Arrest and Pre-Trial Detention in Lithuania (2012)

July 19, 2012

Arrest and pre-trial detention are the most restrictive procedural measures which can be employed during pre-trial investigation phase of criminal proceedings. These measures deprive a person of his/her liberty, in certain cases cause stigmatization, contribute to social exclusion, arrested or detained persons may experience physical and mental harm due to bad custodial conditions, and in some cases, arrests and detentions on remand may violate the presumption of innocence.

HRMI research shows that in Lithuania arrests and detentions on remand are overused. In particular, detention on remand became the main rather than the exceptional procedural measure. Given that the Code of Criminal Procedure allows an extension of the detention on remand for indefinite time, the situations occur when persons complete serving imposed sentences before they are convicted.

Among other findings of the research summarized in the HRMI’s report are:

  • Absence of legal safeguards against the ungrounded imposition of maximum length of arrests – 48 hours; specifically, there is no effective mechanism, which would enable terminating of ungrounded arrests;
  • Rules for seeking compensation for damages caused by arrest or/and detention in courts are overly complicated and inefficient; non-judicial compensatory scheme provide for low level of compensations;
  • Law enforcement officers are often hostile or manipulative towards arrested and detained persons, they fail to properly inform them about their rights, if inform at all.

Findings of the report are based on the analysis of relevant legal regulations, court decisions, statistical data, and interviews with target groups. The standards developed in the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights served as a benchmark for conclusions and recommendations.

An English summary of the report is available here.

See the full report (in Lithuanian) here.