Lietuva in brief - 2006-03-29

  • 2006-03-29
Troops of the LITCON-7 contingent came under fire while performing a task in the northern part of Al Harta in Iraq. The Lithuanians withdrew successfully and escaped uninjured. The LITCON-7 troops were patrolling the outskirts of Al Harta, the secretariat of Lithuania's Land Force commander reported. The servicemen heard shots in a settlement and soon noticed three suspicious persons, one of which was carrying a light machine-gun. The troops detained two persons and seized the gun. Some 15 minutes later, the troops came under fire and heard two explosions nearby. The patrolling servicemen fired some shots and, using a smokescreen, withdrew.

The European Humanities University was granted 2.78 million euros in financial assistance from the European Commission and the Nordic Council of Ministers. Secretary General of the Nordic Council of Ministers Per Unckel and EHU rector Anatoly Mikhailov signed the agreement, which stipulates that the funds will support 350 students from Belarus to study three-year bachelor's and master's degree programs, the council reported. The European Commission is the biggest donor to the university, granting 2.2 million euros.

A Vilnius court found Algimantas Mykolas Dailide guilty of crimes against Jews in Nazi-occupied Lithuania during World War II, but imposed no jail time. Prosecutors had requested a five-year jail term for Dailide, 85 - the minimum punishment stipulated in the criminal code - due to the defendant's poor health and old age. Dailide came to the court hearing from Germany, where he has lived since his deportation from the United States. In 1941-1944, Dailide worked for the Vilnius district office of Lithuania's Security Police, a repressive structure controlled by the Nazis. According to the indictment, he participated in the November 1941 arrests of Jewish nationals and arrested two Jews who had escaped from the Vilnius ghetto. Case materials suggest he arrested members of a Polish underground anti-Nazi organization in 1942.

The United States government expressed disappointment over the recent court ruling to release former Nazi collaborator Dailide. "We are disappointed that Algimantas Dailide will not be punished for his crimes," reads a press release issued by the U.S. Embassy. According to the statement, "Holocaust perpetrators should not go unpunished, since justice resulting from a legal process serves to deter others from committing similar acts."

Lithuania has made considerable progress in implementing the Schengen instrument and the Special Kaliningrad Transit Program, said Oliver Seiffarth, an expert of the European Commission's Directorate-General for Justice, Freedom and Security. Seiffarth and Fernand de Vos, EC experts who visited Lithuania this week, made a final assessment of the above mentioned administration and control systems. They assured Lithuanian officials that the commission would decide on the Schengen instrument's 2006 financial contribution in September of this year, with funds to be transferred in October.