Chief justice of Supreme Court sheds light on Paksas ruling

  • 2006-01-11
  • From wire reports
VILNIUS - The chairman of the Supreme Court said that the court's recent acquittal of ex-President Rolandas Paksas on charges of leaking a state secret did not run counter to the Constitutional Court's conclusion announced in March 2004, which had served as the basis for the ex-president's impeachment.

"I would like to note that there is an essential difference between the Constitutional Court's ruling and the Supreme Court's ruling, that neither of them is contradictory, and they do not negate each other," Supreme Court Chairman Vytautas Greicius told reporters after a meeting with the president on Jan. 10.

When asked how society should interpret the two rulings 's whether Paksas is guilty or not 's Greicius reminded that he had chaired the parliamentary impeachment meeting when Paksas had been ousted from the office of president.

"I think there are reasons for political Constitutional responsibility and the decisions on this issue are well-founded. As far as criminal liability is concerned, the Supreme Court has already expressed its opinion on that," he said.

"I agree with the expressed opinion that not every violation of the Constitution entails criminal liability," he stressed.

Greicius also advised former Constitutional Court judges, especially those who had been involved in drawing the conclusion in Paksas' case, to refrain from discussions on the Supreme Court's ruling.

The Supreme Court's ruling, which acquitted Paksas on charges of revealing a state secret to Yury Borisov, a financial supporter, has been criticized by many observers. Lawyers have said that the Constitutional Court could present an explanation of its March 2004 conclusion, stating that Paksas had committed three gross violations of the Constitution.

By law, the president, the parliamentary speaker, Parliament or the government, the justice minister, the prosecutor general or the Supreme Court chairman can ask the Constitutional Court for such an explanation.

In its conclusion presented before the impeachment in late March 2004, the Constitutional Court stated that Paksas, who was then president, had severely violated the Constitution on three counts: by granting citizenship to the most generous sponsor (Borisov); by failing to secure the protection of state secrets and knowingly implying to Borisov that law enforcement institutions had conducted an investigation into his activities and had wiretapped his telephone conversations; and by giving orders to his adviser, Visvaldas Rackauskas, to use his authority and seek influence, through law enforcement institutions, decisions of heads and shareholders of company Zemaitijos Keliai on transferring shares to persons of Paksas' circle.

Paksas was removed from the president's post in a parliamentary impeachment in April 2004 and was later deprived of the right to hold a state office that required an oath.

In late December, the Supreme Court acquitted Paksas of charges of revealing a state secret to Borisov. The ruling encouraged Paksas and his supporters to voice the possibility of seeking nullification of the impeachment.

Lawyers admit that the Supreme Court's ruling has created an ambiguous situation, which is difficult to explain to the general public.