The European Court of Human Rights rejected claims against Lithuania lodged by three people convicted for the unsuccessful coup d'etat in January 1991. "The claims were rejected as ungrounded," Elvyra Baltutyte, Lithuanian representative at the court based in Strasbourg, told the Baltic News Service. Mykolas Burokevicius, Juozas Kuolelis and Leonas Bartosevicius claimed their actions were not illegal under the existing soviet laws, but the ECHR decided that the crimes were well-enough defined under Lithuanian law. The former pro-Moscow communist figures also insisted that the respective court processes were too long, but the ECHR ruled they took the "shortest possible time."
Lithuania commemorated 90-year anniversary Declaration of Independence on Feb 16. Across the country and abroad Lithuanians celebrated; thousands gathered on Vilnius streets. Latvian, Estonian and Polish presidents arrived to participate in the events. The Lithuanian Council signed the Independence Act on Feb. 16 of 1918, while the day of Restoration of Independence is celebrated on March 11, the day when independence was restored in 1990.
The Kaunas District Court convicted a former militia officer for deporting a Lithuanian resident to Siberia in 1949. The court sentenced Zigmantas Dubosas, 79, and obliged him to remain at home from 22 p. m to 6 a. m., as well as prohibiting him to visit certain public places, Lithuanian press reported on Feb. 15. It was proven that former Soviet officer Dubosas participated in detaining a 26-year-old woman who was later exiled to Siberia. The victim returned to Lithuania and testified in the case, while the suspect pleaded guilty. Over 30,000 families were exiled from Lithuania by the Soviet authorities.
The Court of Appeals decided that a district court has to re-review a case involving a 3 million euro (10.3 million litas) suit filed by a Lithuanian resident against Germany over a house bombed during a German air raid in 1941. The appeal court ruled that the lower court had unduly applied the norms of legal proceedings that regulate jurisdiction in the international civil process, and therefore came to an erroneous decision on the subject of admitting the suit.
A bypass to the Kazokiskes dumpster will open in 2009, Vilnius mayor Juozas Imbrasas promised. Vilnius' city council allowed the company responsible for maintenance of the dumpster to privatize the land where the bypass will be constructed. The Kazotiskes dumpster was opened in 2007 despite the protests of local residents, who were not properly informed, according to a preliminary decision of United Nations committee that supervises the implementation of Orhus Convention. Residents were also promised that the bypass will open by July 1, 2008. A 300 litas fine will be paid for each day of delay, and the dumpster will not be opened before the construction of the bypass, according to reports.