Programme Agreement signed for the Justice programme in Lithuania

The programme agreement for Lithuania Justice was signed on 11 February 2020.

Key information about the programme

  1. The programme is operated by: The Central Project Management Agency (CPMA LT).
  2. The Donor Programme Partner in this programme is: The Directorate of Norwegian Correctional Service (KDI NO), National Police Directorate (POD NO), Norwegian Courts Administration (DA NO), and the Norwegian Ministry of Justice and Public Security (NMOJ NO).
  3. The programme objective is: Strengthened rule of law.
  4. The programme funding amounts to €34.4 million (excluding co-financing) and is funded by both the EEA Grants and the Norway Grants.

Why is the programme needed?

The major challenges identified in consultation with stakeholders in this programme area are improving the effectiveness and efficiency of the judicial system, strengthening the rule of law, and reducing domestic violence. Although the judiciary has put in considerable efforts to increase the efficiency of the judicial system, it is still facing challenges. These challenges include prolonged judicial proceedings, deep public distrust, low public awareness about the transparency, objectivity and independence of the judiciary procedures, lack of modern and systematic measures to reduce the workload of the courts, and lack of modern services to provide physical and psychological security in courts.

The Prosecution Service (PS) is an important institution in the Lithuanian justice system. The PS faces challenges related to an adequate response to new forms of criminality, the changing social environment, the necessity to strengthen communication with the public and interaction with pre-trial investigation institutions and courts. There is a need to optimize the use of various IT systems and add new functionalities that would result in a better quality of task performance, efficiency and time-saving.

Domestic violence is another major issue in Lithuanian society, and the extent of it is difficult to measure due to the very high latency of the problem. According to the data of the Registered Events of Police Register, 41 531 reports regarding domestic violence were registered in 2018, on the basis of which 9 529 pre-trial investigations were started eventually (10 968 pre-trial investigations in 2017 and around 9 700 pre-trial investigations in 2016). 8 out of 10 victims of registered reports of domestic violence are women, every sixth victim is a child under 18 years old. Although the number of pre-trial investigations decreased by 13% in 2018, domestic and gender-based violence is still a serious problem (the percentage of pre-trial investigations connected to domestic violence constitutes 17.8% of all pre-trial investigations), which indicates the need to devote more efforts to improve the system in Lithuania helping to prevent and respond to the domestic and gender-based violence.

What will the programme achieve and who are the beneficiaries?

The programme contains five pre-defined projects (PDPs) dedicated to addressing the different challenges laid out above. The first PDP aims to increase the quality, services and infrastructure in Lithuanian courts. The Project Promoter is the National Courts Administration. The outcome of the second PDP is to build up a modern and open prosecution service in the Republic of Lithuania, where the Project Promoter is the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Republic of Lithuania. The third PDP aims to develop a quality-based Lithuanian Correctional Service, addressing needs such as improving the recruitment of correctional staff, increasing the effectiveness of human resources management, fill the gaps of insufficient interventional programs that could be applied in re-socialization and reintegration of inmates. The Project Promoter is the Prison Department under the Ministry of Justice. PDP 4 aims to improve the work quality and enhance competencies of the justice chain to protect victims of domestic and gender-based violence. The Project Promoter is the Police Department under the Ministry of the Interior. The fifth PDP aims to enhance the Lithuanian and Norwegian police capacities and cross-cooperation by sharing best practices in fighting crime. The Project Promoter is the Police Department under the Ministry of the Interior.

How will the programme strengthen bilateral relations?

The programme shall contribute to strengthening bilateral relations between Lithuania and Norway. Funds earmarked for bilateral relations under the programme can be used for the following activities:

  • Building bilateral relations to undertake cooperation to implement projects with advisory participation of the partner (visits, conferences, seminars, project-related meetings, etc);
  • Exchanging experience, knowledge and best practices between entities in Lithuania and Norway.