REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA LAW ON CONCERNING THE APPROVAL OF THE STATUTE OF THE SEIMAS OMBUDSMEN'S OFFICE OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA 1. To approve the Statute of the Seimas Ombudsmen's Office of the Republic of Lithuania (appended). 2. This Law comes into force as of 31 March 1995. I promulgate this Law passed by the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania. Algirdas Brazauskas President of the Republic Vilnius 22 February 1995 No. I-804 Approved by the Republic of Lithuania Law of 22 February 1995 No. I-804 STATUTE OF THE SEIMAS OMBUDSMEN'S OFFICE OF THE REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA I. General Provisions Article 1. The Statute of the Seimas Ombudsmen's Office of the Republic of Lithuania shall regulate the organisational structure, powers and internal order of the Office and establish the guarantees of the Ombudsmen's activities and other guarantees. Article 2. The Seimas Ombudsmen's Office is an independent State institution consisting of the Ombudsmen appointed by the Seimas as well as the personnel which ensures technical, business and financial servicing of the Ombudsmen. Article 3. All the Seimas Ombudsmen shall have equal rights and duties, and each one of them shall act independently when investigating citizens' complaints concerning the abuse of official position or bureaucracy of state or local government officials. Article 4. In their activities the Ombudsmen shall be guided by the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, the Law on the Seimas Ombudsmen, this Statute, other laws, international treaties and agreements. The Ombudsmen shall base their activities on the principles of lawfulness and openness as well as their conscience. Article 5. The Seimas Ombudsmen's Office is a legal person. It shall be financed with the funds from the State Budget. Article 6. The Seimas Ombudsmen's Office shall have its seal with the Lithuanian State emblem and the name "The Seimas Ombudsmen's Office of the Republic of Lithuania" imprinted thereon. The head of the Seimas Ombudsmen's Office shall be responsible for the use and keeping of the seal of the Seimas Ombudsmen's Office. II. The Structure of the Seimas Ombudsmen's Office Article 7. The Seimas Ombudsmen's Office shall comprise the Ombudsmen, the Board of the Seimas Ombudsmen's Office, assistants of the Ombudsmen, departments and other structural divisions approved by the Board of the Seimas Ombudsmen's Office. The Seimas Ombudsmen's Office shall be directed by the head of the Seimas Ombudsmen's Office. Article 8. The competence of the structural divisions of the Seimas Ombudsmen's Office and the Office employees shall be determined by the rules of the Seimas Ombudsmen's Office approved by the Board of the Seimas Ombudsmen's Office. III. Spheres and Objects of Investigation of the Seimas Ombudsmen Article 9. The Ombudsmen of the Republic of Lithuania shall investigate citizens' complaints concerning the abuse of official position or bureaucracy of officials of State and local government institutions as well as military institutions and institutions equated to them. Equated to military institutions are the Ministry of Internal Affairs, State Security Department and institutions subordinate to them. The division of spheres of action by the Ombudsmen investigating citizens' complaints concerning State and local government institutions shall be approved by the Board of the Seimas Ombudsmen's Office. Article 10. When referring a complaint over to another Ombudsman for investigation on the grounds specified in Article 7 of the Law, the head of the Seimas Ombudsmen's Office shall first of all refer it over to another Ombudsman who investigates complaints of the same category, and in case he is not in the position to investigate it - to any other Ombudsman. Article 11. On the instructions of the Ombudsmen, individual actions may be performed by their respective assistants. IV. Guarantees of the Ombudsmen's Activities and other Guarantees Article 12. When performing his duties, the Ombudsman shall have the right to: 1) request that information, documents and material required for the discharge of his functions be presented without delay, as well as familiarise himself with documents which are deemed confidential and constitute a State secret. As necessary, for the implementation of the right the assistance of police officers shall be enlisted and an appropriate act concerning the seizure of documents shall be drawn up; 2) enter the premises of controlled institutions, organisations. The territory and premises of military institutions and institutions equated to them shall be entered with the officers of the institutions accompanying; 3) request that the officials whose activities are being investigated give a written or oral explanation; 4) take part in the sittings of the Seimas, the Government and local government institutions when issues related to the activities of the Seimas Ombudsmen's Office are being considered; 5) inform the Seimas, the Government or the Council of the appropriate local government of gross violations of law or shortcomings, contradictions or loopholes in laws or other legal acts; and 6) recommend to the Seimas, the Government or other state institutions that laws or other standard acts restricting human rights and freedoms be amended. The assistants of the Ombudsmen who investigate complaints on the instruction of the Ombudsmen shall also have the rights specified in items 1-4 of Par. 1 hereof. Article 13. Without the consent of the Seimas criminal proceedings may not be instituted against an Ombudsman, he may not be arrested or have his freedom restricted in any other way. Article 14. It shall be permitted to enter the Seimas Ombudsman's office or residential premises, to make a search of the premises, as well as to make an inspection, search or seizure in his official vehicle only provided that criminal proceedings have been instituted in accordance with the established procedure. Article 15. The salary of the Ombudsman may not be lower than the average salary of the Supreme Court judge. Article 16. The Ombudsmen shall have social guarantees established by law with regard to the State Controller. Article 17. The powers of the Ombudsman may be terminated only on the grounds provided for by