 1 of Article 5 of the Constitution, and by the provision of Paragraph 2 of this article that the scope of power is limited by the Constitution.

On the basis of the provisions of the official constitutional doctrine of ad hoc investigation commissions of the Seimas, formulated, inter alia, in the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 13 May 2004 and 4 April 2006, its decision of 21 November 2006, and its ruling of 22 December 2016, inter alia, when interpreting the powers of the Seimas entrenched in Article 67 of the Constitution, the presumption of the competence of the Seimas to form ad hoc investigation commissions is the necessity to possess information required for the effective functioning of the Seimas in the interests of the People and the state and for proper exercise of its constitutional powers.

1.2. The subject of the investigation entrusted to the ad hoc investigation commission of the Seimas for conducting a parliamentary investigation into possible undue influence and/or impact on Lithuanian politicians, state servants, and political processes in Lithuania (hereinafter also referred to as the Commission), found in the impugned Paragraph 1 of Article 4 of the resolution (No XIII-1495) of the Seimas of 25 September 2018 on forming an ad hoc investigation commission of the Seimas for conducting a parliamentary investigation into possible undue influence and/or impact on Lithuanian politicians, state servants, and political processes in Lithuania (hereinafter also referred to as the resolution of the Seimas of 25 September 2018), is defined in a very broad and abstract manner, both in terms of the period of time and the scope of the issues. According to the petitioner, in this case the Seimas did not formulate one or more specific issues of state importance, but it was envisaged to investigate in principle all political processes that took place in 2008 2016; therefore, the formation of the Commission contradicts the concept of ad hoc investigation commissions and of parliamentary control.

According to the petitioner’s assessment, the tasks formulated by the impugned legal regulation for the Commission do not meet the requirements, arising from the Constitution, for issues for which the Seimas may set up ad hoc investigation commissions, are not consistent with the constitutional objectives of parliamentary control of the Seimas, nor do they meet the requirement, enshrined in Law on Ad Hoc Investigation Commissions of the Seimas, to set up ad hoc investigation commissions only after the recognition of the necessity to investigate an issue of state importance; in addition, such investigation conducted by the Seimas, including that in order to obtain and make public information classified in accordance with laws (intelligence information, pretrial investigation data) poses a threat to the principles of a state under the rule of law.

1.3. According to the petitioner, the investigation of the activities of the Seimas and of the Government of the former term of office, and of the activities of the individual members of the Government that took place in 2008–2016 on the basis of the impugned resolution creates the preconditions for the emergence of instability in the government of the state and in the management of public affairs, for a violation of the rights and freedoms of persons and other values enshrined in and defended and protected by the Constitution, as well as poses a threat to the principles of a democratic state under the rule of law.

II

The arguments of the representative of the party concerned

2. In the course of the preparation of the case for the hearing before the Constitutional Court, written explanations were received from Agnė Širinskienė, Chair of the Committee of the Seimas on Legal Affairs, acting as the representative of the Seimas, the party concerned, in which she maintains that the impugned legal regulation is not in conflict with the Constitution and the Law on Ad Hoc Investigation Commissions of the Seimas. The position of the representative of the Seimas, the party concerned, is substantiated by the following arguments.

2.1. Based on the provisions of the preamble to the resolution of the Seimas of 25 September 2018, the investigation conducted by the Commission must be assessed as a continuation of the parliamentary investigation conducted by the Committee of the Seimas on National Security and Defence (Seimo Nacionalinio saugumo ir gynybos komitetas; hereinafter referred to as the NSGK) whose conclusion was endorsed by the resolution (No XIII-1228) of the Seimas of 5 June 2018 on the conclusion of a parliamentary investigation conducted by the Committee of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania on National Security and Defence into possible undue impact by persons, business entities, and other interest groups on decision making by state institutions and into possible undue influence on political processes (hereinafter also referred to as the NSGK’s conclusion), because a detailed analysis was necessary to clarify the factual circumstances established during this investigation; moreover, significant new information emerged in public about possible undue influence and/or impact in appointing law enforcement officers and in exerting influence on political processes in the Seimas.

The resolution of the Seimas of 25 September 2018 defined a specific period (2008–2016) and sufficiently detailed the subject of the investigation; in addition, the issue formulated in Item 5 of Paragraph 1 of Article 4 of this resolution created the preconditions for a more comprehensive investigation of the problems identified in the investigation carried out by the NSGK. According to the representative of the Seimas, the party concerned, the tasks and subjects of investigation of other ad hoc investigation commissions of the Seimas have been much more abstract.

2.2. In the opinion of the representative of the Seimas, the party concerned, the possible undue impact (referred to in Paragraph 1 of Article 4 of the resolution of the Seimas of 25 September 2018) exerted by persons, business entities, and other interest groups on decision making by state institutions and the possible undue influence exerted on political processes, which the Commission was entrusted to investigate and regarding which, following its investigation into the facts and circumstances, it was obliged to submit a conclusion to the Seimas, and, under Paragraph 2 of this article, it was obliged to submit proposals on the necessary measures to address the problems identified during this investigation, are matters of state importance.

Besides, in its ruling of 4 April 2006, the Constitutional Court noted that, under the Constitution, it is not permitted to establish any exhaustive (final) list of issues for the investigation of which the Seimas may form ad hoc investigation commissions; in principle, the Seimas can form ad hoc investigation commissions designated for an investigation into the widest possible range of processes taking place in the state and society.

2.3. Article 2 of the resolution of the Seimas of 25 September 2018 provides that the Commission is composed of 12 members of the Seimas who have the right to handle or access classified information marked “Secret” under the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on State Secrets and Official Secrets. In order to resolve, inter alia, the issue formulated in Item 5 of Paragraph 1 of Article 4 of this resolution, the Commission may, in accordance with the conditions set out in Item 1 (wording of 2 October 2012) of Paragraph 1 of Article 4 of the Law on Ad Hoc Investigation Commissions of the Seimas, request information only directly related to the exertion of the investigated possible undue influence and/or impact on politicians, state servants, and political processes during the investigation period. When investigating matters of special, state importance, the Commission is legally and reasonably empowered to obtain, in accordance with the procedures laid down in the relevant laws, among other things, information held by law enforcement and intelligence authorities that is directly related to the conducted investigation, even if it is a state or official secret.

The Constitutional Court

holds that:

I

The impugned and related legal regulation

3. On 25 September 2018, the Seimas adopted the resolution (No XIII-1495) on forming an ad hoc investigation commission of the Seimas for conducting a parliamentary investigation into possible undue influence and/or impact on Lithuanian politicians, state servants, and political processes in Lithuania, the compliance of Paragraph 1 of Article 4 whereof with the Constitution and the Law on Ad Hoc Investigation Commissions of the Seimas is impugned by the petitioner in this constitutional justice case.

4. This resolution of the Seimas prescribes:

The Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania,

pursuant to Articles 71, 72, and 73 of the Statute of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania;

having assessed the summarised information about possible undue impact by business entities and other interest groups in exerting influence on state governance and in exerting influence on political decisions, as presented in the conclusion (which was approved by the resolution (No XIII-1228) of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania of 5 June 2018 and which hereinafter is referred to as the NSGK’s conclusion) of the parliamentary investigation conducted by the Committee of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania on National Security and Defence (hereinafter referred to as the NSGK) into possible undue impact by persons, business entities, and other interest groups on decision making by state institutions and into possible undue influence on political processes;

recognising that the NSGC’s conclusion revealed a high level of political corruption and the desire of business entities and other interest groups to take over the state;

taking into account the fact that a detailed analysis is necessary in order to clarify certain factual circumstances set out in the annexes submitted to the Seimas together with the NSGK’s conclusion;

seeking to determine why timely measures have not been taken to reduce the undue impact by the business groups and other interest groups on politicians and state institutions, as indicated in the NSGK’s conclusion, and at the same time to prevent business groups from attempting to take over the state;

seeking to clarify the most important factual circumstances related to the decisions taken by politicians, when the decisions of politicians in the economic sectors of special importance to the state may have been affected by undue influence and/or impact, encouraging politicians to make decisions that potentially may be contrary to the state interests;

recognising that, during and after the preparation of the NSGK’s conclusion, in the course of the consideration of these conclusions by the Seimas, significant new information emerged in public about possible undue influence and/or impact in appointing law enforcement officials, in influencing political processes in the Seimas, and in even possibly forming a ruling majority potentially favourable for business groups in the Seimas in 2008–2012;

recognising and defending the right of the public to know the actions and decisions taken by politicians, the reasons for such decisions, the potential undue influence and/or impact on the process of the adoption of those decision and attempts to influence the taking of decisions that may be contrary to the interests of the state, shall decide:

Article 1.

