The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Märt Rask presented a report to the Riigikogu on courts administration, administration of justice and uniform application of acts. In the words of Rask, the report should be understood as the public form of cooperation of the judicial power with other branches of power in order to develop the principles of the rule of law. The report covers a selection of issues and problems which are topical and need to be resolved in cooperation of legislators, the executive power and courts. The report pointed out that a working group for legislative drafting had been established whose task was to draw up a Courts Bill in conformity with the development principles of the new judicial system. According to initial plans, the Bill should be taken to the legislative proceeding of the Riigikogu next year. A discussion would be necessary in connection with the Bill as to which course the Estonian judicial system should take in order to implement the principles of separation and balance of powers and independence of the judicial system provided for in the Constitution. The report gives an overview of the progress of the proposals submitted last year, court statistics, the proceedings of the budget strategy, the salaries in the judicial system, constitutional review and penal law. Within the framework of the discussions on this issue, comments were presented by Members of the Riigikogu Hanno Pevkur, Ain Seppik, Ken-Marti Vaher and the Minister of Justice Rein Lang.
The Riigikogu passed with 74 votes in favour the Resolution on the use of the Estonian Defence Forces in the performance of the international duties of the Estonian State in the composition of the NATO Response Force (254 OE), submitted by the Government. Pursuant to the Resolution, the Estonian Defence Forces will be used with a team of up to 45 members of the Defence Forces in the composition of NATO Response Force from 1 July 2008 to 30 June 2009, in the military operation, organised for the purpose of maintaining or restoring the peace and security or in any other military operation in compliance with generally recognised practices and principles of international law. Nobody voted against the Resolution and nobody abstained.
The Draft Resolution “Measures for Prevention of Hazards arising from Non-controlled Spread of Genetically Modified Organisms” (256 OE), initiated by the Estonian Green Party Faction, was not passed at the final voting. 31 members of the Riigikogu voted against the Resolution and 51 voted in favour, nobody abstained.
The Minister of Internal Affairs Jüri Pihl addressed the Riigikogu with a political statement in connection with deliberation of the Draft Resolution “Approval of “Main Objectives of Security Policy of Estonia until 2015”” (263 OE), initiated by the Estonian Centre Party Faction, the Estonian Reform Party Faction, the Estonian Green Party Faction, the Estonian People’s Union Faction, the Pro Patria and Res Publica Union Faction and the Social Democratic Party Faction. Pihl noted that a positive and supportive attitude had prevailed in the meetings with parliamentary factions, and concrete amendment proposals had led to a vision which would open a new page in domestic security as a significant national sphere. “The main objectives of security policy have proved that we are not establishing a police state in Estonia today, but a secure state based on the rule of law. It is important not to confuse a police state with a strong and effective police and other structures guaranteeing security of the state. In a democratic society, the police are strong insofar as they secure the rights and freedoms for people, and legal order, and are guided by law, treating everybody equally. In all this, the state must be efficient, decisive and, if necessary, also forceful,” said Pihl.
The Riigikogu passed with 80 votes in favour the Resolution on approval of “Main Objectives of Security Policy of Estonia until 2015” (263 OE), initiated by 6 Factions. According to the Resolution, the Riigikogu deems it necessary to deliberate the main objectives of the security policy of Estonia as a matter of significant national importance. A proposal was made to the Government of the Republic to submit a report on the realisation of the main objectives of security policy, on the basis of the implementation of the internal security development plan, to the Riigikogu each year by 1 March at the latest.
The purpose of approving the main objectives is to define the common principles, the vision, focuses and long-term impact based objectives of security policy, and the guidelines for the activities of the public, the private and non-profit sector which they are to follow and help achieve. At the same time, it is a support to the creation of a modern, common rule of law basis for the public order protection system in Estonia. The relevant system is based on the principle which holds that, as regards securing the internal stability of Estonia and saving and protecting human lives, then prevention and combating of hazards and extensive involvement of citizens in this process will yield much more effective results than penal law measures. Nobody voted against the Resolution and nobody abstained.
On the motion of the Legal Affairs Committee as the leading committee, the second reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Punishment Register Act, the Code of Criminal Procedure, the Code of Civil Procedure, the Code of Civil Procedure and the Code of Enforcement Procedure Implementation Act and the Code of Misdemeanour Procedure (218 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. The purpose of the Bill is to create a legal basis for implementation of the first stage of the e-file system in criminal procedure as of 1 July 2008. The e-file system is a proceeding system which includes information necessary for more than one participant in the proceeding, ensures standardisation of the proceeding information of registers and agencies, rapid and efficient exchange of information and equal access to the information for persons related to the proceeding. The Draft was sent to the third reading.
On the motion of the National Defence Committee as the leading committee, the second reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Establishment of Cause of Death Act (242 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. The purpose of the Bill is to grant to doctors accompanying military missions the authority to issue death certificates in Estonian which would be equal in validity to death certificates issued by family physicians or heads of ambulance crew. The Draft was sent to the third reading.
On the motion of the National Defence Committee as the leading committee, the second reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Defence Forces Service Act (244 SE), initiated by the Government, was concluded. The purpose of the Bill is to harmonise the level of education of members of the Defence Forces of Estonia with the level of education required in the corresponding office by the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member states and European Union member states, to enable officers who have acquired civilian higher education to serve in positions of commanding officer, and to postpone by four years the general term of compliance with the requirements for education as provided by law. The Draft was sent to the third reading.
On the motion of the Finance Committee as the leading committee, the first reading of the Bill on Amendments to § 265¹ of the Securities Market Act (282 SE), initiated by the same Committee, was concluded. The Bill grants investment firms additional preparation time for bringing their activities into conformity with the new capital requirements framework and submitting new reporting forms of prudential norms. The Bill was sent to the second reading.
On the motion of the Finance Committee as the leading committee, the first reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Authorised Public Accountants Act The purpose of the Bill is to bring the Authorised Public Accountants Act into conformity with § 12 of the Constitution and to repeal the provision concerning the age limit of auditors which is in conflict with the principle of equal treatment. The Bill was sent to the second reading.(283 SE), initiated by the same Committee, was concluded.
Due to the end of the working hours of the plenary meeting, the first reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Environmental Impact Assessment and Environmental Management System Act (280 SE), initiated by the Government, was adjourned. The deliberation will be resumed tomorrow, at the sitting beginning at 2 p.m. The proposal of the Estonian Green Party Faction to reject this Bill from the legislative proceeding will be put to a vote.
See the verbatim record of the sitting (in Estonian):
The Riigikogu Press Service
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