- November 5, 2012
EFHR’s success concerning the issue of throwing Polish tourists out of the church
A few weeks ago the Foundation reported that it had taken legal action on throwing Polish tourists out of the church by the priest Vaidas Vaišvila (for more information visit http://www.efhr.eu/2012/09/25/efhr-podejmuje-dzialania-prawne-w-sprawie-wypedzenia-z-kosciola-polskich-turystow/).
The Foundation turned to the public prosecutor in order to hold the priest criminally liable for discrimination on grounds of nationality under Article 169 of the Penal Code. However, the prosecutor from the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Vilnius refused to open an investigation justifying that the priest’s action does not bear marks of crime.
The prosecutor also pointed out that the application of the Foundation on initiating the investigation procedure is based on unconfirmed events and that there is no objective information needed to take legal action. In addition, the prosecutor stated that there are no grounds for interfering in the internal affairs of the Church, which was a huge astonishment for the Foundation.
Of course the Foundation did not agree with this decision and appealed against it to the Circuit Court of the Vilnius city. The court agreed with the reasoning of the Foundation and has ruled that it is necessary to conduct an investigation into this matter. He criticized the lack of legally required investigation and emphasized that even though the Church operates as an independent community according to its own canons and statutes, the state must intervene if there is a violation of law.
The Foundation is pleased with the ruling and hopes that the priest Vaidas Vaišvila will be subject to criminal prosecution in the near future.
Every person, regardless of status in society, should be held accountable for their illegal actions. EFHR lodges complaints concerning acts violating human rights to law enforcement authorities especially if they fail to fulfil the obligations imposed on them. The Lithuanian state cannot remain just a neutral observer of the increasing level of hatred and contempt for human rights.
Tłumaczenie Milena Jajkowska w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Milena Jajkowska the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.