ITNJ Trustees Diplomatic Outreach Visit to Lithuania

 

Written by Lewis Montague

On 12 April 2016, in a meeting room in the Lithu-anian Parliament building, Sacha Stone, Lewis Montague, and Caleb Skinner, three of the Trustees of the ITNJ, spoke with about 30 people, mostly aspiring litigants with their own personal tragic stories. Sacha, backed up by Caleb, outlined the reasons for the ITNJ, and Lewis outlined the details of procedures in using the ITNJ and the International Prosecution Service (IPS). From that meeting it became quite clear that the ITNJ could not take on all the cases being brought forward in the room. So it was agreed to look first at a landmark case addressing corruption at high levels within the Lithuanian government.

The meeting adjourned and recommenced shortly after in the Press Conference Hall of the Lithu- anian Parliament, where Sacha, Caleb, Lewis, and Lina Helstein, Chapter Chair of the Eastern Europe Chapter of the Committee to Support the ITNJ, sat on the front bench each with a microphone and took questions from the audience, to further clarify what had been agreed in the previous meeting. It was a very productive meeting with great enthusi-asm being shown by members of the audience for everything the ITNJ stood for. The atmosphere pervading the room was quite euphoric in that there was a genuine belief from the participants that something great and positive was happening.

Three main meetings took place, one each day, with other smaller meetings taking place in between, especially in the evenings. At one such meeting, Sacha offered to spearhead a full campaign to raise 300,001 signatures to back the efforts of the ITNJ, coupled with a fundraising exercise. Sacha called on Lina to organize a support team that would work with Sacha to carry out such a campaign.

 

On 13 April 2016, Lina, Sacha, Caleb, and Lewis met with a group of lawyers, which included an active prosecutor and a policewoman. After much discussion with the lawyers, following a speech from Sacha, the questions from the lawyers were intelligent and piercing into the heart of the ITNJ. Lewis once again outlined the procedures for both the ITNJ and the IPS. The consensus of the lawyers was that a small case should be heard first, rather than the landmark case concerning high level gov-ernment corruption. A case of government abuse against an individual would set a wide-ranging precedent for all others suffering similar abuse at the hands of corrupt government officials.

At one point there seemed to be a reluctance to accept that the ITNJ could help their situation. Lewis asked them directly whether their current judiciary system could bring them a satisfactory result — they answered, NO. Then Lewis asked them whether their media in all its forms could bring them a satisfactory result — they answered, NO. Lewis then asked them, so what have they got to lose by going down the route with the ITNJ and IPS. They unanimously agreed that, YES, they should use the ITNJ and IPS. Lewis finished with the question, would they all like to join the Inter-national Prosecution Service and take part in the procedure — a resounding YES was received by the Trustees present.

On 14 April, Lewis and Lina met with two universi-ty law professors in a meeting room in Parliament. The meeting was scheduled for 30 minutes — it lasted two hours. Lina discussed a number of issues first and then Lewis was invited to explain more about the ITNJ and the IPS. After much discussion, the Law Professors confided that their concern was corruption with government officials and the fact that no remedy was available through the Judiciary system. Once they fully understood the remit of the ITNJ and IPS they became very enthusiastic about the concept and agreed wholeheartedly that the only way forward to achieve any form of justice was by “name and shame in the public domain”. They believed that the ITNJ would be a perfect vehicle for achieving that aim and gave their unequivocal support in pursuing such a claim using the ITNJ. They also agreed that the larger government case and the small case should be heard at the same time, and if there could be a connection, then so much the better. Their last words were — how can we help? This was a massive endorsement for the ITNJ, and rounded off a very successful visit to Lithuania by three members of the Board of Trustees.

Originally posted @ The Sovereign Voice

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