President Dalia Grybauskaitė

Presidential Clemency

Pursuant to Article 84 of the Constitution, the President of the Republic grants pardons to convicted persons. It is an individual act of justice with regard to a specific person, which is based on humanity.

The state leader is approached as the last institution of truth and humanity. Combining mercy and justice, the act of pardon alleviates the fate of convicts. A presidential pardon is an exclusive state act. The state leader grants freedom, reduces a custodial sentence or a punishment imposed by a court. Pardon serves justice in one way or another.

The act of pardon is not a document contesting the validity and lawfulness of a court judgement. It is not a legal act. It is, rather, a moral act of attempting to evaluate the personality of a convicted person. The granting of a pardon features efforts to combine justice with mercy so that laws and the interests of society, third parties and aggrieved parties are not violated.

An appeal for pardon may be examined only after the entry into force of a judgement. Before taking a decision, the state leader consults the Pardon Commission. The President is not bound by the Commission's opinion on granting a pardon.

Although murderers and other perpetrators of violent crime can hardly expect to be granted a pardon, laws enable all convicts to appeal for it. Even persons imposed a life sentence may appeal for a pardon. Such convicts may approach the state leader with an appeal for pardon for the first time no sooner than ten years from the commencement of the sentence.

There is no initial selection of appeals for pardon. All appeals received must be examined. Only appeals by third parties are not examined, because convicts must personally approach the President. Appeals that do not meet the requirements for legal documents are not examined either. Prisoners' appeals are sent via the administration of a prison facility, which usually attaches all required documents, such as court judgements, rulings, characteristics, etc.

Letters of intermediaries may be attached to appeals for pardon as well. Members of parliament, public figures and sometimes even neighbours may act as intermediaries. Intermediation is not a deciding factor when taking a decision whether an appeal should be satisfied, but may influence the decision.

Convicts who do not obey the internal regulations of a prison facility will not be granted a pardon. Documents provided by prison facilities show how many penalties or incentives convicts have and how they are characterised.

The number of previous convictions of persons appealing for pardon is an important circumstance as well. Appeals by a convict who has committed a crime only once and by a persistent offender will be treated differently.

The presidential decree includes the following condition: if a person is refused a pardon, he or she may appeal for pardon again no sooner than in six months.

Pardon is granted by a presidential decree which enters into force upon its publication in the Register of Legal Acts.

Last updated 2015.09.14 11:00