At today’s plenary sitting, the Riigikogu passed the Resolutions on releasing the current Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Priit Pikamäe from office and appointing Villu Kõve the new Chief Justice of the Supreme Court as of 4 February.
President of the Republic Kersti Kaljulaid had made a proposal to appoint Villu Kõve to office. She justified the choice by pointing out that, Villu Kõve, a justice of the Supreme Court and the Chairman of the Civil Chamber of the Supreme Court and Doctor of Law, was a lawyer with a very strong academic background and a long -time experience as a judge. Before appointment to the office of justice of the Supreme Court in 2002, he worked as a sworn lawyer, and before that, as an official in the Private Law Department of the Ministry of Justice. He has participated in the preparation and annotation of the majority of legislation regulating civil and commercial law. Villu Kõve has made a significant contribution to the preparation of Estonian lawyers, teaching at universities and supervising several dissertations. He has been chairing the Civil Chamber of the Supreme Court since 2014.
During the debate, Jüri Adams (Estonian Free Party) took the floor and expressed support to Villu Kõve.
65 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of the Resolution of the Riigikogu “Appointment of Villu Kõve to the Office of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court” (796 OE), submitted by the President of the Republic. There was one abstention.
The Riigikogu decided to release Priit Pikamäe from the office of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court at his request as of 4 February, because the Government has appointed him a candidate for the post of Advocate General of the Court of Justice.
The explanatory memorandum notes that, based on subsection 581 (1) of the Courts Act, a judge is not released from the office of judge upon employment in an international court institution, but the authority and service relationship of the judge as a judge of the Republic of Estonia are suspended. Thus, after the end of his term as Advocate General of the Court of Justice, Priit Pikamäe will retain the right to return to the office of justice of the Supreme Court in the event of a vacancy for a justice of the Supreme Court.
61 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of the Resolution of the Riigikogu “Release of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Priit Pikamäe from the Office of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court” (787 OE), submitted by the President of the Republic.
Two Bills passed the second reading:
The Bill on Amendments to the Military Service Act Implementation Act and the Police and Border Guard Act (667 SE), initiated by 34 members of the Riigikogu, is intended to ensure equal treatment in pension schemes to police officers and servicemen whose salary level was lowered at the time of the economic crisis.
The Bill concerns servicemen who retired before 1 April 2013 and police officers who retired before 1 January 2010. The initiators said that the Bill concerned an estimated 1400 Police and Border Guard Board pensioners, and around 660 Defence Forces pensioners.
The Bill on Amendments to the Social Benefits for Disabled Persons Act (663 SE), initiated by the Free Party Faction, is intended to increase the benefits for disabled children. It is intended to raise the benefit to the extent that would meet the actual additional expenses arising from the disability of children, as has been pointed out as a recommendation in the shadow report on the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The Bill provides for doubling the social benefits for children with moderate and severe disabilities, and for tripling the benefit for children with profound disabilities.
During the debate, Jüri Jaanson (Reform Party), Monika Haukanõmm and Andres Herkel (Estonian Free Party) took the floor.
A Bill passed the first reading:
The Bill on Accession to the Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships (791 SE), initiated by the Government, aims to reduce the environmental effect of dismantling of ships and to improve the occupational safety conditions related to such activity. The Convention establishes the environmental protection and occupational safety requirements for the dismantling of ships.
The recycling, or dismantling of ships may have negative effects on both human health and the environment. For example, a ship destined to be processed may contain hazardous substances: asbestos, heavy metals, fossil fuel residues and ozone-depleting substances. Accession to the Convention will also affect the ship recycling facilities where ships of a gross tonnage of 500 and above are dismantled. Shipowners will have the obligation to develop an Inventory of Hazardous Materials and to help state authorities with information on administrative proceedings. Accession to the Convention will also affect the state authorities that are connected with issuing authorisations and environmental permits to businesses engaged in ship recycling, and with the supervision of such businesses. Six countries have ratified the Convention by now.
Video recordings of the sittings of the Riigikogu can be viewed at: https://www.youtube.com/riigikogu
(NB! The recording will be uploaded with a delay.)
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