21 September 2023

Migrant Instrumentalisation: Facts and Fictions

The last two years have seen recurring efforts to introduce the concept of instrumentalisation of migration into EU asylum law on a permanent basis. This post will demonstrate why the ‘instrumentalisation of migration’ is an overly simplified and generalised term that does not capture the complexities of the situation on the ground. Its adoption into EU asylum law thus threatens both to undermine legal certainty and bear far-reaching consequences for the Rule of Law in the EU.

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11 July 2023

Challenging the ‘Post-Soviet’ Label and Colonial Mindsets

The international discourse long depended on the term ‘post-Soviet’ to refer to the 15 sovereign states that emerged and re-emerged from the Soviet Union following its dissolution in 1991. The list includes European and Asian countries with contrasting backgrounds. Rooted in the context of the Cold War, the term fails to capture the crucial ongoing metamorphosis and challenges of these states for the past thirty years. For Lithuania and the Baltic region at least, the NATO Summit in Vilnius in July 2023 is a chance to emphasize the strong European identity and to challenge the deep colonial mindsets, which overlooks Eastern European perspectives in favor of those built in Moscow since the beginning of the 20th century.

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08 May 2023
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World War 2 Memories in Lithuania and Ukraine

On May 8, 2023, Lithuania and Ukraine, along with other European countries, meet the annual anniversaries of the end of World War 2 in Europe in 1945. Meanwhile, Russia holds a national holiday tomorrow on May 9 to commemorate the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany, which is the most important holiday in Russia and became a cult practice for uniting Russians after 2000. The anniversary finds Ukraine in the midst of fighting off present-day Russian aggression. Lithuania finds itself worrying about its defense, dealing with memory incidents and among the biggest supporters of Ukraine. Russia, however, finds itself more isolated than ever and scaling back the celebration: According to Moscow because of expected ‘drone strikes’, but more likely due to ‘fear of popular protests.’ This blog entry takes stock of legal measures by two nations to countervail Russia’s decades-long mnemo-political aggressiveness.

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04 February 2023
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Es war einmal in Straßburg

Ein Märchenbuch für Kinder, in dem gleichgeschlechtliche Beziehungen dargestellt werden, (vorübergehend) aus dem Verkehr zu ziehen und es anschließend als „schädlich für Kinder unter 14 Jahre“ zu kennzeichnen, verstößt gegen das in Art. 10 EMRK gewährleistete Recht auf freie Meinungsäußerung. Dies hat die Große Kammer des Europäischen Gerichtshofs für Menschenrechte (EGMR) in ihrer richtungsweisenden Entscheidung Macatė v. Lithuania festgestellt. Der Gerichtshof betonte außerdem, dass die gleiche und gegenseitige Anerkennung von Personen unterschiedlicher sexueller Orientierungen der gesamten Konvention inhärent ist.

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08 September 2022
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Gorbachev’s Legacy in Lithuania

The last President of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, who oversaw its largely peaceful collapse, passed away last week at the age of 91. Despite the praise from Western leaders, Lithuanian's public view is mostly unaffected by "Gorbamania". Gorbachev's reputation in Lithuania was irreparably damaged by the crackdown of January 13, 1991. After failing to seize control of important institutions in Vilnius, Soviet forces killed 14 individuals and injured hundreds more in a bloody massacre.

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The “Year of Historical Memory” and Mnemonic Constitutionalism in Belarus

On 1st of September 2022, the academic year in all Belarusian schools started with an atypical lesson, on “historic memory” – led in Minsk by none other than the country’s “President” himself, Aliaksandr Łukašenka. There is a constitutional dimension to historical memory in Belarus, which is better grasped through the looking glass of mnemonic constitutionalism.

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23 June 2022
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Governing the Memory of the Present

Putin’s Russia is a global champion of memory laws that fabricate the state’s perennial innocence and glory and make it a criminal offense to diverge from the state-sanctioned historical narratives. The state’s propaganda has also promoted symbols that convey support for or condoning of the Russia’s war, such as the “Z”, “V”, and St. George's ribbon. The emergence of these symbols in the public sphere has put militant democracy provisions existing in many European legal orders into the spotlight, but also propelled lawmakers in some states to adopt new provisions prohibiting the use of such symbols. We discuss the reaction mechanism in Lithuania, Germany, and Poland.

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23 April 2021
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Lithuania’s Two COVID-19 Quarantines

The coronavirus pandemic posed an unprecedented challenge for the Lithuanian society and the decision-makers. Lithuania’s response to the disease was overseen by two different governments - a populist centre-left government in spring 2020 and a liberal-centre-right coalition formed after the 2020 October parliamentary elections. Since Lithuania’s approach to the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic including its legal/constitutional framework has already been addressed, the present analysis will focus on the second quarantine as well as on some overarching issues concerning the rule of law, human rights and good governance.

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14 May 2020
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Lithuania’s Response to COVID-19: Quarantine Through the Prism of Human Rights and the Rule of Law

The COVID-19 outbreak constitutes an unprecedented challenge in the history of independent Lithuania, which in its 1992 Constitution embedded a broad list of human rights and freedoms. It seems that so far the emergency powers have been used proportionately and in a time-limited manner, albeit some concerns regarding human rights and the rule of law remain. While it is understandable that the pandemic required a quick response, more attention from the Lithuanian decision-makers on fundamental rights and the required balancing would have been welcome.

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26 March 2019

Lithuania Introduces Individual Constitutional Complaint

On 21 March 2019, the draft constitutional amendment introducing individual constitutional complaint to the Lithuanian legal system passed the second vote in the Parliament of Lithuania (Seimas) and was finally adopted. As of 1 September 2019, individuals (natural and legal persons) will have the right to directly apply to the Constitutional Court of Lithuania claiming that a law or other legal act of the Parliament, the President, or the Government are not in line with the Constitution and is breaching their rights.

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09 June 2018

Lithuania and Romania Complicit for Hosting CIA “Black Sites”

On 31 May 2018, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) confirmed in two simultaneously published judgments, Abu Zubaydah v. Lithuania and Al Nashiri v. Romania, that Lithuania and Romania were involved in the running of secret detention facilities of the CIA, so-called “black sites”, on their territories as well as their “complicity” in the execution of CIA’s secret extraordinary rendition programme for suspected terrorists.

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