Law on the Approval, Entry into Force and Implementation of the Code of Conduct for State Politicians


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OFFICIAL TRANSLATION
 
REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA
law on the approval, entry into force and implementation of the code of conduct for state politicians
 
19 September 2006 No X-816 Vilnius
 
Article 1. Approval of the Code of Conduct for State Politicians of the Republic of Lithuania
The Seimas hereby approves the Code of Conduct for State Politicians of the Republic of Lithuania.
 
Article 2. Entry into Force of the Code of Conduct for State Politicians of the Republic of Lithuania
The Code of Conduct for State Politicians of the Republic of Lithuania shall come into force on 1 October 2006.
 
Article 3. Implementation of the Code of Conduct for State Politicians of the Republic of Lithuania
1. Municipal councils, until 30 September 2006, shall set up commissions specified in subparagraph 2 of paragraph 1 of Article 6 of this Code and approve legal acts required for the implementation of this Code at municipal councils.
2. The Government of the Republic of Lithuania, until 30 September 2006, on the recommendation of the Chief Commission of Official Ethics, shall approve the Regulations of the Register of Private Interests of Politicians.
 
I promulgate this Law passed by the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania.
 
 
 
 
PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC                                                 VALDAS ADAMKUS
 
APPROVED
by Law No X-816
of 19 September 2006
 
 
REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA
CODE OF CONDUCT FOR STATE POLITICIANS
 
Article 1. Purpose and Tasks of the Code
1. The Code of Conduct for State Politicians of the Republic of Lithuania (hereinafter – the Code) has the objective of implementing the constitutional principle that state institutions have to serve the people, developing democratic management, increasing confidence of the society in state and municipal institutions and promoting responsibility of state politicians and candidates for state politicians for their actions and accountability to the public.  
2. This Code shall regulate the basics of principles and requirements in respect of the conduct of state politicians in public life and also the measures ensuring the control of the conduct of politicians and liability for violating the provisions of this Code.
3. Other laws and legal acts of the Republic of Lithuania that regulate the activities of institutions in which state politicians hold office may set other requirements in respect of the conduct of state politicians provided they do not contravene with the principles of the conduct of state politicians laid down in this Code.
 
Article 2. Definitions
1. “State politicians” shall mean persons who are elected, in accordance with the procedure set forth by laws, as Member of the Seimas, President of the Republic, Member of the European Parliament, member of a municipal council or mayor of a municipality or appointed as Member of the Government or a deputy mayor of a municipality.
2. “Candidates for the office of state politicians” shall mean persons who are registered, in accordance with the procedure set forth by laws, as candidates for Member of the Seimas, President of the Republic, Member of the European Parliament or member of a municipal council.
3. “Persons closely related to a state politician or a candidate for the office of state politicians” shall be a state politician’s or a candidate’s for the office of state politicians:
1) parents (adoptive parents), children (adopted children);
2) brothers and sisters;
3) grandparents and grandchildren;
4) spouse;
5) cohabitant;
6) partner provided partnership has been registered in accordance with the procedure set forth by laws.
4. “Private life” shall mean personal, home and domestic life, and intimate life of a state politician as well as his activities not related with the duties of a state politician, political activities or the institution in which he holds office.  The conduct or personal features of a state politician that are related to certain circumstances of his private life and that are likely to have influence over public interests shall not be considered private life.
5. “Private interests” shall mean pecuniary or non-pecuniary interest of a state politician, a candidate for the office of state politicians and/or persons closely related to them, which may influence the decisions made by the state politician and/or his political activities.
6. “Political activities” shall mean a state politician’s actions, conduct and participation in the activities of representative and executive institutions during his tenure.  
7. “Public interests” shall mean a public interest that in public life a politician would act in compliance with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania and its legal acts and would take decisions only for the benefit of the state, a municipality and the society.
8. “Public life” shall mean a state politician’s political activities as well as a state politician’s conduct not related to his private life.  
 
Article 3. Application of the Code
1. This Code shall apply to state politicians, except for the President of the Republic and Members of the European Parliament.
2. This Code shall apply to Members of the European Parliament to the extent their conduct is not regulated by legal acts adopted by the European Parliament and laws and other legal acts of the Republic of Lithuania. 
3. This Code shall apply to candidates for the office of state politicians to the extent they have to declare their private interests, as established by law. 
4. This Code shall also apply to Chairmen and Deputy Chairmen of parliamentary parties.
 
