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Dainius Žalimas: the possibilities of making use of the advanced European means of defending constitutional rights have been opened up for Lithuanian people

21-03-2019

The President of the Constitutional Court, Dainius Žalimas, welcomes the decision of the Seimas to legally consolidate the individual constitutional complaint, in particular the fact that, by means of this decision, the promise made by the politicians to the citizens has been fulfilled. Today, the Seimas has approved the draft law amending Articles 106 and 107 of the Constitution, which legitimises the right of every person to apply to the Constitutional Court if the constitutional rights or freedoms of the person have been violated and the person has exhausted all legal remedies.

“Eventually, in this respect, we have become a civilised European state, because the individual constitutional complaint is in the absolute majority of the countries that have constitutional courts. As from now, if citizens believe that the legal acts in force have infringed their constitutional rights or freedoms, they will be able themselves to bring the matter directly before the Constitutional Court. In addition, once the individual constitutional complaint has been introduced, the people become more involved in the governance of the state, since they acquire the right to question the constitutionality of the acts of the President, the Seimas, or the Government that served as a basis for adopting decisions related to them”, said the President of the Constitutional Court, Dainius Žalimas.

The constitutional amendments will enter into force on 1 September 2019. By then, amendments to the Law on the Constitutional Court, which will determine the procedure for individual application by citizens to the Constitutional Court, will have to be adopted.

The individual constitutional complaint is an effective instrument of protecting human rights, which reduces the number of applications before the European Court of Human Rights. Individual constitutional complaints can be filed not only by the residents of the old European democratic states, but also by the residents of the neighbouring states of Latvia and Poland. The institution of the constitutional complaint has been recently implemented in Ukraine. After this possibility has been granted to Lithuanian people, it will not be available to the residents of only three European states – Bulgaria, Italy, and Moldova.