To form an ad hoc investigation commission of the Seimas for conducting a parliamentary investigation into possible unlawful influence and/or impact on Lithuanian politicians, state servants, and political processes in Lithuania (hereinafter referred to as the Commission).

Article 2.

To form, in accordance with the principle of the proportional representation of the political groups of the Seimas, the Commission consisting of the following 12 members of the Seimas who, under the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on State Secrets and Official Secrets, have the right to handle or access classified information marked ‘Secret’:

(1) Rimas Andrikis;

(2) Valius Ąžuolas;

(3) Dainius Gaižauskas;

(4) Eugenijus Gentvilas;

(5) Jonas Jarutis;

(6) Michal Mackevič;

(7) Kęstutis Mažeika;

(8) Aušrinė Norkienė;

(9) Virgilijus Poderys;

(10) Artūras Skardžius;

(11) Irena Šiaulienė;

(12) Agnė Širinskienė.

Article 3.

To appoint Agnė Širinskienė, a member of the Seimas, as the Chair of the Commission.

Article 4.

1. To oblige the Commission to investigate the following for the period 2008–2016:

(1) undue influence and/or impact possibly exerted by interested persons and/or their groups (hereinafter referred to as the interest group) on the political processes of the country, inter alia, on the electoral process, the formation of parliamentary coalitions, as well as on the work and funding of parliamentary political groups, of individual politicians, of parties, and of public movements;

(2) undue influence and/or impact possibly exerted by the interest group on the law-making process (initiation, preparation, consideration, and/or adoption of legal acts);

(3) undue influence and/or impact possibly exerted by the interest group on the election or appointment and/or activities of the heads and state servants of state institutions;

(4) undue influence and/or impact possibly exerted by the interest group on the election or appointment and/or activities of the heads of state-owned enterprises (their subsidiaries), the heads of public establishments, and members of administrative or supervisory bodies;

(5) the information, obtained by the competent authorities from law enforcement and intelligence authorities, which is directly related to the exertion of undue influence and/or impact on politicians, state servants, and political processes, among other things, to specify how and by what procedure the law enforcement and intelligence authorities provided information (and what was the nature of that information) to the competent authorities and the NSGK on the issues defined in Items1–4 of this Paragraph; to specify on the basis of which provided information the competent authorities made their conclusions, also, which legal acts were initiated and what other measures were taken on the basis of that information.

2. To submit proposals for amending, supplementing legal acts, recognising them as no longer valid, or drafting and adopting new legal acts, or submit proposals for other measures necessary to address the issues identified during the investigation defined in Paragraph 1 of this Article.

Article 5.

To instruct the Commission to conduct the parliamentary investigation and submit to the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania a conclusion and a draft resolution by 1 May 2019.”

4.1. Thus, the resolution of the Seimas of 25 September 2018:

formed an ad hoc investigation commission of the Seimas for conducting a parliamentary investigation into possible unlawful influence and/or impact on Lithuanian politicians, state servants, and political processes in Lithuania (Article 1);

set the requirements for the composition of the Commission – it had to be composed of 12 members of the Seimas who had the right to handle or access classified information marked “Secret” under the Law on State Secrets and Official Secrets and it had to be formed in accordance with the principle of the proportional representation of the political groups of the Seimas (Article 2);

approved the specific composition of the Commission (Article 2);

appointed one of members of the Commission as its Chair (Article 3);

identified the issues that the Commission was obliged to investigate by conducting a parliamentary investigation into possible undue influence and/or impact on Lithuanian politicians, state servants, and political processes in Lithuania (Paragraph 1 of Article 4);

gave an instruction to the Commission to submit proposals regarding legal acts or other measures necessary to address the problems identified in the course of the examination of the issues referred to in Paragraph 1 of Article 4 (Paragraph 2 of Article 4);

set the deadline – 1 May 2019 – for the Commission by which it had to carry out its investigation and present its conclusion (Article 5).

It should be noted that Article 2 of the resolution of the Seimas of 25 September 2018, which laid down the requirements for the composition of the Commission and determined the composition of the Commission, Article 3 thereof, which specified the Chair of the Commission, Paragraph 1 of Article 4 thereof, which is impugned by the petitioner and which established the issues that the Commission was obliged to examine within the framework of the parliamentary investigation into possible undue influence and/or impact on Lithuanian politicians, state servants, and political processes in Lithuania, Paragraph 2 of Article 4 thereof, which gave an instruction to the Commission to submit proposals for addressing the problems identified during the parliamentary investigation, Article 5 thereof, which set a deadline by which the Commission was to carry out the investigation entrusted to it and to submit a conclusion, are intended to determine the composition of the Commission, set up pursuant to Article 1 of this resolution, to detail the Seimas’ instruction, established in the same article, to the Commission, and to set a deadline for the execution of this instruction.

4.2. As specified in the preamble to the resolution of the Seimas of 25 September 2018, it was adopted on the basis of Articles 71, 72, and 73 of the Statute of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania.

4.3. The preamble to the resolution of the Seimas of 25 September 2018 specified the following reasons leading to the formation of the Commission and instructing it to carry out a parliamentary investigation into possible undue influence and/or impact on Lithuanian politicians, state servants, and political processes in Lithuania: the NSGK’s conclusion contains summarised information on possible undue influence by business and other interest groups on state governance and political decision making, which led the Seimas to acknowledge that the NSGK’s conclusion had revealed a high degree of political corruption and the desire of business and other interest groups to take over the state, and that there was a need to carry out a detailed analysis of some of the factual circumstances set out in the annexes presented to the Seimas together with the NSGK’s conclusion; in addition, it contains significant new information that emerged in public about possible undue influence and/impact in appointing law enforcement officials, in influencing political processes in the Seimas, and even possibly in seeking to form in the Seimas in 2008–2012 a ruling majority potentially favourable for business groups.

4.3.1. In this context, it should be noted that the resolution (No XIII-1228) of the Seimas of 5 June 2018 on the conclusion of a parliamentary investigation conducted by the Committee of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania on National Security and Defence into possible undue impact by persons, business entities, and other interest groups on decision making by state institutions and into possible undue influence on political processes endorsed the NSGK’s conclusion. Although this conclusion does not refer to its annexes, it is clear from Subitem 7.9 thereof that NSGK had relied on the information provided by various public authorities, officials, and other persons, which is set out in more than thirty documents.

4.3.2. It should also be noted that the NSGK’s conclusion, endorsed by the above-mentioned resolution of the Seimas of 5 June 2018, stated, among other things, that the exertion of undue impact on decision making of state institutions or undue influence on certain politicians and/or political processes was sought to be exerted (or such impact/influence was exerted) on state interests, democratic government of the state, and on national security, among others, by certain activities of the representatives of the Russian Federation State Corporation Rosatom and the company NUKEM, which is controlled by the former (Subitems 8.1.3.1 and 8.3.3), certain activities of MG Baltic UAB and of the owners and representatives of other companies (Subitems 8.1.3.2 and 8.3.3), certain activities of the representatives of Izhevskiy Radiozavod, a company of the Russian military-industrial complex, and certain activities of the representatives of the Russian company Severny Zavod (Subitem 8.3.3), the influence of the said persons on the activities of the SE Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant, AB Lietuvos geležinkeliai, SE Oro navigacija (Subitem 8.3.3), non-transparent and illegal funding of some political parties (Subitem 8.2.3).

4.3.3. Thus, in interpreting the provisions of the preamble to the resolution of the Seimas of 25 September 2018, it should be noted that they do not specify which factual circumstances pointed out in the NSGK’s conclusion or set out in the documents on which NSGK had relied in its investigation require a detailed analysis; similarly, they do not specify which new information, which emerged in public, about possible undue influence and/or impact in appointing law enforcement officials and influencing political processes in the Seimas (except for the mentioned possible intention to form in the Seimas in 2008–2012 a ruling majority potentially favourable for business groups) is significant. It should also be noted that the provisions of the preamble to this resolution show that the formation of the Commission and tasking it with conducting a parliamentary investigation into possible undue influence and/or impact on Lithuanian politicians, state servants, and political processes in Lithuania are based on the need to examine in more detail not only the factual circumstances specified in the NSGK’s conclusion or set out in the documents on which NSGK had relied in its investigation, but also other unspecified new information, which emerged in public, about possible undue influence and/or impact in appointing law enforcement officials and influencing political processes in the Seimas.

