Lithuania's Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius has signed the Council of Europe's Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence, also known as the Istanbul Convention, which has drawn controversial reactions in the Baltic states.
Facts – In February 2001 the applicant applied to a district court to bring a private prosecution after allegedly being beaten by her partner on five separate occasions in January and February 2001. In January 2002 the court forwarded her complaint to the public prosecutor, ordering him to start his own pre-trial criminal investigation; the applicant’s partner was then charged with systematically causing the applicant minor bodily harm. The investigation was twice halted by police investigators for lack of evidence, but on each occasion was reopened on appeal on the grounds that it had not been sufficiently thorough. The public prosecutor discontinued the investigation in June 2005 as a legislative reform in May 2003 meant that prosecutions in respect of minor bodily harm now had to be brought by the victim privately unless the case was of public interest or the victim could not protect her rights through a private prosecution. The district court upheld that decision. When the applicant lodged a new request to bring a private prosecution, this was refused without examination of the merits as the prosecution had become time-barred.