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2019.06.20 14:00

Vilnius warns EU over Russia's actions against Lithuanian judges

BNS2019.06.20 14:00

Lithuania warns EU partners over Russia's actions against Lithuanian prosecutors and judges involved in the case of Soviet war crimes and crimes against humanity.

On Thursday in The Hague, Lithuanian Justice Minister Elvinas Jankevičius will present a letter to the EU's judicial cooperation agency Eurojust's President Ladislav Hamran on Russia's ongoing pressure.

In a statement, Jankevičius said Lithuania must closely cooperate with Eurojust "if Russia, in pursuit of unlawful objectives, tries to abuse legal assistance mechanisms".

Last year, the Russian Investigative Committee opened a criminal case against Lithuanian prosecutors who worked on the January 13, 1991 case, and also launched criminal proceedings against Lithuanian judges earlier this year.

Read more: Vilnius calls for EU 'cooperation' after Russia opens case against Lithuanian judges 

In early June in Luxembourg, Lithuania's justice and interior minister warned EU counterparts on Russia's actions.

In March, the Vilnius Regional Court convicted a total of 67 Russian, Belarusian and Ukrainian citizens of war crimes and crimes against humanity but the verdicts since then have been appealed by both the prosecutors and some of those convicted.

The Justice Ministry said active legal cooperation with Russia was sought as part of this case and 289 legal assistance requests were sent but only five of them were partly executed.

Fourteen civilians were killed and hundreds were wounded when the Soviet troops stormed the TV tower and the Radio and Television Committee building in Vilnius in the early hours of January 13, 1991.