LGL Pleads the Supreme Administrative Court to Deal with the Baltic Pride Case under Accelerated Procedure

On 9 May 2013 Lithuanian Gay League (LGL) submitted a request to the President of the Supreme Court by asking to deal with the Baltic Pride case under accelerated procedure (you can find the full text of the document here). The March for Equality is scheduled on 27 July 2013, i.e. there are less than three months remaining until the actual event. Taken into account the case load of the Court, the LGL is of an opinion that if the case is dealt under ordinary procedure, the judgment in the administrative case might not be delivered until the actual March takes place.

It has to be noted that presumption of legality is particularly important to the participants of assemblies as an expression of the right to freedom of public assembly, i.e. in the course of an ongoing assembly the participants have to know that they are participating in a legal assembly. In the absence of presumption of legality the participants might suffer from the chilling effect, i.e. they might be discouraged from participating in an event. Therefore in the case of Baltic Pride March for Equality, when the actions by the Vilnius City Municipality are challenged before the judicial authority in the course of refusing to agree on the proposed location of the event, the participants of the March might be discouraged from participating in it. In case the final judgment in this administrative case is not being delivered prior to the actual March takes place, the essence of the LGBT* community’s right to freedom of public assembly would be negated as there would be no actual remedy for defending that right.

LGL believes that the necessity to deal with this administrative case under accelerated procedure is increased by the fact that the March has significant social purpose, i.e. it emphasizes the importance of human rights. It seeks to pay public attention to the discrimination of homosexual, bisexual and transsexual individual and to raise public awareness on the issues of sexual orientation and gender identity. It has to be emphasized that the public has been already informed about the March through the mass media channels.

In the request letter the President of the Court was informed about the fact that the Vilnius City Municipality submitted its appeal against the judgment of the first instance on 24 April 2013. However, on 8 May 2013 the administrative case was not yet transferred to the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania from the Vilnius Region Administrative Court. The prolonged transfer period indirectly supports the claim for the application of accelerated judicial procedure.

On 24 April 2013 Vilnius authorities appealed before the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania, indicating that, despite the judgment by the first instance court, the municipal authorities still have the right to propose a location for a public assembly other than demanded by the organizers. The Baltic Pride 2013 will take place on 27 July 2013 in Vilnius, Lithuania.