Article 4. Principles of Conduct of State Politicians
In public life, a state politician shall adhere to the following principles of conduct:
 
1) respect for an individual person and the state  - shall respect and ensure fundamental human rights and freedoms, act in compliance with the Constitution and legal acts, and increase confidence in the state and its institutions;
2) justice – shall equally serve all the people irrespective of their nationality, race, gender, language, origin, social status, education, religious beliefs, political views, age and any other differences;
3) honesty – shall perform his duties honestly and adhere to the highest standards of conduct, and avoid situations that may influence taking the decisions that may raise doubts in the society;
4) transparency and publicity – when taking decisions, shall not raise doubts as to honesty, reveal the motives of his conduct and decisions to the society, always upkeep to the principles of openness and publicity, except for the cases  specified by laws restricting the disclosure of information, and declare his private interests;
5) decency – shall act properly according to the office held, avoid situations when the politician’s conduct could damage his, or the institution’s in which he holds office, reputation and standing, avoid unfair ways of seeking advantage, and use the received official information only for performing his duties and  shall not make profit from it;  
6) exemplariness – shall act properly in the public and adhere to the universally accepted norms of morality, morals and ethics;
7) selflessness – shall serve the state and the public interests, avoid any apparent or real conflict of public and private interests,  and, in the event of such conflict, undertake all the required measures to resolve them promptly and make them coincide with the public interests, and shall not use his post or position seeking to influence the decision to be taken by another person, which might be beneficial for the politician or a person closely related to him; 
8) impartiality – shall not have contractual or any other relations which could hinder proper fulfilment of the duties of a state politician and would restrict his freedom of self-determination when taking decisions and shall be objective when taking decisions and avoid prejudices;
9) responsibility – shall bear responsibility for his conduct in public life, the decisions taken and account for them to the public.
 
Article 5. Declaration of Private Interests by State Politicians and Candidates for the Office of State Politicians
1. State politicians shall declare their private interests in accordance with the procedure set forth by the laws and other legal acts.
2. Candidates for the office of state politicians shall declare their private interests in accordance with the procedure set forth by laws on elections by submitting declarations of private interests to the Central Electoral Committee. The declarations data shall be public and announced in accordance with the procedure set forth by the Central Electoral Committee.
3. Private interests of state politicians shall be registered in the Register of Private Interests of Politicians.
 
Article 6. Entities of State Politicians’ Conduct Control
1. The investigation of a state politician’s conduct, which violates the principles and provisions of the conduct of state politicians established by this Code, shall be carried out by a commission set up in the institution in which the state politician holds office in accordance with the procedure set forth by laws regulating its activities and other legal acts (hereinafter – the Commission):
1) in the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania and in the Government of the Republic of Lithuania – the Seimas Commission for Ethics and Procedures;
2) in the municipal councils – commissions for ethics, set up upon the decision of municipal councils, consisting of members of a council and representatives of local communities.     
2. The investigation of the conduct, which violates the principles and provisions of the conduct of state politicians established by this Code, of Chairmen and Deputy Chairmen of parliamentary parties who are not members of the Seimas or municipal councils or are not appointed as Member of the Government shall be carried out by the Chief Commission of Official Ethics.
3. Pursuant to this Code, the procedure for work and decision-making of the commissions specified in paragraph 1 of this Article shall be established by laws and other legal acts regulating the activities of institutions, which set them up.
 
