25. aprīlis, 2008.
On Friday, April 25, about 200 judges, prosecutors and law specialists participated at the conference “Punishment application policy” organized by the Supreme Court in which the Supreme Court presented extensive study prepared in cooperation with the law specialists on punitive policy implemented by the regional courts as the first instance courts and the Chamber of Criminal Cases of the Supreme Court as the appellate instance. The law experts Andrejs Judins and Valentina Liholaja note that in the last years the practice of application of punishments in the Latvian courts has improved, however, there are still many judgments which vary and are unclear. The goal of the conference was to ensure uniformity in the application of law standards through the discussion of current issues of interpretation of the law standards.
The judges working in work groups “General principles for the determination of punishment”, “Lawfulness and justice in the determination of punishment” and “Determination of punishment after several criminal offences and several judgments” analyzed and discussed the recommendations included in the study. At the closing each of the work groups gave the opinion regarding these suggestions and prepared proposals for further actions. Two of the work groups expressed also proposals for amendments to the legislation.
The next step will be the approval of the recommendations accepted by the conference at the joint session of the Department of Criminal Cases of the Senate and the Chamber of Criminal Cases of the Supreme Court. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Andris Gulans notes: although the decisions of the joint session are not binding but recommending, they are a significant document in the development of a uniform punitive policy.
The further goal is to work out the guidelines for determination of punishment which the judges could follow in their everyday work. Such experience exists in other countries, marked the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
In the study, the Division of Case-law of the Supreme Court in cooperation with judges and law specialists have prepared the most extensive to date summary of the court practice regarding the policy of criminal punishments in application of sentences and other measures of criminal justice in the court practice in 2006 and 2007. Analysis was given regarding the materials of criminal cases in which the regional courts as the first instance courts have declared guilty 409 persons, as well as the decisions of the Chamber of Criminal Cases of the Supreme Court after reviewing appeals and protests, and the rulings of the Department of Criminal Cases of the Senate in relation to the filed cassation complaints and protests.
The summary indicates the general tendencies in the policy of application of criminal punishments, the practice of the interpretation of standards of the General Part of the Criminal Law, as well as the application of law standards inadequate to the goals of criminal punishment. At the conference, the survey on the study was presented by the Doctor of Law Andrejs Judins. Doctor of Law Valentina Liholaja spoke about the problems of application of punishments, the Chief Prosecutor of the Division of criminal cases subject to court trials of the Department of Criminal Law of the Prosecutor General Office Eriks Kalnmeiers discussed the influence of prosecutors on the punitive policy. The report on the development of conception of the policy of criminal punishments was delivered by the Director of the Department of Criminal Law of the Ministry of Justice Indra Gratkovska.
The opinion expressed in the joint session of judges of the Department of Criminal Cases and the Chamber of Criminal Cases of the Supreme Court regarding the issues of interpretation and application of the law standards and the adopted decisions will be published.
Information prepared by
Head of the Division of Communications of the Supreme Court Rasma Zvejniece
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, telephone: 7020396, 28652211