Vilnius District Court’s 29 May 2017 Ruling on LJC’s Mid-Campaign Election Rule Change




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Vilnius District Court Judge Rima Bražinskienė’s 29 May 2017 ruling, concerning the “official” Lithuanian Jewish Community’s mid-campaign rule change during last spring’s leadership contest, effectively disenfranchising 2,200 Jewish people of Vilnius (the vast majority of Lithuania’s Jews today) in favor of a new voting system granting effective power over the election to a roomful of “oligarchs” (some of whom have two or three votes each, i.e. two or three times as much weight as the 2,200 Jews disenfranchised) is now publicly available.

The following, for the convenience of our readers, is an English translation. Note that in the case of any query arising, the Lithuanian original is alone authoritative.

As readers will recall, this judgment was circumvented by the council of the LJC being called to vote a day before this ruling was issued, on 28 May, in a highly undemocratic scene characterized by massive armed security and the exclusion of members of the community from the community’s building at Pylimo 4. This was a stark contrast with the democratic elections for the Vilnius Jewish Community (VJC) held several days earlier, on 24 May, at Hotel Karolina, which resulted in the LJC website’s infamous antisemitic grade attack on “Russian speakers who claim to be Jewish,” as reported at the time by JTA. As one of the community’s stalwarts, Prof. Pinchos Fridberg, a Holocaust survivor, noted, the author of that diatribe remains unknown as does the question of his or her continued employment as writer for the Jewish community’s official website.


 

  • Civil Case No. e2-27518-545/2017
  • Court Process No. 2-68-3-20933-2017-6
  • Categories of Procedural Decision: 3.1.18.1.1.2.; 3.1.18.3.; 3.2.7.1

DISTRICT COURT OF THE

CITY OF VILNIUS

RULING

29 May 2017, Vilnius

Judge of the District Court of the City of Vilnius Rima Bražinskienė, after a written process of investigation on the request of plaintiff, the Vilnius Jewish Community, to provide provisional safeguards in the civil case on anuling the decision of a legal entity’s governing organ, where the Vilnius Jewish Community is the plaintiff and the Lithuanian Jewish (Litvak) Community is the defendant,

has ascertained that:

Plaintiff, the Vilnius Jewish Community, has filed suit re the Lithuanian Jewish (Litvak) Community in order to annul the motion passed by the Lithuanian Jewish (Litvak) Community’s council’s 19 April 2017 meeting on point no. 4 of the Agenda, which ruled that in the 2017 Lithuanian Jewish (Litvak) Community’s conference, all regional Jewish communities would have one vote (delegate) each.

In order to protect the claim, the plaintiff requests that provisional safeguards would be provided and the power of the motion passed in the Lithuanian Jewish (Litvak) Community’s council’s 19 April 2017 meeting on point no. 4 of the agenda, which ruled that in the 2017 Lithuanian Jewish (Litvak) Community’s conference, all regional Jewish communities have one vote (delegate) each, be suspended.

The plaintiff explained that if members of the council and the chairperson of the Lithuanian Jewish (Litvak) Community were elected by breaching the principle of proportional representation of the regional communities as stated in the statute, the election would be rendered illegal and, in consequence, later decisions, contracts, and other actions entered into by the organs in question would be rendered illegal as well, which could in turn influence the legal status of third pprovidedassumed, no negative consequences would follow.

According to the article 147, part 2 of the Code of Civil Procedure of the Republic of Lithuania (CCP), the request is considered without informing the defendant.

The request is satisfactory.

According to article 144 of the Code of Civil Procedure, at the request of participants in a proceeding or other persons concerned, a court may provide provisional safeguards when omission thereof can impede enforcement of a court judgment or render its fulfillment impossible. Thus, legal norms, by assuring the possibility of providing provisional safeguards, determine the condition and crucial limitation of the provision of the safeguards: provisional safeguards may be assumed when there is a grounded belief that the omission thereof can impede enforcement of a court judgment or render it impossible to fulfill, and when it is necessary for protection of the public interest (Article 144, Parts 1 and 2 of the CCP). Furthermore, the court must abide by the principle of justice when ruling on whether to provide provisional safeguards, which means that any state sanction has to be proportional (adequate) to the violation in question, as well as corresponding to the legal aims in question and not infringing on a person’s or persons’ liberties more than  is necessary in attaining the aim. The practice is formed, among others, by the Supreme Court of Lithuania (ruling of the College of the Civil Case Judges of the Supreme Court of Lithuania on January 21, 2002, on the Case No. 3K-3-146/2002m, “Apatit Ferlizers S.A.” v. AB “Lifosa”; Bulletin No. 17, p. 217-223, etc).

In the case in question, the argument concerns the 19 April 2017 motion passed at the Lithuanian Jewish (Litvak) Community’s council’s 19 April 2017 meeting, which ruled that in the Lithuanian Jewish (Litvak) Community’s conference, all regional Jewish communities have one vote each. Deciding on the assumption of provisional safeguards, the Court takes into account the preliminary validity of the claim. In this case, the Court can see from the documents supplied that the Lithuanian Jewish (Litvak) Community’s statute has a provision for proportional representation of the community members in it. Taking into account the data provided to the Court, the conclusion is reached  that the claim is prima facie grounded, so there are grounds to satisfy the plaintiff’s request and provide provisional safeguards.

According to the article 152, part 1 of the CCP, a court ruling on application of provisional safeguards shall be enforced as soon as possible.

In accordance with Articles 144, 145, Part 1, Point 1, 148, and 151 of the Code of Civil Procedure of the Republic of Lithuania, the Court

rules

to grant the application.

To suspend the power of the motion passed at the Lithuanian Jewish (Litvak) Community’s council’s 19 April 2017 meeting on Point 4 of the Agenda, which ruled that in the 2017 Lithuanian Jewish (Litvak) Community’s conference, all regional Jewish communities would have one vote (delegate) each.

The ruling shall be enforced as soon as possible. Appeals against the ruling shall not interfere with its enforcement.

Appeals against the ruling can be submitted within 7 (seven) work days, counted from the day when a copy of the ruling is received; a separate appeal can be submitted to the Vilnius County Court via the District Court of Vilnius City.

Rima Bražinskienė

Judge


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