the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and the Law on the Seimas Ombudsmen. V. The Board of the Seimas Ombudsmen's Office Article 18. The Board of the Seimas Ombudsmen's Office shall consist of five Ombudsmen. The Board of the Seimas Ombudsmen's Office shall: 1) consider the most urgent issues of the Ombudsmen's activities and hear out other issues put forward by the Ombudsmen; 2) approve the division of spheres of activity among the Ombudsmen; 3) hear out the reports of departments of the Seimas Ombudsmen's Office on the issues of work organisation; 4) approve the rules of the Seimas Ombudsmen's Office; 5) submit proposals concerning the financing of the Seimas Ombudsmen's Office; 6) approve the structure of the Seimas Ombudsmen's Office, list of staff and the salary coefficients; 7) give material incentives to the employees of the Seimas Ombudsmen's Office; 8) approve annual reports; and 9) send the Ombudsmen and employees of the Seimas Ombudsmen's Office on business trips and to training courses abroad, as well as on business trips or to training courses in Lithuania if the duration of the trip or training period exceeds one month. Article 19. The meetings of the Board shall be presided over by the head of the Seimas Ombudsmen's Office, and, in his absence, by the eldest Ombudsman. The Board of the Seimas Ombudsmen's Office shall issue resolutions on issues within its competence which shall be passed by majority vote of the Board members. The procedure of work of the Seimas Ombudsmen's Office shall be established by rules of the Seimas Ombudsmen's Office. VI. The Head of the Seimas Ombudsmen's Office Article 20. The head of the Seimas Ombudsmen's Office shall be appointed by the Seimas on the recommendation of the Seimas Speaker. Article 21. In addition to his direct functions as the Ombudsman, the head of the Seimas Ombudsmen's Office shall also perform the following functions: 1) convene the meetings of the Board and preside over them; 2) direct the work of the Office and represent the Office; 3) on the recommendation of the Ombudsmen, employ or dismiss from office the assistants of the Ombudsmen; 4) employ or dismiss other employees of the Office; 5) supervise the work of the Office employees and adopt decisions concerning the improvement of work of the Seimas Ombudsmen's Office; 6) determine the salaries of the employees; 7) grant vacations to the Ombudsmen and the Office employees; 8) address issues concerning the improvement of qualifications of the employees, training courses and business trips in Lithuania if the duration thereof is not in excess of one month; 9) present the structure of the Seimas Ombudsmen's Office, the staff list and the salary coefficients to the Board for approval; 10) impose disciplinary penalties on the employees; 11) propose to the Board to fix salary supplements and bonuses for the employees; 12) form provisional work groups of employees for the urgent settlement of certain issues; 13) organise the preparation of annual reports; 14) charge another Ombudsman to temporarily act for the Ombudsman who is incapable of performing his duties by reason of illness, vacations, departure abroad, etc.; and 15) in accordance with the procedure set forth in Article 10 of this Statute, charge another Ombudsman to investigate a certain complaint if the Ombudsman who must investigate the complaint is incapable of investigating it impartially because of relationship by blood or affinity, or any other reasons. Article 22. The head of the Office shall exercise his authority by issuing orders. In the absence of the head of the Office, the eldest Ombudsman shall substitute for him. VII. Complaint Acceptance and Investigation Article 23. The Seimas Ombusdmen shall accept citizens' (natural persons') complaints for investigation, concerning the abuse of official position and bureaucracy of the employees of government and state institutions and military institutions or the institutions having the same status as military institutions, or persons authorised by them, who perform organisational, managerial or administrative functions. The Seimas Ombudsmen shall not investigate the activities of the President of the Republic, the members of the Seimas, the judges of the Constitutional Court, and other courts, as well as the procedural actions of prosecutors, investigators or interrogators, the activities of the Prime Minister, the State Controller and the Government (as collegiate institution) and local government councils and their boards (as collegiate institutions). The Seimas Ombusdmen shall not investigate the complaints arising from legal labour relations and other complaints that are subject to court investigation, and they shall not investigate the validity and legitimacy of court decisions and sentences. Article 24. The complaints shall be lodged in writing. The procedure for the registration and transfer of complaints shall be prescribed by the regulations of the Seimas Seimas Ombudsmen's Office. If complaints are voiced verbally, received by phone or if the Seimas Ombudsmen have established the indications of abuse of office or bureaucracy from the press and other mass media, the Seimas Ombudsmen may start investigation on their on initiative. Article 25. The complaint must state: 1) the addressee _ the Seimas Ombudsman; 2) the complainant's name, surname and address; 3) the name, surname and official position of the officials against whom the complaint is lodged, and their place of employment; 4) the name of the decision against which the complaint is brought and the date of its adoption, or the description of actions against which the complaint is brought, the date and circumstances of the commitment thereof; 5) the complainant's stand; 6) a distinctly phrased application addressed to the Ombudsman; 7) a list of documents attached to the complaint; and 8) the date on which the complaint was drawn up and the signature of the complainant. Complaints must be submitted within 3 months after the commitment of actions against which the complaint is lodged. Complaints lodged after the expiration of this term as well as anonymous complaints shall not be investigated unless the Ombudsman decides otherwise. Article 26. Attached to the complaint may be: 1) a copy of the contested decision; 2) available evidence or the decision thereof; and 3) a list of persons to be questioned as