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Granting Lithuanian citizenship to Katherine Copely would be in violation of the Constitution

Friday, November 6, Vilnius - In conformity with the Constitution of the Republic of Lituania, the Law on Citizenship of the Republic of Lithuania, and the rulings of the Lithuanian Constitutional Court of 30 December 2003 and of 13 November 2006, which have the power of law, and taking into account the advice of the Citizenship Commission as well as the relevant circumstances and the documents submitted, President Dalia Grybauskaitė has decided not to grant Lithuanian citizenship by way of exception to Katherine Leigh Copely, a national of the United States of America.

 

The Citizenship Commission held two sittings (26 March 2009 and 22 October 2009) to consider whether or not

Katherine Leigh Copely met the requirements for Lithuanian citizenship set out in the Law on Citizenship. Both times the Commission adopted negative decisions and advised the President to refuse Lithuanian citizenship to Katherine Leigh Copely.

 

According to Article 16 of the Law on Citizenship, Lithuanian citizenship may be granted by way of exception to foreign nationals with special merits to the Republic of Lithuania, who have integrated into Lithuanian society and are linked with Lithuania by permanent factual links. These requirements are also applied to athletes.

 

The Constitutional Court stated in its ruling of 30 December 2003 that the activities of a foreign national whereby the person contributed in a substantial way to strengthening the statehood of the Republic of Lithuania and its authority in the international community was to be considered as merits to the state. Such merits have to be sound and relevant so as to give no grounds for doubt.

 

The Constitutional Court Ruling of 13 November 2006 recognized that the provision of the Law on Citizenship, which allowed granting citizenship by way of exception to persons in relation to only public interest or only the promotion of Lithuania through representation, was in conflict with the Constitution.


The President stated that the citizenship of the Republic of Lithuania was a very important constitutional value, stipulating a permanent legal link between a person and the state. The Constitution says that the citizenship of the Republic of Lithuania shall be granted in compliance with the requirements established by the Constitution and the law. The President is bound by the said legal acts and cannot violate them when deciding the granting of Lithuanian citizenship by way of exception.


The granting of Lithuanian citizenship by way of exception to persons who do not comply with at least one requirement set forth in the law would not only be a breach of the Law on Citizenship, but would also violate Article 84 (21) of the Constitution which states that the President of the Republic shall grant Lithuanian citizenship according to the procedure established by law.

 

 

For more information, please contact Indrė Pukanasytė, Advisor to the President, tel. +370-52664126, +370-69842212.

Press Service of the President

  

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