The Vilnius City District Court has assigned a financial penalty for bilingual street signs, which are consistent with international law and those in force in Lithuania. This time, the Director of Administration of Vilnius district Municipality, L. Kotłowska, who was handed a penalty of 6000 litas for not carrying out a court’s decision, became a “violator”. However, the record fine still belongs to the Director of Administration of Šalčininkai district Municipality, Bolesław Daszkiewicz, who was ordered to pay 43 000 litas.
The Court’s judgement on the Administration of Vilnius district Municipality, which adjudges the removal of bilingual signs from over 65 streets, came into force on 8 May 2013. Although the court ordered all to carry out its decision within three months, according to the court executive officer, V. Meškauskienė, up until now bilingual street signs in both the Lithuanian and Polish language can be seen on the houses facades. According to the lawyer of the Administration of the Vilnius district view, Jolita Batura, the Director of Administration did everything he could.
As the European Foundation of Human Rights (EFHR) has already informed you (http://en.efhr.eu/2013/11/04/the-case-of-bilingual-street-signs-once-again/), a court’s verdict against the municipality does not apply to the private owners of the buildings. There is no such thing as a court order or a decision of government institutions, which would command the inhabitants to remove non-Lithuanian signs.
This judgement is not a final one because it can be contested within 7 days.
The Foundation would like to remind all that in 2000 Lithuania ratified, without any concerns, the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities. Sadly, it has to be said that the Lithuanian government still does not obey the standards of protection of national minorities set out in the Convention. Further, making improvements to the situation of national minorities remains an urgent issue and one that should be considered a top priority in the political sphere of the country.
Persuading the representatives of national minorities to remove the bilingual street nomenclature on the places largely inhabited by national minorities runs contradictory to European standards, especially to Article 11(3) of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities. It has to be emphasized that bilingual street signs were placed when the law on national minorities was in force.
Tłumaczenie by Beata Kanadys w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Beata Kanadys within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.