- February 10, 2014
The execution of the Polishness In Vilnius Region will be conducted soon
Last week was the deadline for removing the plates with polish street names from polish houses in Vilnius Region. This Lithuanian court’s verdict was supposed to be carried out by the polish administration director of Šalčininkai District Municipality, Boleslaw Daszkiewicz.
But he didn’t. Instead he was punished by the Lithuanian court with an enormous fine of 40 000 Lithuanian litas.
He didn’t pay though. And that’s why now it’s the bailiffs who will take the responsibility for carrying out the execution of “Lithuanian justice”. They will take all Daszkiewicz’ earnings and wealth to pay off the established fine. Of course they will not forget about covering the costs of their action, which may cost almost as much as the fine. Then they will take care of removing the polish plates – they will tear them off the houses, heedless of the fact if they are private properties on private possessions or not.
If any of the homeowners dares to act in defence of their property, the bailiffs will certainly not hesitate to use violence against them. The recent example of the storming of the Kedys family’s house proves that in order to enforce the court’s verdict the bailiffs are prone to call anti terrorist force even against a vulnerable child.
And as we have already mentioned above, the court’s statement about the polish plates is one of the Lithuanian legislative absurdities for several reasons. First of all, these possessions’ owners who put the plates on their houses were not the side of the judicial proceeding. And as the European Foundation of Human Rights noticed in their comments of this matter, the court can punish only those who were a party to the suit.
“Only such people should carry out the court’s verdict and submit to the bailiff. At the same time the court’s verdict does not refer to those who were not a party to the suit. Such people are not legally obliged to conduct such a verdict” – we can read in the Foundation’s clarification of the matter.
Meanwhile, the Lithuanian official interpret the law in their own way. According to the representative of the court in the Vilnius District (the same one who filed a lawsuit against the polish plates), the matter of naming the streets is prerogative for the country and inhabitants must submit to it.
This statement clashes a bit with the government’s ruling from the past, which said that the plates with the street names should be placed in the crossroads and on the street’s beginnings and ends – on the special posts.
And as a matter of fact it’s the administration of self-governments who is responsible for carrying out this ruling. Self-government cannot make the homeowners to put the street plates on the wall of their private possessions. But the Lithuanian court wants the clerks to tear the private plates off the houses. What may be the result of it? Well, a fine for destroying a private property.
And that is the other absurdity of this situation. One of the participants of the “patriotic” reality show in Lithuanian television LNK can say something about it. He actually tore one of the plates off the houses in Eišiškės in Šalčininkai District Municipality while being on camera. As a result the court punished the television “patriot” for destroying the private property, which is by the way exactly the same thing that the courts want from Daszkiewicz and Lucyna Kotlowska, the director of the Vilnius District self-government administration, where the situation is as tense as in the Šalčininkai District.
To add insult to injury politics keep on saying that court’s verdicts have to be carried out. They do not offer anything to make the atmosphere better. Moreover, they attribute all polish demands, including the right to have double-named streets and cities, to the next electoral campaign. The chairman of the parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee, Benediktas Juodka, admitted that national minorities in Lithuania don’t have this problem but it’s “only the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania (LLRA)” who take care of escalation of the matter. That way they can allegedly unify their electorate. The Committee Chairman does not bear in mind that from almost half of the year polish demands are actually a part of the governmental programme, not only the points of LLRA programme. It’s the present power, represented by the Member of Parliament Juodka, undertook to accept the Act about National Minorities that was eliminated by the former conservative-liberal government in 2010. According to the previous act polish people could place polish names of the streets on their houses. Today they are being persecuted for that.
Tłumaczenie by Magdalena Kaczmarek w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Magdalena Kaczmarek within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.