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Preparatory meeting of the Vilnius Forum of the Constitutional Courts of Georgia, the Republic of Lithuania, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine

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On October 24, 2017 the international conference of the Constitutional Courts of Georgia, Republic of Lithuania, Republic of Moldova and Ukraine, members of the Association of Constitutional Justice of the Countries of the Baltic and Black Sea Regions took place in Vilnius. Judges of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine Mykola Melnyk and Stanislav Shevchuk took part in the preparatory meeting of the Vilnius forum in respect of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine.

President of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania Dainius Žalimas chaired the meeting. In particular, there was a panel discussion “Reflections on the implementation and protection of the principles of the rule of law. Regional challenges”, which was also attended by the representatives of the Eastern Europe Studies Centre.

Within the framework of the forum, the President of the Republic of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaitė met with the President of the Constitutional Court of Georgia Zaza Tavadze, the President of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania Dainius Žalimas, the President of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Moldova Tudor Panţîru, the judge of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine, Chairman of the Standing Commission on International Relations Stanislav Shevchuk and discussed the importance of the development of the law-based state, reform of the legal system, independence of the judicial system and support of Lithuania in strengthening the role of constitutional courts and the democratic processes.

During the meeting, it was noted that the Eastern Partnership countries face the serious problems in ensuring the constitutional independence of the judiciary, sometimes paralysing their work. The President of the Republic of Lithuania stressed the need to ensure the independence of constitutional courts as a safeguard against the danger of legal nihilism of politicians.

The Head of state dwelled upon the importance of the rule of law for democratic countries, as well as the special role of constitutional courts in strengthening the protection of democracy and human rights. According to her, the constitutional courts should be independent and not succumb to political influence. In particular, the President underscored that the Republic of Lithuania has also gone a long way in establishing the rule of law and democracy and is ready to continue sharing its experience with partner countries.

Representatives of the constitutional courts of Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine expressed their interest in applying the experience of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania in the context of strengthening independence of national courts and enhancing their confidence in them. The judge of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine Stanislav Shevchuk thanked the President of the Republic of Lithuania for consistent support of Ukraine in resuming territorial integrity and condemning the aggressor, and informed about the reform of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine.

During the meeting, the reports on the recent constitutional jurisprudence of the participants of the meeting, which prompted a lively discussion, were presented. The program of the event also provides for the participation of representatives of constitutional courts in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania.