Lietuva in brief - 2004-03-18

  • 2004-03-18
The Constitutional Court began its inquiry to provide the Seimas (Lithuania's parliament) with expert conclusions on the constitutional grounds of the six accusations in the presidential impeachment trial

The outcome of the impeachment process against Paksas depends heavily upon the decision of the court. The Seimas is planning to hold its decision vote after the conclusions of the court in April.

General Prosecutor Antanas Klimavicius (photo) announced the inception of pre-trial investigations against the daily Respublika for its series of anti-Semitic publications that evoked solemn disapproval in Lithuania and abroad. The series by editor Vitas Tomkus, titled "Who Rules the World," is considered to be discriminatory and racist material, which is according to Lithuanian law is a criminal offence.

The controversial proposal of President Rolandas Paksas to initiate an impeachment trial against Parliamentary Chairman Arturas Paulauskas was presented in the Seimas on March 16. The Parliament is to create a special investigative commission that will conclude upon the essence of the accusations. Paulauskas said that he considers the president's move an act of revenge.

Finance Minister Dalia Grybauskaite participated for the first time in a European Commission's session and informal meetings of EU executive institutions as a commissar from Lithuania. The first joint session of 10 former candidate countries is considered as a sign from Brussels that the countries are already equal members of the European Union.

A Vilnius court began the trial of the infamous French musician Bertrand Cantat, accused of beating his girlfriend, actress Marie Trintignant, to death in Vilnius last year. The trail encountered an immense attention of both local and international media, with journalists lining up in the early hours of the morning for a chance to attend. Bertrand Cantat is facing an imprisonment sentence of five to 15 years.

On March 12 Lithuanian Foreign Minister Antanas Valionis signed the document on the country's accession to the North Atlantic Treat Organization. Lithuanian lawmakers ratified the NATO treaty two days before. The flags of the seven new members of the alliance will be hoisted outside NATO headquarters on April 2.

Zoo animals in the Baltics know no boundaries when it comes to matters of mating it appears. The only Amur tiger living at the Kaunas Zoo will travel next week to Latvia to mate with a female at the Riga Zoo. This type of tiger is listed as endangered in the World Red Book.