4.4. The preamble to the resolution of the Seimas of 25 September 2018 shows the following objectives for the formation of the Commission: to ensure the right of the public to know about the actions and decisions taken by politicians, the reasons for such decisions, the possible undue influence and/or impact on the process of adopting the said decisions and the attempts to influence the adoption of decisions that are possibly contrary to state interests, when clarifying the main factual circumstances surrounding decisions taken by politicians, inter alia, in the economic sectors of particular importance to the state, as well as by determining why timely measures have not been taken to mitigate the undue influence and/or impact, specified in the NSGK’s conclusion, on politicians and state institutions by business groups and to prevent business groups from seeking to take over the state.

4.5. As mentioned above, under Article 1 of the resolution of the Seimas of 25 September 2018, the Commission was set up, which was tasked with conducting a parliamentary investigation into possible undue influence and/or impact on Lithuanian politicians, state servants, and political processes in Lithuania. It should be noted that this task of the Seimas to the Commission is detailed in the impugned Paragraph 1 of Article 4 of this resolution by pointing out the issues of the parliamentary investigation.

4.5.1. According to Item 1 of Paragraph 1 of Article 4 of the resolution of the Seimas of 25 September 2018, the Commission was obliged to investigate undue influence and/or impact possibly exerted during the period 2008–2016 by persons and/or groups thereof on political processes of the country (inter alia, electoral processes, formation of parliamentary coalitions, formation of parliamentary groups, the work of individual politicians, and the activities and financing of parties and public movements).

It should be noted that it is not clear from Item 1 of Paragraph 1 of Article 4 of this resolution:

who exactly are the interested persons and/or groups thereof, inter alia, those mentioned in the NSGK’s conclusion or documents on which the NSGK had relied, whose possible undue influence and/or impact during the period 2008–2016 on political processes must be investigated;

which political processes in the country in 2008–2016, inter alia, the conduct of elections, the formation of which parliamentary coalitions, the work of which parliamentary groups, the work of which individual politicians, the financing of which political parties and public movements and which activities thereof affected by possible undue influence and/or impact must be investigated.

It should also be noted that Item 1 of Paragraph 1 of Article 4 of the resolution of the Seimas of 25 September 2018 entrusted the Commission with the task of investigating the influence of interested persons and/or their groups on all political processes in the country in 2008–2016, i.e. without limiting to possible intention, pointed out in the preamble to this resolution, to form in the Seimas in 2008–2012 a ruling majority potentially favourable for business groups.

4.5.2. According to Item 2 of Paragraph 1 of Article 4 of the resolution of the Seimas of 25 September 2018, the Commission was obliged to investigate undue influence and/or impact possibly exerted by interested persons and/or groups thereof on the law-making process (initiation, preparation, consideration, and/or adoption of legal acts) during the period 2008–2016.

It should be noted that it is not clear from Item 2 of Paragraph 1 of Article 4 of this resolution:

who exactly are the interested persons and/or groups thereof, inter alia, those mentioned in the NSGK’s conclusion or documents on which the NSGK had relied, whose possible undue influence and/or impact during the period 2008–2016 on law-making processes must be investigated;

which law-making processes in the country inter alia, the initiation, preparation, consideration, and/or adoption of which legal acts (legal acts from which area) affected during the period 2008–2016 by possible undue influence and/or impact must be investigated.

4.5.3. According to Item 3 of Paragraph 1 of Article 4 of the resolution of the Seimas of 25 September 2018, the Commission was obliged to investigate undue influence and/or impact possibly exerted by interested persons and/or groups thereof on the election or appointment and/or activities of the heads and state servants of state institutions during the period 2008–2016.

It should be noted that it is not clear from Item 3 of Paragraph 1 of Article 4 of this resolution:

who exactly are the interested persons and/or groups thereof, inter alia, those mentioned in the NSGK’s conclusion or documents on which the NSGK had relied, whose possible undue influence and/or impact during the period 2008–2016 on the election or appointment and/or activities of the heads and state servants of state institutions must be investigated;

the election or appointment and/or activities of the heads and state servants of which state institutions affected during the period 2008–2016 by possible undue influence and/or impact must be investigated.

4.5.4. According to Item 4 of Paragraph 1 of Article 4 of the impugned resolution of the Seimas of 25 September 2018, the Commission was obliged to investigate undue influence and/or impact possibly exerted by interested persons and/or groups thereof on the election or appointment and/or activities of the heads of state-owned enterprises (their subsidiaries), the heads of public establishments, and members of administrative or supervisory bodies during the period 2008–2016.

It should be noted that it is not clear from Item 4 of Paragraph 1 of Article 4 of this resolution:

who exactly are the interested persons and/or groups thereof, inter alia, those mentioned in the NSGK’s conclusion or documents on which the NSGK had relied, whose possible undue influence and/or impact during the period 2008–2016 on the election or appointment and/or activities of the heads of state-owned enterprises (their subsidiaries), the heads of public establishments, and members of administrative or supervisory bodies must be investigated;

the election or appointment and/or activities of the heads of which state-owned enterprises (their subsidiaries), inter alia, of the heads of which enterprises, the heads of which public establishments, members of which administrative or supervisory bodies, mentioned in the NSGK’s conclusion or documents on which the NSGK had relied, affected during the period 2008–2016 by possible undue influence and/or impact must be investigated.

4.5.5. According to Item 5 of Paragraph 1 of Article 4 of the resolution of the Seimas of 25 September 2018, the Commission was obliged to investigate the information, obtained by the competent authorities from law enforcement and intelligence authorities, directly related to the exertion of undue influence and/or impact on politicians, state servants, and political processes during the period 2008–2016, among other things, to specify how and by what procedure the law enforcement and intelligence authorities provided information (and what was the nature of that information) to the competent authorities and the NSGK on the issues defined in Items 1–4 of this paragraph, as well as to specify on the basis of which provided information the competent authorities made their conclusions, also, which legal acts were initiated and what other measures were taken on the basis of that information.

It should be noted that it is not clear from Item 5 of Paragraph 1 of Article 4 of this resolution the activities of which competent authorities (authorities from which area) related both to the receipt of information from law enforcement and intelligence authorities and to decisions adopted on the basis of that information must be investigated.

4.5.6. Summarising the legal regulation laid down in the impugned Paragraph 1 of Article 4 of the resolution of the Seimas of 25 September 2018 read in conjunction with the provisions of the preamble to this resolution, it should be noted that, under the said legal regulation, the Commission was instructed to investigate the possible exertion of undue influence and/or impact during the period 2008–2016 by any interested persons and/or groups thereof mentioned in the NSGK’s conclusion or documents on which the NSGK had relied, as well as by any other interested persons and/or groups thereof about whom significant new information emerged in public, on any political processes of the country during that period, on any law-making processes of that period, on the election or appointment and/or activities of the heads and state servants of any state institutions during that period, on the election or appointment and/or activities of the heads of any state-owned enterprises (their subsidiaries), the heads of any public establishments, and members of any administrative or supervisory bodies during that period, as well as to investigate the activities of any competent authorities in relation to the receipt of information from law enforcement and intelligence authorities and the decisions adopted on the basis of that information during that period. In particular, the subject of the investigation by the Commission, as established in the impugned Paragraph 1 of Article 4 of the resolution of the Seimas of 25 September 2018, is not limited to the activities of any interested persons and/or groups thereof, mentioned in the NSGK’s conclusion or documents on which the NSGK had relied, as well as of any other interested persons and/or groups thereof during the period 2008–2016, nor to any circumstances established or set out in the NSGK’s conclusion or documents on which the NSGK had relied, or any other factual circumstances of the period, nor to the activities of any competent authorities (in any area) related to the receipt of information from law enforcement and intelligence authorities and the decisions adopted on the basis of that information.

5. The resolution of the Seimas of 25 September 2018 has been amended several times.

5.1. On 13 December 2018, the Seimas adopted the resolution (No XIII-1772) on amending the resolution (No XIII-1495) of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania of 25 September 2018 on forming an ad hoc investigation commission of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania for conducting a parliamentary investigation into possible undue influence and/or impact on Lithuanian politicians, state servants, and political processes in Lithuania (hereinafter referred to as the resolution of the Seimas of 13 December 2018).

5.1.1. Article 1 of this resolution amended the preamble to the resolution of the Seimas of 25 September 2018, which was set out in its new wording and supplemented with the following section: “noting that significant information has also emerged in public about possible undue influence and/or impact on political processes and state institutions, such as about the possible representation of the interests of pension funds in the law-making process, or in the context of the application to the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, or about attempts to influence significant decision-making processes of independent institutions, such as the Chief Official Ethics Commission, and upon occurrence, due to this, of reasonable doubts that, in the Seimas of the term of office of 2016–2020, there are also manifestations of possible undue influence and/or impact on political processes, or on decision making by state institutions or state servants;”. It should be noted that the content of the other provisions of the preamble to the resolution of the Seimas of 25 September 2018 has remained unchanged.

