In a report published today, the Council of Europe’s Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) welcomes the reforms undertaken by Lithuania to prevent corruption among members of parliament, judges and prosecutors, but calls on the authorities to step up efforts especially in the judiciary and in the prosecution service. GRECO concludes that the country has implemented satisfactorily only three of the eleven recommendations contained in its 2014 evaluation report.
On a general note, GRECO underlines the need to significantly strengthen the co-operation between the Chief Official Ethics Commission and the oversight institutions responsible for preventing corruption among parliamentarians, judges and prosecutors.
Concerning parliamentarians, all the recommendations have been partly implemented. While legal amendments have been prepared to enhance transparency of the legislative process and to improve the regulation of lobbying, their adoption is still pending. GRECO considers that it is of the utmost importance to ensure progress in practice with regard to the transparency of committee activities and applying rules for parliamentarians’ engagement with lobbyists and other third parties. More measures are also required to improve supervision and enforcement of the rules regarding declarations of private interests and conflicts of interests as well as to put in place efficient internal mechanisms promoting integrity in the Seimas.
As far as judges are concerned, GRECO notes positive developments such as the approval of standards on the quality of judicial decisions and the organisation of relevant training, improved communication with the public, as well as increased judges’ awareness on ethical issues and conflicts of interest. However, it regrets that no steps have been taken to strengthen the independence and the role of the Selection Commission of Candidates to Judicial Offices and to consolidate the procedure for appealing against the Commission’s decisions.
Finally, as regards prosecutors, GRECO welcomes the measures taken to improve the regulatory framework on communication between the prosecution service and the public and its implementation in practice. Other achievements include the approval and publication of a practical guide to the Code of Ethics of Prosecutors and more targeted training efforts, based on the feedback received from prosecutors. More needs to be done to strengthen the role of the selection commissions in the recruitment of prosecutors.
(unofficial translation - version as provided by the authorities)