Article 7. Investigation of the Conduct of State Politicians
1. The investigation of the conduct of a state politician in the Commission can be initiated provided at least one of the following grounds exists:  
1) a complaint, application or notification (hereinafter referred to as “the complaint”) filed by a natural or legal person about a violation allegedly committed by a politician (hereinafter referred to as “the violation”) of principles and provisions of the conduct of state politicians established by this Code or requirements for a state politician set in legal acts regulating the activities of an institution in which the politician holds office;
2) sound information published in the media about a violation allegedly committed by a state politician.
2. The investigation of a state politician’s conduct shall be initiated within 10 days from arising of the grounds specified in paragraph 1 of this Article. The Commission shall investigate potential violations provided less than a year has passed since their commitment.  Anonymous complaints shall not be investigated. The Commission’s investigation of the violation shall be completed within 30 days since the beginning of the investigation. The period of a state politician’s temporary incapacity or leave and the period when a politician is on a business trip shall not be included in this period. Where necessary, the Commission shall extend the investigation time limit set in this paragraph but not longer than for a period of two months.
3. When carrying out the investigation, the Commission shall have the right:
1) to question a state politician whose conduct is under investigation, as well as other persons related to the state politician’s conduct or his political activities;
2) to question the author of the complaint and to find out about the information known to him about a violation, allegedly committed by the state politician, of principles and provisions of the conduct of state politicians established by this Code or requirements for a state politician set in legal acts regulating the activities of the institution in which the politician holds office;
3) to get access to the required documents in accordance with the procedure set forth by laws and receive their transcripts (copies) and other information necessary for the investigation;
4) where necessary, to visit the place of incident;
5) to use the services of specialists.
4. When carrying out the investigation, the members of the Commission shall:
1) act in compliance with the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, laws other legal acts of the Republic of Lithuania;
2) maintain the secrecy of the data or information which they have obtained in the course of an investigation, where such data or information comprise a state, commercial, bank, official or any other secret which is protected by law;
3) not use the data or information specified in subparagraph 2 of this paragraph for personal benefit or for the benefit of other persons;
4) not reveal to anyone any information about the circumstances of the on-going investigation, the persons related to the investigation and available material until the Commission completes the investigation.
5. The provisions of paragraph 4 of this Article shall apply in respect of the service staff of the Commission and invited specialists. 
6. When carrying out the investigation, members of the Commission, service staff of the Commission and specialists invited by it shall not disturb the work of state institutions, other enterprises, agencies or organisations and shall refrain from preliminary assessments and conclusions until the investigation is completed and the Commission makes its conclusion.
7. Members of the Commission shall be held liable for violation of duties established in this Article in accordance with the procedure set forth by laws.
8. A state politician, whose conduct is under investigation, shall have the right:
1) to submit to the Commission explanations, requests and evidences;
2) upon completion of the investigation, to get access to the material collected in the course of the investigation;
3) to take part in the meetings of the Commission.
9. A state politician who provides explanations to the Commission shall not be forced to give explanations against himself, members of his family or close relatives.
10. Within 3 days since the beginning of the investigation, the Commission shall write a report in a free-form format to inform a state politician about the initiated investigation of his conduct, his rights, submit the available data about the committed violation and request the state politician to submit a written explanation until the date specified in the report.   The Commission shall submit this report to the state politician personally or send it by post.
11. Upon completing the investigation, the Commission shall, within 5 working days from completing the investigation, at its meeting assess the data collected in the course of the investigation and take decisions specified in Article 9 of this Code.  The state politician shall be informed about the venue and date of the Commission’s meeting not later than 5 days prior to the meeting.  Failure to appear to the Commission’s meeting or to provide explanations shall not preclude the Commission from taking the decision.
12. The decisions taken by the Commission shall be final and not subject to appeal. Repeated complaints about a violation allegedly committed by a state politician shall not be investigated except for the cases when new circumstances, which were not and could not have been known during the investigation already carried out, are specified in the received complaint and therefore the decision taken by the Commission is potentially incorrect.   The Commission shall decide on the necessity to carry out a repeated investigation within 10 days from the receipt of the complaint.  Where the Commission decide to initiated a repeated investigation, it shall be carried out in accordance with the procedures established in this Article.
13. After each meeting of the Commission, an announcement to the media may be made. A written or oral announcement shall be presented only be the Chairman of the Commission or a member of the Commission authorised by it and only such which the Commission authorised to present.
14. The Chairman of the Commission, or a member of the Commission authorised by it, shall present the information about the decisions of the Commission to the media.  Members of the Commission who have expressed a separate opinion concerning the conclusions of the investigation shall have the right to inform about it.
 
Article 8. Activities of the Chief Commission of Official Ethics
The Chief Commission of Official Ethics shall:
1) upon the request of entities of state politicians’ conduct control, state politicians or on its own initiative provide methodological assistance concerning the implementation of the provisions of this Code;
2) upon receiving the data about a violation committed by a state politician, transfer this information for investigation to appropriate entities of state politicians’ conduct control.
3) follow the information published in the media about the conduct of state politicians and, in case there are sound data that a state politician has committed a violation, transfer this information for investigation to appropriate entities of state politicians’ conduct control;
4) carry out the investigation of the conduct of Chairmen and Deputy Chairmen of parliamentary parties who are not members of the Seimas or municipal councils or are not appointed as Member of the Government in accordance with the procedure set forth in Article 7 of this Code.
 
Article 9. Decisions of the Commission
1.  Upon completing the investigation of the conduct of a state politician, the Commission may take the following decisions:
1) state that a state politician did not violate principles or requirements of the conduct of state politicians established by this Code or by laws and other legal acts regulating the activities of the institution in which the politician holds office;
2) limit itself to consideration at the Commission;
3) state that a state politician violated principles or requirements of the conduct of state politicians established by this Code or by laws and other legal acts regulating the activities of the institution in which the politician holds office;
4) recommend a state politician to conform his conduct or activities to principles or requirements of the conduct of state politicians established by this Code or by laws and other legal acts regulating the activities of the institution in which the politician holds office;
5) recommend to make a public apology;
6) upon suspecting that there are elements of a criminal act, submit the material to pre-trial investigation institutions or the prosecutor’s office.  
2. The Commission may terminate the investigation provided a state politician admitted that his conduct or activities were unethical and incompatible with his office or the institution in which he holds office and made a public apology prior to the completion of the investigation.
3. The Commission shall notify the person who submitted the complaint to the Commission about the investigation carried out and the decision taken and the politician in respect of whom the decision was taken.
4. The decisions taken by the Commission shall be public and published in the supplement Informaciniai pranešimai to the official gazette Valstybės žinios and in the institution’s in which the politician holds office Internet site and information publication, if such is published by the institution.