Thus, the new section of the preamble (wording of 13 December 2018) to the resolution of the Seimas of 25 September 2018 provides another reason for conducting the investigation by the Commission: significant information has emerged in public about the possible representation of the interests of pension funds in the law-making process or in the context of the application to the Constitutional Court, as well as attempts to influence the decision making of the Chief Official Ethics Commission, and the resulting doubts about possible undue influence and/or impact on the Seimas of the term of office of 2016–2020, political processes, and decision making by state institutions or state servants.

5.1.2. Article 2 of the resolution of the Seimas of 13 December 2018 amended the first section of Paragraph 1 of Article 4 of the resolution of the Seimas of 25 September 2018 and prescribed: “To oblige the Commission to investigate the following for the period 2008–2018: …”; the other provisions of the impugned Paragraph 1 of Article 4 of the resolution of 25 September 2018 of the Seimas have remained unchanged.

Thus, the issues of the parliamentary investigation, which are laid down in Paragraph 1 (as amended on 13 December 2018) of Article 4 of the resolution of 25 September 2018 have changed only in the sense that the Commission’s task to investigate the activities of interested persons and/or their groups, political processes, law-making processes, the election or appointment and/or activities of the heads and state servants of state institutions, the election or appointment and/or activities of the heads of state-owned enterprises (their subsidiaries), the heads of public establishments, and members of administrative or supervisory bodies, the activities of competent authorities related to the receipt of information from law enforcement and intelligence authorities and the decisions adopted on the basis of that information was extended to include a longer investigation period: instead of the investigation period of 2008–2016, that of 2008–2018 was established. It should be noted that the above-mentioned new section of the preamble (wording of 13 December 2018) of the resolution of the Seimas of 25 September 2018 did not substantially change the legal regulation laid down in Paragraph 1 (as amended on 13 December 2018) of Article 4 of this resolution: the subject of the Commission’s investigation remained unlimited to the activities of any interested persons and/or their groups in 2008–2018, as well as unlimited to any factual circumstances of that period, inter alia, the possible representation of the interests of pension funds in the law-making process (also in the context of the application to the Constitutional Court in that connection) and the attempts to influence the processes of taking significant decisions of independent bodies, such as the Chief Official Ethics Commission.

5.2. On 11 April 2019, the Seimas adopted the resolution (No XIII-2063) on amending the resolution (No XIII-1495) of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania of 25 September 2018 on forming an ad hoc investigation commission of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania for conducting a parliamentary investigation into possible undue influence and/or impact on Lithuanian politicians, state servants, and political processes in Lithuania. In addition, on 12 December 2019, it adopted the resolution (No XIII-2667) on amending the resolution (No XIII-1495) of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania of 25 September 2018 on forming an ad hoc investigation commission of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania for conducting a parliamentary investigation into possible undue influence and/or impact on Lithuanian politicians, state servants, and political processes in Lithuania. These resolutions of the Seimas amended Article 5 of the resolution of 25 September 2018 and extended the duration of the Commission’s activities until 15 December 2019 and 30 April 2020 respectively. The other provisions of the resolution of the Seimas of 25 September 2018 (as amended on 13 December 2018) were not changed by these resolutions.

6. In the context of this constitutional justice case, it should be noted that, on 14 May 2020, the Seimas adopted the resolution (No XIII-2937) on the conclusion of the parliamentary investigation conducted by an ad hoc investigation commission of the Seimas into possible undue influence and/or impact on Lithuanian politicians, state servants, and political processes in Lithuania (hereinafter referred to as the resolution Seimas of 14 May 2020), which endorsed the Commission’s conclusion.

Item 8 of the Commission’s conclusion states, among other things, that the Commission “focused its parliamentary investigation on the task of examining undue influence and/or impact possibly exerted by interest groups over the period 2008–2018 on the election or appointment and/or activities of the heads and state servants of state institutions, and examined individual episodes” relating to activities of the Chief Official Ethics Commission, those of the Office of the Prosecutor General, and the circumstances surrounding the presentation by a group of members of the Seimas of the petition (No 1B-18/2018) to the Constitutional Court requesting an investigation into whether the provisions of the Republic of Lithuania’s Law on the Accumulation of Pensions (wording of 28 June 2018) were in conflict with the Constitution. As can be seen from Items 8.1–8.3 of this conclusion, the episodes examined by the Commission did not take place throughout the period 2008–2018, but in 2013–2014, 2017, and 2018.

Thus, Item 8 of the Commission’s conclusion also shows that the Commission has itself determined the subject of the conducted parliamentary investigation, i.e. the circumstances surrounding the appointment of a specific state official (Chairperson of the Chief Official Ethics Commission) and the dismissal of a specific civil servant (head of a division of the Chief Official Ethics Commission) in 2017, certain activities of a specific state institution (Office of the Prosecutor General) in 2013–2014, and certain circumstances, which took place in 2018, relating to the presentation by a group of members of the Seimas of the petition to the Constitutional Court requesting an investigation into the constitutionality of the provisions of the Law on the Accumulation of Pensions.

II

The relevant legal regulation governing the formation of ad hoc investigation commissions of the Seimas and their activities

7. As mentioned above, the preamble to the resolution of the Seimas of 25 September 2018, Paragraph 1 of Article 4 of which is impugned by the petitioner, states that the Seimas adopted this resolution in accordance with Articles 71, 72, and 73 of the Statute of the Seimas. Therefore, in the context of this constitutional justice case, the provisions of the Statute of the Seimas (wording of 22 December 1998; hereinafter referred to as the Statute of the Seimas), which govern the formation of ad hoc investigation commissions of the Seimas, are relevant.

7.1. Paragraph 1 of Article 71, titled “The Formation of Commissions”, of the Statute of the Seimas provides that, having acknowledged the necessity, the Seimas may form, inter alia, ad hoc investigation commissions to examine and prepare a certain question or to fulfil other assignments of the Seimas.

7.2. Paragraph 1 of Article 72, titled “The Procedure for Forming Ad Hoc Control or Investigation Commissions”, of the Statute of the Seimas provides that, inter alia, ad hoc investigation commissions are formed to collect and present to the Seimas information and conclusions required to analyse a problem at hand and adopt a decision.

7.3. Paragraph 2 of Article 73, titled “An Initiative to Form an Ad Hoc Control or Investigation Commission”, of the Statute of the Seimas provides, inter alia, that the initiators of forming an ad hoc investigation commission must submit to the Seimas a draft proposal of a decision on the formation of such an ad hoc investigation commission, which must indicate the aim of the formation of such a commission, its tasks and powers.

7.4. In this context, mention should also be made of Article 25 (as amended on 8 November 2018), titled “Committees and Commissions of the Seimas”, of the Statute of the Seimas, under which the Seimas forms committees from among its members for the consideration of draft laws and other issues assigned to its remit by the Constitution (Paragraph 1), and, in order to resolve short-term issues or issues of narrower scope or to carry out specific assignments, the Seimas may, from among its members, form, inter alia, ad hoc investigation commissions (Paragraph 3).

7.5. As held by the Constitutional Court in its ruling of 16 May 2019, under the legal regulation enshrined in Paragraphs 1 and 3 of Article 25 (as amended on 8 November 2018), Paragraph 1 of Article 71, and Paragraph 1 of Article 72 of the Statute of the Seimas, the Seimas, having acknowledged the necessity, may form ad hoc investigation commissions to investigate issues falling within its competence under the Constitution where those issues are short-termed and narrower compared with those assigned to the committees, and where those issues may be related with the competence of several committees of the Seimas, inter alia, to gather and submit to the Seimas information and conclusions on such issues as may be necessary for addressing a problem at hand.

8. It should be noted that the legal regulation of the formation and activities of ad hoc investigation commissions of the Seimas, as laid down in the Law on Ad Hoc Investigation Commissions of the Seimas, against Paragraph 1 of Article 2 of which the compliance of Paragraph 1 of Article 4 of the resolution of the Seimas of 25 September 2018 is impugned, is also relevant in this case.

8.1. Article 2, titled “The Formation of a Commission and the Duration of Its Activities”, of the Law on Ad Hoc Investigation Commissions of the Seimas provides, inter alia, that:

the Seimas, having recognised the necessity to investigate a matter of state importance, may establish an ad hoc investigation commission of the Seimas (Paragraph 1);

the issue to be investigated by the commission and the duration of its work are determined by a resolution of the Seimas (Paragraph 3).

