RIGA - According to publicly available information, Russia's Investigative Committee has initiated criminal cases and inspections regarding the Latvian law banning display of monuments and memorials glorifying the Soviet army and the dismantling of such memorial sites in various municipalities of Latvia, the Latvian Foreign Ministry informed Tuesday.
The Foreign Ministry warns that the activities of Russia's Investigative Committee may pose risks to Latvia officials who have been involved in dealing with the above matter, including those who are no longer holding positions, especially when traveling outside Latvia.
The Foreign Ministry has officially informed Russia that its efforts of exercising extraterritorial criminal jurisdiction must be regarded as intervention in the domestic affairs of Latvia. Those attempts are at variance with the Charter of the United Nations.
"Latvia categorically objects to Russia’s attempts to exercise its national criminal jurisdiction in the territory of another state. Russia’s legislation is not binding on Latvia as a sovereign and independent state. Measures taken by Latvia are in compliance with international law and the current international situation," the ministry said.
The ministry has called on public officials who have been involved in dealing with the above matter, including those who are no longer holding positions (also elected posts), to carefully consider their need to travel to non-EU and non-NATO countries.
The ministry advises anyone who is considering a travel abroad, including for transit purposes, to evaluate how close the relations and legal cooperation are between the respective country and Russia, as well as the level of human rights protection in that country.
The Foreign Ministry also brings attention to the fact that its capacity of rendering consular assistance in emergency situation abroad can be limited, especially in the countries where Latvia is not represented diplomatically.
As reported, a law banning display of objects glorifying Soviet and Nazi regimes and requiring their removal came into effect in Latvia on June 23 after the Saeima passed it on June 16. According to the law, all objects glorifying totalitarian regimes in Latvia's territory have to be removed by November 15.
The Cabinet of Ministers included 69 monuments in the list, but local governments could also demolish other objects at their own initiative.