• August 28, 2014
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It does not matter ”whether” to remove Polish plates but ”how” to do it

Although the court recquires to remove the plates with Polish street names, it is unable to explain how the administrators of the Vilnius Region’s local government can actually do it without violating the right to inviolability of private possession.

Vilnius Regional Administrative Court has received another negative decision regarding Polish plates within the Vilnius Region.

The reason for refusing any explanation seems formal in nature. The court questioned the ”whether” expression included in the application and averted the document. The explanation of avertion holds that if ”how” had been used instead of ”whether”, the application would have been examined and the judicial council would have been able to make a decision.
”After having examined the application, the judcial council of the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court decided that, by appealing for explanation of the  Vilnius Regional Administrative Court’s verdict from 24th November 2010, the director of the Administration of the Vilnius Region Local Government did not want to have the content of the verdict verbally explained but, instead, she doubted whether it was her obligation to fulfil the court’s recquirements”- holds the Thursday (28th August) statement of the  Vilnius Regional Administrative Court.

In the legal terminology it means that the director Administration of the Vilnius Region Local Government Lucyna Kotłowska, when appealing to the  court for explaining the verdict from 2010, instead of asking ”how” she was to meet the recquirements without sufficient legal means, she asked the judicial council ”if” she is to do it.

It is also stated in the Thursday document that the court would have examined Kotłowska’s arguments concerning her inability to meet the recquirements of the court regarding the removal of Polish plates if only she had appealed for changing the mode of executing the verdict.
”However, the director of Administration of Vilnius Region Local Government did not ask for it, moreover, the arguments concerning her inability to fulfil the verdict’s content suggested by her are meaningless according to the law, hence the application was averted due to the lack of justification”- the Vilnius court decided.

Director of administration Lucyna Kotłowska has appealed to the court with regard to the verdict from 2010  obligating her to remove bilingual plates with streets names, both in Polish and in Lithuanian, from administrative, public and private buildings and, to replace them with monolingual Lithuanian plates. Adminstration of the local government followed this order mainly in case of public buildings. However, there was a problem with removing Polish plates from the private buildings. Their owners categorically refuse to remove them, since, as they claim, the plates had been placed there for their own money, hence they will not allow for removal. Therefore, the local government’s administration doubts whether, coloquially speaking, they are allowed to remove private possession from private territory. Furthermore, the owners have not participated anyhow in the trial during which the removal had been ordered. This is the actual reason why Kotłowska in her application asked if she was the one to execute the court’s decision in case of private possession, or was it a bailiff legally entitled to execute any decisions of the court?

Nevertheless, according to the Vilnius District’s governmental deputy pressing for the removal of Polish plates from private houses, not law but ”will” is sufficient to make it happen.
”In my opinion, in many cases will is what really matters with regard to removing the plates from the majority of private houses”- said  Rokas Jonikas from the governmental deputy office after the Thursday decision of the court had been announced. He reckons that the removal of these plates is one of the local government administration’s liabilities and, in case of the owners’ objections he advises to appeal for help of the police and bailiffs.
Not only do governmental officials convince the adminisration of the local government to use police violence against those who refuse to remove Polish plates, bu they also eagerly use the bailiffs’ help in terms of executing the fulfilment of decisions in question on the local government’s administrators.

We have already informed our readers about the few-dozen-thousand fine paid to the bailiffs by the former administrator of Soleczniki Region Local Government Bolesław Daszkiewicz for not removing the plates from private houses.
Also his successor on this post- Józef Rybak, is threatened by a fine, which may amount to as much as several hundred thousand lits.

Similar situaion is that of Lucyna Kotłowska against whom the governmental deputy has already submitted two petitions to the court. In both cases the courts have not decided in favour of the Pole. Until today,  the director has not been given any explanation concerning ”whether” or ”how”  she is  supposed to meet the court’s recquirement. Instead, it has been decided ( at the governmental deputy’s application as well) that she is to be penalised with a fine for not obeying two previous decisions of the courts. In the first case, the bailiffs add Kotłowska 10 lits of fine for each day of delay (this amount has already exceeded 2000 lits). In the second case Kotłowska is obliged to pay 6000 lits.

Translated by Katarzyna Piskorz within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.

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