8.2. Paragraph 1 of Article 3 (as amended on 3 April 2003), titled “Tasks of the Commission”, of the Law on Ad Hoc Investigation Commissions of the Seimas provides that an ad hoc investigation commission of the Seimas must find out and determine whether actions have been taken and decisions have been made on issues whose investigation is assigned to it, as well as clarify other circumstances related to the issue under investigation.

8.3. In its ruling of 16 May 2019, the Constitutional Court, among other things, held that, under the above-mentioned legal regulation, enshrined in the Law on Ad Hoc Investigation Commissions of the Seimas, inter alia, Paragraphs 1 and 3 of Article 2 thereof, and in the Statute of the Seimas, inter alia, Paragraph 3 of Article 25 (as amended on 8 November 2018) and Paragraph 1 of Article 72 thereof, the resolution of the Seimas establishing an ad hoc investigation commission of the Seimas is not an objective in itself: it establishes a specific issue of state importance whose investigation is commissioned to the commission and defines the boundaries of the assigned investigation.

9. Thus, if Paragraph 1 of Article 2 of the Law on Ad Hoc Investigation Commissions of the Seimas, against which Paragraph 1 of Article 4 of the resolution of the Seimas of 25 September 2018 is impugned, is interpreted in the context of the provisions of Paragraph 3 of Article 2, Paragraph 1 of Article 3 (as amended on 3 April 2003) of this law, as well as those of Paragraph 3 of Article 25 (as amended on 8 November 2018), Paragraph 1 of Article 71, Paragraph 1 of Article 72, and Paragraph 2 of Article 73 of the Statute of the Seimas, it should be noted that a resolution of the Seimas setting up an ad hoc investigation commission of the Seimas (upon recognising by the Seimas the necessity to investigate an issue of state importance) and setting out the purpose, tasks, and powers of such a commission must point out a specific issue of state importance whose investigation is entrusted to the said commission, define the limits of the investigation to be carried out, so that, having regard to those limits, the said commission must ascertain and determine whether the actions and decisions have been taken on the issue whose investigation has been entrusted to it, as well as clarify other circumstances relating to the issue under consideration, as well as collect and submit to the Seimas the information and conclusions relating to this issue, which are needed to address the problem at hand.

III

The provisions of the Constitution and the official constitutional doctrine

10. In this constitutional justice case the petitioner impugns the compliance of Paragraph 1 of Article 4 of the resolution of the Seimas of 25 September 2018, which sets out the issues that the Commission is obliged to investigate when conducting a parliamentary investigation into possible undue influence and/or impact on Lithuanian politicians, state servants, and political processes in Lithuania, with, inter alia, Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 5 and Article 67 of the Constitution, as well as with the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.

11. The Constitutional Court has held on more than one occasion that the essence of the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law is the rule of law; the constitutional imperative of the rule of law means that freedom of state power is limited by law that must be obeyed by all subjects of legal relationships, including the law-making subjects (inter alia, the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 13 August 2007, 8 July 2016, and 16 April 2019); the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law is especially broad and comprises a wide range of various interrelated imperatives (inter alia, the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 29 December 2004, 26 June 2017, and 18 March 2020).

11.1. The imperative of legal certainty and legal clarity, which is one of the essential elements of the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, implies that a legal regulation is subject to certain obligatory requirements: a legal regulation must be clear and harmonious; legal norms must be formulated precisely and may not contain any ambiguities (inter alia, the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 30 May 2003, 7 December 2016, and 7 June 2019); the wording of legal acts must be precise; the consistency and internal coherence of the legal system must be ensured (inter alia, the Constitutional Court’s the rulings of 13 December 2004, 24 February 2017, and 7 June 2019); the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law gives rise to the imperatives of the clarity and determinacy of a legal regulation (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 7 December 2016).

11.2. The constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law implies various requirements for law-making entities, inter alia, the fact that law-making entities are allowed to pass legal acts only without exceeding their powers; legal acts must be passed in accordance with the established procedural law-making requirements, including the requirements established by the law-making entity itself (inter alia, the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 13 December 2004, 16 January 2006, and 16 April 2019). In its interpretation of the content of the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, the Constitutional Court has also stated on several occasions that, according to this principle, legal acts may not demand impossible things (lex non cogit ad impossibilia) (inter alia, the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 20 October 2015, 27 April 2018, and 18 February 2020).

11.3. In the context of this constitutional justice case, it should be noted that, as stated by the Constitutional Court, the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law gives rise to the requirement that the general principle of law ex injuria jus non oritur (illegal acts cannot create law) must be respected (inter alia, the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 30 December 2003, 27 May 2014, and 25 November 2019).

11.4. It should be noted that the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law means, among other things, that all institutions implementing state power must act in accordance with law and in compliance with law (inter alia, the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 30 December 2003, 27 May 2014, and 25 November 2019). In this context, it should be noted that the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law is also reflected in Paragraphs 2 and 3 of Article 5 of the Constitution, which stipulate that the scope of power is limited by the Constitution and that state institutions serve the people and which enshrine the constitutional principles of responsible governance and the responsibility of state authorities to the public (inter alia, the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 12 April 2018, 19 June 2018, and 16 April 2019); the principle of responsible governance implies that all state authorities and officials are obliged to follow the Constitution and law while performing their functions and must properly implement the powers granted to them by the Constitution and laws when acting in the interests of the People and the State of Lithuania (inter alia, the Constitutional Court’s conclusions of 26 October 2012 and 10 November 2012, as well as its rulings of 2 March 2018 and 19 June 2018).

12. As mentioned above, the petitioner impugns the compliance of Paragraph 1 of Article 4 of the resolution of the Seimas of 25 September 2018 with, inter alia, Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 5 of the Constitution.

The Constitutional Court has stated on several occasions that, inter alia, Paragraph 1 of Article 5 of the Constitution, which provides that, in Lithuania, state power is executed by the Seimas, the President of the Republic and the Government, and the Judiciary, consolidates the constitutional principle of the separation of powers (inter alia, the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 10 January 1998, 13 May 2004, and 7 September 2010). The constitutional principle of the separation of powers is also inseparable from the provision of Paragraph 2 of Article 5 of the Constitution that the scope of power is limited by the Constitution (inter alia, the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 13 December 2004, 1 July 2013, and 8 March 2018).

13. As mentioned above, the petitioner impugns the compliance of Paragraph 1 of Article 4 of the resolution of the Seimas of 25 September 2018 with, inter alia, Article 67 of the Constitution.

The Constitutional Court, inter alia, stated in its ruling of 13 May 2004 that:

the constitutional powers of the Seimas are consolidated in Article 67 of the Constitution; the list of the constitutional powers of the Seimas consolidated in this article of the Constitution is not a final one; various powers of the Seimas are also consolidated in other articles (parts thereof) of the Constitution;

under the Constitution, the powers of the Seimas may be established and are established not only in the Constitution, but also in laws; the Seimas, as the representation of the People, also has the right to establish, by means of laws, its powers not expressis verbis indicated in the Constitution, where such powers are designed for the implementation of the constitutional functions of the Seimas; when doing that, the Seimas is bound by the Constitution;

it is clear from the constitutional provisions in which the powers of the Seimas are established that the Seimas, while implementing its constitutional powers, performs the classical functions of the parliament of a democratic state under the rule of law: the Seimas passes laws (the legislative function), carries out parliamentary control over executive and other state institutions (except courts) (the control function), establishes state institutions, appoints and dismisses their heads and other state officials (the founding function), approves the state budget and supervises its execution (the budgetary function), etc.

14. It should be noted from the aspect relevant to this constitutional justice case that, according to Article 76 of the Constitution, the structure and procedure of activities of the Seimas are established by the Statute of the Seimas, which has the force of a law. The Constitutional Court has noted that this article of the Constitution sets out a blanket norm, which permits the Seimas to establish its own structure, the procedure of its activities, procedures for the presentation of draft laws and other draft legal acts, their deliberation and adoption, the competence of other structural units of the Seimas and their interrelations, and to regulate other issues of the functioning of the Seimas (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 30 March 2000, 2 May 2012, and 18 December 2019); the established structure and procedure of activities of the Seimas must be such as to enable the Seimas, the representation of the People, to perform its constitutional functions (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 13 May 2004 and 18 December 2019).

The Constitutional Court has also held that, according to the Constitution, the Seimas, when establishing, inter alia, its structural units and their competence, as well as when formulating certain tasks for them, is bound by the norms and principles of the Constitution (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 13 May 2004 and 4 April 2006).

