The commemoration of Janis Skudre (1889 – 1942), the senator of the Latvian Senate and the Chairman of the Judicial Association in his native home “Lejas Meirani” in the Sauka pagasts (rural district) on July 20 attracted many lawyers and local people.

The opening event of the celebration of the 90th anniversary of the Latvian judiciary brought together those belonging to the court system – the present and former Supreme Court senators and judges, judges from the Zemgale and Latgale Regional Courts, the Daugavpils and Jekabpils courts, the Satversmes (Constitutional) Court, representatives from the prosecutor offices and advocacy. They were joined also by the local people, those who care for the cultural heritage, and the representatives from the municipalities in the house of their countryman – the respectable lawyer and honourable man Janis Skudre, the place from where the former senator and his family – his wife Velta and three daughters – were deported to Siberia in 1941.

The priest Aldis Pavlovics from the Sauka evangelistic lutheran church during the service in “Lejas Meirani” expressed hope and belief that the Latvian judiciary sees to that out society is like an alive and green and not a dead branch. The judicial work is especially hard because a judge in the secular life is to a certain extent the God’s deputy on the earth, he listens to people’s tragedies and pain, and a judge has to come to a fair decision, to intrude into the people’s lives and to administer justice. The decisions of judges have to lead to the better therefore they have to be accepted with lightness in soul. The priest expressed gratitude to the Supreme Court judges who donated for the restoration of the Zalve church and to everyone who have made donations for a good cause.

The first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the restored Latvia Gvido Zemribo and the former Deputy Prosecutor General Olgerts Sabanskis also were present at the event, their contribution and determination during the significant period for the Latvian judiciary were remembered with gratitude.

The Chairman of the Satversmes Court Gunars Kutris also spoke about the historical comparison: the Regulation on the Latvian Courts and the Judicial Proceedings adopted in 1918 was short and clear, and what was not included in the 10 articles of the law was solved on the basis of reason. At the present time the life and relations have become more complicated, and the laws are made much more extensive and rather frequently – incomprehensible, however, the society expects concrete, short, clear court judgments. The Chairman of the Satversmes Court expressed respect to the judges who are able to keep up and find time also for other talents in their tense and “matter-of-fact” work. Like the person who arranged this event, the Supreme Court senator Vilnis Vietnieks, who wrote the book “And the Stars Fall in the Lake” the excerpts from which were read by the actor Rihars Rudaks from the Valmiera Drama Theater. The documentary speaks about the senator Janis Skudre of the independent Latvia. It is expected that the story will be completed and published till the 90th anniversary of the Senate in December.

The participants of the commemoration brought a St. John’s Night werath to the Skudre’s memorial site where once grew an oak side by side with four lime-trees which were planted for his wife and three daughters. The senator’s daughters Gaida Skudre and Balva Gutmane now spend their summers in “Lejas Meirani” and cooperate with their countryman, the senator Vilnis Vietnieks who wishes to maintain the historical testimonies. Last year, upon the initiative of the Supreme Court, the Judicial Association and the Sauka municipality a plaque to honour the senator was opened at the house of Skudre.

In 1921 J. Skudre was appointed in the position of the deputy prosecutor of the Latgale Regional Court, from 1922 till 1925 he held the position of the member of the Jelgava Regional Court. In 1925 - 1934 J. Skudre was the Chairman of the Latgale Regional Court. In autumn 1934 J. Skudre was appointed in the position of the senator of the Criminal Cassation Department of the Latvian Senate where he worked till the occupation of Latvia.

The 90th anniversary of the Latvian judiciary will be celebrated this November and December. The Minister of Justice was appointed on November 19, 1918 – already on the second day of the proclamation of the Republic of Latvia. On December 6, 1918, the People’s Council of Latvia adopted “The Provisional Regulation on Courts and Judicial proceedings in Latvia” what was the basis for the establishment of the Latvian judiciary. December 19, 1918, is regarded the day of the establishment of the highest court instance – the Senate – in Latvia.

Information prepared by the Head of the Division of Communication of the Supreme Court Rasma Zvejniece

E-mail: rasma.zvejniece@at.gov.lv, telephone: 7020396, 28652211