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The Parliament of Lithuania has recently adopted a Law on the Extension of the Statute of Limitations. This problem was frequently discussed in press and among the public when one case or other was dismissed due to the Statute of Limitations. According to Article 95 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Lithuania of 2000, the period of limitation was two years in the event of commission of a criminal offence, five years in the event of a minor crime, eight years in the event of a less serious crime, ten years in the event of a serious crime, fifteen years in the event of a grave crime, and twenty years in the event of commission of the crime of murder The Law of June 15, 2010 establishes the following extensions to the periods of limitation: three years for a criminal offence, eight years for a minor crime, twelve years for a less serious crime, fifteen years for a serious crime, twenty five years for a grave crime, and thirty years for murder. The article touches upon the problems of application of the provisions of the Statute of Limitations in the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Republic of Lithuania. According to Article 95, the sentence of conviction shouldn’t be passed if conditions of the Statute of Limitations occur. However, acquittal sentence should be possible in this case. It is normal. A person has a right to defend themselves. However, sentence should be passed just after hearing the case according to the provisions of Code of Criminal Procedure. But Article 3 provides for that the procedure shouldn’t be opened in case of appearance of terms of limitation. The above-mentioned provision explains it this way: criminal procedure should be closed immediately after coming to terms with limitation.So the court applies the provision of the law. This provision makes it difficult to seek acquittal in particular cases. Terms of limitation in different cases occur in various stages of criminal procedure: in pre-trial procedure, and in court hearing. The author explores the situation arising in cases when terms of limitation occur in pre-trial investigation. The author criticizes the provisions of the law allowing the prosecutor to close the case due to the terms of limitation. Terms of limitation are bound to the category of offence. There are terms of limitation of different lengths due to the crimes of different severity. The more severe the crime, the longer the term of limitation. However, at the starting stage of investigation it is difficult to precisely qualify the offence. So mistakes can be made, when a more severe crime is qualified as less severe and provisions of the Statute of Limitations are being applied. The author suggests that during court hearings the case judge can decide on the decision, because the decision to close the case during the pre-trial investigation does not conform to the principle of fair trial. The second problem exploited in the article concerns the kind of judgement that the court passes due to the terms of limitation. The problem is that in case of closing the period of limitation, the court passes not a sentence, but another kind of act that is not equal norcomparable to a sentence. Thus, the court is not able to resolve a whole range of questions, for instance, the issue of the civil damage awards. The situation is even worse when a decision to apply the provisions of the Statute of Limitations is taken not by a court, but by a prosecutor. The author has come to the conclusion that only the court should be entitled to decide on applying the provisions of the Statute of Limitations and then pass a sentence comparable to a sentence in case of remission from [...]
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