15. It should be noted that the Constitution, inter alia, Articles 67 and 76 thereof, enshrines the powers of the Seimas to establish, while paying regard, inter alia, to the constitutional principles of responsible governance and a state under the rule of law, its structural units, inter alia, to form ad hoc investigation commissions of the Seimas and formulate their tasks.

The following provisions of the official constitutional doctrine of ad hoc investigation commissions of the Seimas are relevant to the constitutional justice case at issue:

under the Constitution, the Seimas is obliged to establish such a legal regulation that would create the legal preconditions for receiving information necessary to perform its constitutional powers (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 4 April 2006 and 30 December 2015);

the constitutional functions of the Seimas and the powers of the Seimas consolidated in the Constitution presuppose the powers of the Seimas in every case when it becomes necessary to decide a certain question that falls under the constitutional competence of the Seimas to seek the exhaustive and objective information needed to adopt particular decisions; the Seimas, having these powers and discretion to set up its own structural units, to determine their competence, to formulate certain tasks for them, also has discretion to set up its own structural units that are entrusted with the task of carrying out an investigation in order to gather information about certain processes taking place in the state and society, about the situation and arising problems in various spheres of the life of the state and society (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 13 May 2004, 4 April 2006, 22 December 2016, and 16 May 2019);

in order that it could properly perform its constitutional functions, the Seimas may also require to form such its structural units that would have the powers with regard to various state or municipal institutions, their officials, or other persons; such powers may also be related to the receipt of information from state or municipal institutions, their officials, or from other persons (also from those not accountable to the Seimas) about certain processes taking place in the state and society, about the situation and arising problems in various spheres of the life of the state and society (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 13 May 2004, 4 April 2006, and 30 December 2015);

in each particular case, before deciding on forming an ad hoc investigation commission, the Seimas must deliberate and assess (inter alia, from the aspect of expediency) whether or not such an ad hoc investigation commission of the Seimas can be formed according to the Constitution and laws (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 13 May 2004, 4 April 2006, 22 December 2016, and 16 May 2019);

the Seimas should not use its constitutional powers to form ad hoc investigation commissions in such a way whereby the Seimas would itself collect all information necessary for legislation and performance of its other functions and whereby the formation of ad hoc investigation or similar commissions and investigation conducted by them would prevail in the activities of the Seimas; the Constitution does not presuppose such activities of the Seimas; otherwise, the preconditions might be created where certain circumstances would hinder the work of the parliament, would hinder the Seimas, the representation of the People, in its efforts to act rationally and effectively in the interests of the People and the State of Lithuania (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 4 April 2006);

under the Constitution, it is not permitted to establish an exhaustive (final) list of issues for the investigation of which the Seimas may form ad hoc investigation commissions; in principle, the Seimas can form ad hoc investigation commissions designated for an investigation into the widest possible range of processes taking place in the state and society (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 4 April 2006, its decision of 21 November 2006, as well as its rulings of 22 December 2016 and 16 May 2019);

the Constitution, inter alia, the principle of responsible governance enshrined therein, implies such an institution of ad hoc investigation commissions of the Seimas and such a legal regulation governing the setting up of such commissions and their activities by which the said ad hoc investigation commissions of the Seimas are set up not in order to investigate any, but only special issues, i.e. those of state importance (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 4 April 2006, 22 December 2016, and 16 May 2019); the provisions of the Constitution imply the possibility of establishing by law broad powers of ad hoc investigation commissions of the Seimas; however, the same provisions also consolidate certain limits on the investigative activity of ad hoc investigation commissions of the Seimas; the said limits must not be expanded by means of laws or other legal acts (the Constitutional Court’s decision of 21 November 2006 and its ruling of 16 May 2019);

the powers of an ad hoc investigation commission of the Seimas may stem only from an act of the Seimas as the representation of the People, i.e. from the expression of the will of the Seimas, but not from the expression of the will or intention of a certain structural unit of the Seimas or of a group of members of the Seimas; due to this, it is only the Seimas that may decide on whether or not to form an ad hoc investigation commission on a certain issue, it is only the Seimas that may establish the composition, tasks, etc. of that commission, as no one else may express such will for the Seimas; thus, neither any structural unit of the Seimas nor any group of members of the Seimas may express such will (the Constitutional Court’s ruling of 4 April 2006).

16. In the context of the constitutional justice case at issue, it should be noted that, according to the Constitution, inter alia, Articles 67 and 76 thereof, as well as the constitutional principles of responsible governance and a state under the rule of law, the Seimas may form an ad hoc investigation commission only to investigate a specifically defined issue of state importance, i.e. it is necessary to establish such tasks (required for the investigation of that issue) of the ad hoc investigation commission of the Seimas that would make clear the limits of the investigative activity of that commission, inter alia, what information (information from which area) on processes (processes from which area) taking place in the state and society and what issues (issues from which area) are to be collected for the Seimas.

Thus, under the Constitution, inter alia, Articles 67 and 76 thereof, the constitutional principles of responsible governance and a state under the rule of law, the Seimas must not establish such tasks necessary to investigate the issue of state importance for an ad hoc investigation commission of the Seimas which would not make clear the limits of the investigative activity of that commission and/or which would be impossible to carry out; nor may the issue of state importance entrusted to an ad hoc investigation commission and/or the commission’s tasks necessary to investigate that issue be formulated in such a way as to create the preconditions for the commission itself to choose which investigation tasks and to what extent to carry out and thereby to determine the limits of its investigation. Otherwise, the ad hoc investigation commission of the Seimas would take over the constitutional powers of the Seimas to define the issue of state importance entrusted to such a commission and to establish the tasks necessary for the investigation of this issue.

IV

The assessment of the compliance of the resolution of the Seimas of 25 September 2018 with the Constitution

17. In this constitutional justice case, the Constitutional Court investigates, subsequent to the petitioner’s petition, the compliance of Paragraph 1 of Article 4 of the resolution of the Seimas of 25 September 2018 with Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 5 and Article 67 of the Constitution, the constitutional principle of a state under rule of law, and Paragraph 1 Article 2 of the Law on Ad Hoc Investigation Commissions of the Seimas.

18. As mentioned above, the impugned legal regulation, laid down in Paragraph 1 of Article 4 of the resolution of the Seimas of 25 September 2018, identified the issues that the Commission was obliged to investigate by conducting a parliamentary investigation into possible undue influence and/or impact on Lithuanian politicians, state servants, and political processes in Lithuania and that were intended to detail the task that the Seimas gave to the Commission, which was set up under Article 1 of this resolution.

19. The doubts of the petitioner as to the compliance of the impugned legal regulation with the Constitution are based on the fact that, in its view, the subject of the investigation entrusted to the ad hoc investigation commission of the Seimas, set up by the impugned resolution of the Seimas of 25 September 2018, is defined in a very broad and abstract manner, both in terms of the period of time and the scope of the issues, in the absence of formulated specific issues of state importance and after it has been envisaged that, in principle, all the political processes that took place in 2008–2016 should be investigated; therefore, the formation of the Commission and the tasks assigned to it are contrary to the constitutional principles of the separation of powers, the supremacy of the Constitution, the constitutional concept of ad hoc investigation commissions of the Seimas and of parliamentary control; the formation of the Commission and the tasks assigned to it create the preconditions for instability in governing the state, managing public affairs, also violating individual rights and freedoms, other values enshrined in and defended and protected by the Constitution, pose a threat to the principles of a democratic state under the rule of law, and do not comply with the requirement, laid down in the Law on Ad Hoc Investigation Commissions of the Seimas, to set up ad hoc investigation commissions only after the recognition of the necessity to investigate an issue of state importance.

20. When deciding on the constitutionality of Paragraph 1 of Article 4 of the resolution of the Seimas of 25 September 2018, it should be noted that, as mentioned above, under the Constitution, inter alia, Articles 67 and 76 thereof, and under the constitutional principles of responsible governance and a state under the rule of law:

the Seimas may form an ad hoc investigation commission only to investigate a specifically defined issue of state importance, i.e. it is necessary to establish such tasks (required for the investigation of that issue) of the ad hoc investigation commission of the Seimas that would make clear the limits of the investigative activity of that commission, inter alia, what information (information from which area) on processes (processes from which area) taking place in the state and society and what issues (issues from which area) are to be collected for the Seimas;

the Seimas must not establish such tasks necessary to investigate the issue of state importance for an ad hoc investigation commission of the Seimas which would not make clear the limits of the investigative activity of that commission and/or which would be impossible to carry out;

nor may the issue of state importance entrusted to an ad hoc investigation commission and/or the commission’s tasks necessary to investigate that issue be formulated in such a way as to create the preconditions for the commission itself to choose which investigation tasks and to what extent to carry out and thereby to determine the limits of its investigation; otherwise, the ad hoc investigation commission of the Seimas would take over the constitutional powers of the Seimas to define the issue of state importance entrusted to such a commission and to establish the tasks necessary for the investigation of this issue.

