The 27 March 2019 decision of the Vilnius Regional Court in the 13 January case is being examined on appeal by the Court of Appeal of Lithuania. The Vilnius Regional Court had convicted individuals for acts prohibited by international law, the killing, mutilation, torture or other inhumane treatment or violation of property rights prohibited by international humanitarian law, or prohibited military action or use of prohibited military means in January 1991.
In the criminal case regarding crimes against humanity and war crimes, 67 persons were convicted by the regional court. Sixty-one appeals were received in the case. The ruling of first instance has been appealed by the convicted and their defending counsel, the prosecutors, the victims and civil plaintiffs.
The Court of Appeal of Lithuania began court hearings on 15 September 2020. The hearing of the case was concluded on 12 November 2020. A total of twelve full-day court hearings took place. It is planned to make a procedural ruling in the case on 15 March 2021.
It will require more time to write a reasoned procedural decision than usual not only because of the very large scope of the case (almost 800 volumes), the number of participants (67 convicted persons, 134 lawyers, etc.), the scope and variety of the facts to be determined in the case, but also due to the issues of application of law which require very complex and detailed analysis. “The prosecution and the defence alike have requested an in-depth review of the case and a reassessment of the factual circumstances of the case,” stated the panel of judges that is examining the case.
Due to the threat of the spread of COVID-19 and the large number of participants in the proceedings, the court heard the case at Mykolas Romeris University. Three spacious halls were allocated to participants in the proceedings, and the last court hearings were in part organised remotely.
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