proposed by the complainant, indicating their addresses and circumstances which may be substantiated by each of them. Article 27. The Ombudsman shall refuse to investigate the complaint and return it to the complainant no later that within 7 days, provided: 1) he makes a conclusion that the matter complaint against is insignificant; 2) the complaint is lodged after the expiration of the term prescribed by Article 15 of the Law on the Seimas Ombudsmen of the Republic of Lithuania; 3) the circumstances referred to in the complaint do no qualify for the investigation by the Ombusdmen; 4) the complaint concerning the same matter has already been investigated or is being investigated in court; and 5) a criminal action has been brought against or a preliminary investigation is in progress on the matter against which the complaint is lodged. Article 28. A complaint lodged repeatedly after its investigation shall not be investigated unless the Ombudsman decides otherwise. Article 29. If the complaint is returned to the complainant, grounds for the refusal to investigate it must be specified. In the cases where the complaint is not within the competence of the Seimas Ombudsmen, it must be specified in the refusal to what institution the complainant may address this matter. Non-compliance with the form of complaint prescribed by law or failure to specify the requisites may not serve as the grounds for refusal to investigate the complaint, with the exception of cases where it is impossible to commence investigation due to the lack of facts and the complainant refuses to furnish them. Article 30. When investigating the complaint, the Ombudsman shall be entitled to request that the official whose activities are under investigation give his explanations. Such explanation must be given within the 5 business days. If said explanation is not received, the Seimas Ombudsman shall have the right to address to the senior official (collegiate body), who must either demand and obtain the explanation or give explanations himself within the time limit set by the Seimas Ombudsman. Article 31. Upon the completion of the investigation of the complaint, a statement shall be drawn up, in which the circumstances revealed in the course of investigation, the collected evidence and legal evaluation of the official's activities shall be provided. The statement shall be signed by the Seimas Ombudsman. The head of the office in which investigation was conducted as well as the official whose actions were investigated and the complainant shall be familiarised with the findings of the investigation. Article 32. The complaint must be investigated and the response must be given to complainant within one month from the receipt of complaint. Where necessary, the Seimas Ombudsman may extend the term of investigation for up to one more month and the complainant shall be notified thereof. Article 33. Upon completing the investigation, the Ombudsman shall pass one of the following decisions: 1) to refer the material to investigation agencies if indications of a crime are revealed; 2) to bring a court action and recommend to remove from office the officials guilty of the abuse of their official position and bureaucracy, with the exception of those who are appointed by the President of the Republic or elected by the Seimas, and to propose that moral and material damage caused to the person by reason of the violations committed by the officials be compensated; 3) to bring a court action or to appeal to a superior institution in order to repeal the decision concerning the official's abuse of his official position; 4) to recommend that the departmental collegiate institution, head of the institution in which the investigation is conducted, or the superior institution impose disciplinary penalties on the officials guilty of violations; 5) to bring the fact of negligence in work, non-compliance with laws, or violation of professional ethics or bureaucracy to the attention of the officials concerned; 6) to reject the complaint if the violations indicated therein are not substantiated; 7) to report to the Seimas or President of the Republic about the violations committed by the ministers or other officials accountable to the Seimas or the President of the Republic. VIII. Procedure for the Preparation of Annual Reports Article 34. The preparation of annual reports shall be organised by the head of the Seimas Ombudsmen's Office. The annual report on the activities during the preceding calendar year shall be prepared annually and submitted in writing to the Seimas by 15 March. Article 35. The Seimas Ombudsmen shall prepare and present to the head of the Ombudsmen's Office information about their activities by 1 February. The information received shall be generalised and the draft report shall be prepared, stating in which government and state institutions, municipal Councils and Boards, military and other institutions having similar status the greatest number of violations have been established, what the causes of these violations are, which laws or legal acts encourage abuse of one's official position or bureaucracy, what measures should be taken in order to reduce the number of cases of the abuse or bureaucracy. IX. The Openness of the Activities of the Seimas Ombudsmen Article 36. The Seimas Ombudsmen shall provide information according to the spheres of investigation or with their consent, representative of the Seimas Ombudsmen's Office for public relations and information shall provide information for the press and other mass media about the cases of abuse of office, committed by the officials, or bureaucracy. Information which according to the list of news of the Republic of Lithuania constitutes state secret shall not be divulge to the public. Article 37. The activities of a representative of the Seimas Ombudsmen's Office for public relations and information shall be regulated by the Regulations of the Seimas Ombudsmen's Office. Article 38. A representative of the Seimas Ombudsmen's Office for public relations and information must record the information published in the press, or transmitted by radio and television relative to the activities of the Seimas Ombudsmen and the decisions passed by them, and shall immediately notify the appropriate Seimas Ombudsmen. Article 39. The the Seimas Ombudsmen's Office shall publish an information bulletin.