21. It has been mentioned that, under the legal regulation laid down in the impugned Paragraph 1 of Article 4 of the resolution of the Seimas of 25 September 2018 read in conjunction with the provisions of the preamble to this resolution, the Commission was instructed to investigate undue influence and/or impact possibly exerted during the period 2008–2016 by any interested persons and/or groups thereof mentioned in the NSGK’s conclusion or documents on which the NSGK had relied, as well as by any other interested persons and/or groups thereof about whom significant new information emerged in public, on any political processes of the country during that period, on any law-making processes of that period, on the election or appointment and/or activities of the heads and state servants of any state institutions during that period, on the election or appointment and/or activities of the heads of any state-owned enterprises (their subsidiaries), the heads of any public establishments, and members of any administrative or supervisory bodies during that period, as well as to investigate the activities of any competent authorities in relation to the receipt of information from law enforcement and intelligence authorities and the decisions adopted on the basis of that information during that period; in particular, the subject of the investigation by the Commission, as established in Paragraph 1 of Article 4 of this resolution, is not limited to the activities of any interested persons and/or groups thereof mentioned in the NSGK’s conclusion or documents on which the NSGK had relied, as well as of any other interested persons and/or groups thereof during the period 2008–2016, nor to any circumstances established or set out in the NSGK’s conclusion or documents on which the NSGK had relied, or any other factual circumstances of the period, nor to the activities of any competent authorities (in any area) related to the receipt of information from law enforcement and intelligence authorities and the decisions adopted on the basis of that information.

Thus, under the impugned legal regulation, enshrined in Paragraph 1 of Article 4 of the resolution of the Seimas of 25 September 2018, the Commission was given the parliamentary investigation issues on possible undue influence and/or impact on Lithuanian politicians, state servants, and political processes formulated so broadly that they entrusted the Commission with the task of investigating in principle all the political and law-making processes in the country during the period 2008–2016, the election or appointment and/or activities of the heads and state servants of all state institutions during that period, the election or appointment and/or activities of the heads of all state-owned enterprises (their subsidiaries), the heads of all public establishments, and members of all administrative or supervisory bodies during that period, the activities of all competent authorities related to the receipt of information from law enforcement and intelligence authorities and the decisions adopted on the basis of that information during that period. Therefore, the issues of the parliamentary investigation formulated in this way must be assessed as impossible to investigate; nor do they clearly define the limit of the parliamentary investigation entrusted to the Commission, which creates the preconditions for the Commission itself to determine the issues of the conducted investigation.

In this context, it should be noted that, as mentioned above, Item 8 of the Commission’s conclusion shows that the Commission has itself determined the subject of the conducted parliamentary investigation, i.e. the circumstances surrounding the appointment of a specific state official (Chairperson of the Chief Official Ethics Commission) and the dismissal of a specific state servant (head of a division of the Chief Official Ethics Commission) in 2017, certain activities of a specific state institution (Office of the Prosecutor General) in 2013–2014, and certain circumstances, which took place in 2018, relating to the presentation by a group of members of the Seimas of the petition to the Constitutional Court requesting an investigation into the constitutionality of the provisions of the Law on the Accumulation of Pensions.

22. Thus, it should be held that the legal regulation laid down in the impugned Paragraph 1 of Article 4 of the resolution of the Seimas of 25 September 2018 disregarded the requirements, arising from Articles 67 and 76 of the Constitution and from the constitutional principles of responsible governance and a state under the rule of law, to specifically define the state importance issue whose investigation is entrusted to an ad hoc investigation commission of the Seimas, to establish such tasks (necessary for the investigation of the state importance issue) of the ad hoc investigation commission of the Seimas that would make clear the limits of the investigative activity of that commission, not to establish such tasks (necessary for the investigation of state importance issue) of the ad hoc investigation commission of the Seimas that would be impossible to carry out, also, not to create the preconditions for the commission at its discretion to choose which investigation tasks and to what extent to carry out and thereby to determine the limits of its investigation, i.e. not to create the preconditions for the commission to take over the constitutional powers of the Seimas to define the state importance issue that must be investigated and to establish the tasks necessary for the investigation of that issue.

In the light of the foregoing, it should also be held that that Paragraph 1 of Article 4 of the resolution of the Seimas of 25 September 2018 was in conflict with Articles 67 and 76 of the Constitution, as well as with the constitutional principles of responsible governance and a state under the rule of law.

23. Having stated this, the Constitutional Court will not further investigate in this constitutional justice case whether Paragraph 1 of Article 4 of the resolution of the Seimas of 25 September 2018 was in conflict with Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 5 of the Constitution and Paragraph 1 of Article 2 of the Law on Ad Hoc Investigation Commissions of the Seimas.

24. As mentioned above, Article 2 of the resolution of the Seimas of 13 December 2018 amended the first section of the impugned Paragraph 1 of Article 4 of the resolution of the Seimas of 25 September 2018 and prescribed: “To oblige the Commission to investigate the following for the period 2008–2018: …”; the other provisions of the impugned Paragraph 1 of Article 4 of the resolution of 25 September 2018 of the Seimas have remained unchanged.

24.1. It has been mentioned that the issues of the parliamentary investigation, which are laid down in Paragraph 1 (as amended on 13 December 2018) of Article 4 of the resolution of 25 September 2018, have changed only in the sense that the Commission’s task to investigate the activities of interested persons and/or their groups, political processes, law-making processes, the election or appointment and/or activities of the heads and state servants of state institutions, the election or appointment and/or activities of the heads of state-owned enterprises (their subsidiaries), the heads of public establishments, and members of administrative or supervisory bodies, the activities of competent authorities related to the receipt of information from law enforcement and intelligence authorities and the decisions adopted on the basis of that information was extended to include a longer investigation period: instead of the investigation period of 2008–2016, that of 2008–2018 was established; nor did the new section of the preamble (wording of 13 December 2018) of the resolution of the Seimas of 25 September 2018 substantially change the legal regulation laid down in Paragraph 1 (as amended on 13 December 2018) of Article 4 of this resolution: the subject of the Commission’s investigation remained unlimited to the activities of any interested persons and/or their groups in 2008–2018, as well as unlimited to any factual circumstances of that period, inter alia, the possible representation of the interests of pension funds in the law-making process (also in the context of the application to the Constitutional Court in that connection) and the attempts to influence the processes of taking significant decisions of independent bodies, such as the Chief Official Ethics Commission.

24.2. It should therefore be held that, after the resolution of the Seimas of 13 December 2018 had amended, inter alia, the first section of Paragraph 1 of Article 4 of the resolution of the Seimas of 25 September 2018, the legal regulation entrenched in Paragraph 1 of Article 4 of the resolution of the Seimas of 25 September 2018 did not substantially change from the point of view impugned by the petitioner.

24.3. In the light of the foregoing, it should be concluded that, having held that Paragraph 1 of Article 4 of the resolution of the Seimas of 25 September 2018 was in conflict with Articles 67 and 76 of the Constitution, as well as with the constitutional principles of responsible governance and a state under the rule of law, it should be held, on the basis of the same arguments, that Paragraph 1 (as amended on 13 December 2018) of Article 4 of the resolution of the Seimas of 25 September 2018 is also in conflict with Articles 67 and 76 of the Constitution, as well as with the constitutional principles of responsible governance and a state under the rule of law.

25. The Constitutional Court has held that, if it finds the unconstitutionality of provisions that are not impugned by a petitioner but are consolidated in the same legal act whose other provisions are impugned by the petitioner in terms of their constitutionality, it must state that the said provisions that have not been impugned by the petitioner have been found to be unconstitutional (inter alia, the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 11 June 2015, 2 March 2018, and 18 February 2020); the implementation of constitutional justice implies that a legal act (part thereof) that conflicts with the Constitution must be removed from the legal system (inter alia, the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 29 November 2001, 2 March 2018, and 18 February 2020).

26. As mentioned above, the impugned Paragraph 1 of Article 4 of the resolution of the Seimas of 25 September 2018 details the instruction for the Commission to conduct a parliamentary investigation into possible undue influence and/or impact on Lithuanian politicians, state servants, and political processes in Lithuania. It has been mentioned that the issues of the parliamentary investigation that were formulated in Paragraph 1 of Article 4 of the resolution of the Seimas of 25 September 2018 have been assessed as impossible to investigate; nor do they clearly define the limit of the parliamentary investigation entrusted to the Commission, which creates the preconditions for the Commission itself to determine the issues of the conducted investigation.

Thus, the assignment of the Seimas to the Commission to conduct a parliamentary investigation into possible undue influence and/or impact on Lithuanian politicians, state servants, and political processes in Lithuania, as set out in Article 1 of the resolution of the Seimas of 25 September 2018, must be regarded as not specifically defined, as impossible to perform, and as creating the preconditions for the Commission itself to determine the issues of the investigation to be carried out.

27. In the light of the foregoing, it should be concluded that, having held that Paragraph 1 (as amended on 13 December 2018) of Article 4 of the resolution of the Seimas of 25 September 2018 is in conflict with Articles 67 and 76 of the Constitution, as well as with the constitutional principles of responsible governance and a state under the rule of law, it should be held that Article 1 of the same resolution is in conflict with Articles 67 and 76 of the Constitution, as well as with the constitutional principles of responsible governance and a state under the rule of law.

28. As mentioned above, Article 2 of the resolution of the Seimas of 25 September 2018, which laid down the requirements for the composition of the Commission and determined the composition of the Commission, Article 3 thereof, which specified the Chair of the Commission, Paragraph 2 of Article 4 thereof, which gave an instruction to the Commission to submit proposals for addressing the problems identified during the parliamentary investigation, Article 5 thereof, which set a deadline by which the Commission was to carry out the investigation entrusted to it and to submit a conclusion, are intended to determine the composition of the Commission set up pursuant to Article 1 of this resolution, to detail the Seimas’ instruction, established in the same article, for the Commission and to set a deadline for the execution of this instruction; the impugned legal regulation, entrenched in Paragraph 1 of Article 4 of the said resolution, identified the issues that the Commission was obliged to investigate by conducting a parliamentary investigation; the said issues are intended to detail the Seimas’ instruction for the Commission, set up under Article 1 of that resolution.

29. In the light of the foregoing, it should be concluded that, once it has been found that Article 1 and Paragraph 1 (as amended on 13 December 2018) of Article 4 of the resolution of the Seimas of 25 September 2018 are in conflict with Articles 67 and 76 of the Constitution, as well as with the constitutional principles of responsible governance and a state under the rule of law, it should also be held that the other provisions (as amended) of the resolution of the Seimas of 25 September 2018, which, as mentioned above, established the requirements for the composition of the Commission, set up under Article 1 of this Resolution, established the composition of this Commission, specified the Chair of the Commission, established the instruction to the Commission to submit proposals to address problems identified during the parliamentary investigation, and set the deadline by which the Commission had to carry out its investigation and present its conclusion, are also in conflict with Articles 67 and 76 of the Constitution, as well as with the constitutional principles of responsible governance and a state under the rule of law.

30. In the light of the above arguments, it should be concluded that the resolution of the Seimas of 25 September 2018 (as amended) is in conflict with Articles 67 and 76 of the Constitution, as well as with the constitutional principles of responsible governance and a state under the rule of law.

V

The assessment of the compliance of the resolution of the Seimas of 14 May 2020 with the Constitution

31. As the Constitutional Court has held on more than one occasion, it exercises constitutional judicial review; the Constitutional Court is the institution of constitutional justice; while deciding, within its competence, on the compliance of lower-ranking legal acts (parts thereof) with higher-ranking legal acts, inter alia (and, first of all), with the Constitution, and exercising its other constitutional powers, the Constitutional Court – an autonomous and independent court – administers constitutional justice and guarantees constitutional legality and the supremacy of the Constitution in the legal system.

It should be noted that the powers of the Constitutional Court to administer constitutional justice and to ensure constitutional lawfulness are inseparable from the imperatives of the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law (the Constitutional Court’s rulings of 19 June 2018 and 16 April 2019). In the context of this constitutional justice case, it should also be noted that such constitutional powers of the Constitutional Court are inseparable from the requirement, arising from the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, to respect the general principle of law ex injuria jus non oritur (illegal acts cannot create law).

32. In this context, it should be noted that, having established the unconstitutionality of a not impugned legal act where the preconditions for whose adoption were created by a legal act impugned by the petitioner, the Constitutional Court must state the unconstitutionality of the not impugned legal act. It should also to be noted that, if the Constitutional Court did not state the unconstitutionality of the not impugned legal act related to the impugned legal act, this would not be in line with the constitutional mission of the Constitutional Court to administer constitutional justice, and to guarantee both the supremacy of the Constitution in the legal system and constitutional lawfulness.

As mentioned above, the implementation of constitutional justice implies that a legal act (part thereof) that is in conflict with the Constitution must be removed from the legal system. Therefore, according to the Constitution, the Constitutional Court must remove from the legal system all anti-constitutional provisions whose unconstitutionality becomes apparent in a relevant constitutional justice case under consideration.

33. It has been mentioned that the Commission’s conclusion was endorsed by the resolution of the Seimas of 14 May 2000. It should be noted that Item 1 of this conclusion indicates the basis of the Commission’s powers – the resolution of the Seimas of 25 September 2018 (as amended).

Thus, the resolution of the Seimas of 25 September 2018 (as amended), which, as mentioned above, set up the Commission and entrusted it with the task, given to it by the Seimas, to conduct a parliamentary investigation into possible undue influence and/or impact on Lithuanian politicians, state servants, and political processes in Lithuania, created the preconditions for the Commission to adopt the conclusion that was endorsed by the resolution of the Seimas of 14 May 2020.

33.1. As mentioned above, the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law gives rise to the requirement that the general principle of law ex injuria jus non oritur (illegal acts cannot create law) must be respected; the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law means, among other things, that all institutions implementing state power must act in accordance with law and in compliance with law; the constitutional principle of responsible governance implies that all state institutions and officials are obliged to follow the Constitution and law while performing their functions and acting in the interests of the People and the State of Lithuania, and that they must properly implement the powers conferred on them by the Constitution and laws.

33.2. It should be noted that it has been held in this ruling of the Constitutional Court that the resolution of the Seimas of 25 September 2018 (as amended), which, as mentioned above, created the preconditions for the Commission to adopt the conclusion, is in conflict with Articles 67 and 76 of the Constitution, as well as with the constitutional principles of responsible governance and a state under the rule of law.

33.3. Thus, it should be held that the resolution of the Seimas of 14 May 2020, endorsing the conclusion of the Commission whose formation had been anti-constitutional, should be regarded as incompatible with the requirement, arising from the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, to respect the general principle of law ex injuria jus non oritur (illegal acts cannot create law), as well as with the requirement, arising from the constitutional principles of a state under the rule of law and responsible governance, that state authorities must perform their functions in accordance with the Constitution and law, and must properly implement the powers conferred on them by the Constitution and by law.

34. In the light of the above arguments, it should be concluded that the resolution of the Seimas of 14 May 2020 is in conflict with the constitutional principles of responsible governance and a state under the rule of law.

Conforming to Articles 102 and 105 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and Articles 1, 53, 531, 54, 55, and 56 of the Law on the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania gives the following

ruling:

1. To recognise that the resolution (No XIII-1495) of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania of 25 September 2018 on forming an ad hoc investigation commission of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania for conducting a parliamentary investigation into possible undue influence and/or impact on Lithuanian politicians, state servants, and political processes in Lithuania (as amended; Register of Legal Acts, 26-09-2018, No 15087; 18-12-2018, No 20688; 15-04-2019, No 6107; 13-12-2019, No 20152) is in conflict with Articles 67 and 76 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, as well as with the constitutional principles of responsible governance and a state under the rule of law.

2. To recognise that the resolution (No XIII-2937) of 14 May 2020 of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania on the conclusion of the parliamentary investigation conducted by an ad hoc investigation commission of the Seimas into possible undue influence and/or impact on Lithuanian politicians, state servants, and political processes in Lithuania (Register of Legal Acts, 19-05-2020, No 10616) is in conflict with the constitutional principles of responsible governance and a state under the rule of law.

This ruling of the Constitutional Court is final and not subject to appeal.

Justices of the Constitutional Court:            Elvyra Baltutytė

                                                                                Gintaras Goda

                                                                                Vytautas Greičius

                                                                                Danutė Jočienė

                                                                                Gediminas Mesonis

                                                                                Vytas Milius

                                                                                Daiva Petrylaitė

                                                                                Janina Stripeikienė

                                                                                Dainius Žalimas