Prosecutor general finally found

  • 2010-06-02
  • By Rokas M. Tracevskis

ALMOST PROSECUTOR GENERAL: On May 24, President Dalia Grybauskaite met with Darius Valys and signed a decree appointing him as prosecutor general.

VILNIUS - On Feb. 5, President Dalia Grybauskaite signed the resignation of Prosecutor General Algimantas Valantinas. It took her almost four months to find a new candidate. On May 24, Grybauskaite met with Darius Valys, 37, who is chief prosecutor for the Akmene region, and signed a decree appointing him to be prosecutor general. Grybauskaite said that she has appointed a man from a remote province of Lithuania, expecting that Valys will be an independent personality, not related to any clan of prosecutors or politicians. On May 27, Valys presented himself from the parliament’s rostrum to MPs, who can either approve Grybauskaite’s candidate, or reject him.

Valantinas resigned after a street protest over the so-called pedophilia case. The controversial and nationwide-discussed case was the main reason why nobody was eager to agree to occupy the post of prosecutor general, when Grybauskaite started looking for the new boss of prosecutors. There is general nationwide mistrust of the prosecutors’ activity in that case. On Oct. 5 last year, in this Twin Peaks-style case, Drasius Kedys, who said his young daughter had been the victim of pedophiles, gunned down a Kaunas judge and his daughter’s aunt, both blamed by him of pedophiliac orgies. Kedys himself was found dead in April this year. According to prosecutors, it took one month for Kedys to do his careful planning and preparation for the October murders.

“Three interrogations of my daughter about the circumstances of sexual abuse (even if, according to law regulations, a child may be interrogated only once), complex forensic psychiatry done with my daughter, forensic psychological expertise with the categorical conclusion that my daughter can properly understand particularly essential circumstances of the case and testify. An increased predisposition to fantasize was not identified. Ten psychologists that participated in interrogations were not able to determine ‘lies’ by the child. However, all this does not mean anything in our legal State,” Kedys wrote in his Web site, where he also placed videos of his daughter’s testimony regarding molestation. The Web site was blocked soon after Oct. 5.

Kedys and his former girlfriend, Laimute Stankunaite, now 23, had a legal battle over their daughter. On May 14 this year, the court in the town of Kedainiai stated that the daughter should be handed over to the custody of Stankunaite, but an angry crowd in Garliava, the small town situated near Kaunas, prevented implementation of the court’s decision until another court suspended the decision regarding Stankunaite’s custody over Kedys’ daughter. The girl remains under the temporary custody of judge Neringa Venckiene, who is the sister of Kedys. She lives in Garliava.

The hearings in the alleged pedophilia case against Stankunaite’s friend, businessman Andrius Usas, will start in Panevezys on June 16. The dominant opinion in Lithuanian society is that the Prosecutor General’s Office is protecting Usas and the elite clan of pedophiles behind him. In one of his numerous interviews, lawyer Aidas Venckus, who is the husband of Venckiene, stated that there are clans of pedophiles in all countries and they usually consist of people “higher than the middle class.” The mysterious death of Kedys, “due to vomiting,” (according to the prosecutors’ version), with a gun (which was used in the killings of Oct. 5) found near the corpse, increased the nation-wide suspicion about a pedophile conspiracy, because usually killers do not carry around the gun with which they committed a murder. The main engine behind the nationwide Kedys-mania was Lithuania’s TV 3 weekly program Akistata, which kept repeating last summer’s interviews with Kedys. “I don’t care if she [Stankunaite] is a prostitute. Everybody can use their own body according to their own will. I have acquaintances with prostitutes. They work to feed their children. However, she [Stankunaite] was selling a child,” Kedys said during the Akistata of May 26. Usas and Stankunaite deny Kedys’ accusations regarding child molestation.

Laima Lavaste, a journalist of the daily Lietuvos Rytas, states that everything started when, in December 2008, Kedys got written confirmation from the Kaunas police office that his child was molested in the house on Kalantos Street in Kaunas, and after three days Kedys got custody of his daughter - the court made its decision based on the police’s written statement. According to Lavaste, the police never visited the house on Kalantos Street, never questioned neighbors and never investigated the case. Raimondas Petrauskas, interim prosecutor general, also said that the police’s action, or rather lack of any action in December 2008, could be the main reason why this story ended with three corpses.

On May 25, Petrauskas and prosecutor Algimantas Kliunka held their press conference during which they emphasized that Kedys is a killer, and tried to diminish the nationwide support for him. In a rather Soviet-era-style event, Kliunka, with shaking hands and shaking voice, read a letter condemning Kedys and the current widespread support for his action. The letter, as Kliunka said, was written by a lady from Joniskis. Such reading was evaluated by an Akistata journalist as a weird performance. Kliunka also stated that if Kedys would not have had a minor car accident on Oct. 5, he would probably have made an attempt to kill Usas as well. Other prosecutors say that Stankunaite could have been shot dead by Kedys as well if not for a car accident during that day of the killings. Now Venckiene demands 2 million litas (579,000 euros) from the Prosecutor General’s Office because of Kliunka’s press conference - prosecutors have no right to comment on a not-yet-finished case in public, according to her. There is a general fear of riots among the Lithuanian elite in case the Panevezys court will acquit Usas.

Such is the atmosphere in the nation, when Valys agreed to occupy the post of prosecutor general. On May 27, he was asked in the parliament what he would do if he would be faced with the upheaval of the Garliava people.
“I would go there. I would talk with them about the consequences of such a protest. We live in a state of law. I think everybody there [in the protest in Garliava] if asked if he would wish for a lynch law on him, would answer ‘no,’” Valys said.
“The impression is not bad,” Andrius Kubilius, prime minister and leader of the ruling Homeland Union - Lithuanian Christian Democrats, said, expressing his opinion about Valys after discussion in the parliament. Algirdas Butkevicius, leader of the opposition Social Democrats, said that “it was a lack of self-confidence” in Valys’ responses. Valys is not very experienced for the work of prosecutor general: although his office in the Akmene region was among the best in Lithuania, it is a very small office - Valys was only in charge of four people there. The parliamentary factions will have their separate meetings with Valys, and later, the parliament will vote regarding his appointment to the post of prosecutor general.