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Submission to the Committee of Ministers: L v. Lithuania

2014 / 04 / 08 Tags:

On 10 December, HRMI together with the Lithuanian Gay League, ILGA-Europe and Transgender Europe submitted the comments to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe regarding the implementation of the L. v. Lithuania case and the general measures recently proposed in the Government’s Action Plan.

The general measures include (i) the elimination of the requirement to lay down gender reassignment conditions and procedures by law and the development of non-legal medical procedures; and (ii) the introduction of simplified procedures for changing entries in official documents, by means of a Law on the Registration of the Civil Acts.

The organizations expressed their concern that the proposal to delete Article 2.27, paragraph 2 of the Civil Code providing for a right, would leave the Lithuanian authorities with no obligation to put in place regulations enabling gender reassignment treatment. Given the hostility towards transgender persons in Lithuanian society, there would be no guarantee that such regulations and medical norms would be developed within a reasonable time, or that they would include coverage of the costs of gender reassignment treatment.

By contrast, the organizations welcomed the proposal for the introduction of simplified procedures for changing entries in official documents, however noting that the adoption of this law would be a first step only.  There would still be the need for subsidiary legislation, and the legal gender recognition will nevertheless remain dependent on the individual first undergoing full gender reassignment treatment.

The submission requested the Committee of Ministers to maintain supervision of the case until all the steps have been fully implemented and to consider monitoring the case under the enhanced supervision procedure.

L. v. Lithuania case concerned  the  failure  to  introduce  implementing  legislation  to  enable  a transsexual person to   undergo   gender-reassignment  surgery   and   change   his   gender identification in official documents. In 2007, the European Court of Human Rights found Lithuania in violation of Article 8 of the Convention and ordered authorities to pass the required subsidiary legislation within three months of the judgment becoming final, and failing that, to pay the applicant €40,000, to finance, at least in part, the necessary surgery abroad. The Lithuanian authorities took the latter route.  Some 12 years after the adoption of the Civil Code, and 6 years after the Court’s judgment, this legislative gap has still not been addressed.

Update

In February 2014, the Department for the Execution the ECtHR Judgments informed the Lithuanian Government‘s Agent that, as proposed in the submission by the HRMI, LGL and others, the Department is currently considering moving L. v Lithuania case to the enhanced supervision procedure. The Department indicated the lack of medical services for transsexuals and a failure to abide to the principle of legal certainty as key problems in the implementation of L. judgment.

On 21 March, 2014 the Government submitted the updated Action Plan which the Committee of Ministers will consider during the June meeting. After considering Government’s proposed measures, it will decide whether to start monitoring the case under the enhanced supervision procedure.

Information from the 2013 report by the Agent of the Lithuanian Government before the EctHR.

Submission is available here.

Government’s Action Plan can be accessed here.

Judgment in L. v. Lithuania case is available here.