eesti keeles

Press Releases
Open in print mode

The President of the Republic’s comment on Rait Maruste’s article

President of the Republic Arnold Rüütel today, on September 15, 2006, commented on the article “Elections, conscience and responsibility” by Rait Maruste, Judge of the European Court of Human Rights, that was published by the weekly newspaper “Postimees” as follows:

“During the presidential election campaign among the accusations directed towards me in the press an issue of my alleged violation of the oath of conscience has been raised. It is regrettable that also Judge Rait Maruste is magnifying this campaign with his suspicions.

I have already refuted all those accusations as being unfounded, unreasonable and improvable. Today I do the same and reconfirm that I have never been in the service or an agent of a security organisation, or of an intelligence or counterintelligence service of the armed forces of a state which has occupied Estonia, nor have I participated in the persecution or repression of persons because of political beliefs, disloyalty, social class or service in the civil or defence services of the Republic of Estonia. This is the content of the oath of conscience that is stipulated in the Constitution of the Republic of Estonia Implementation Act

The Constitution stipulates also legal basis for the contestation of the oath of conscience. When we adopted the Constitution Estonia we determined itself as a state having a legal system that belongs to the legal culture of continental Europe, and so it is stipulated in our Constitution that the oath of conscience may be contested before the court of justice. It is astonishing that a judge of the European Court of Human Rights who knows well that legal culture and respects the code of ethics for judges calls on newspaper readers and members of the Electoral College to pass judgement on my oath of conscience.

If the discussions on that topic were continued I hope that my right as a citizen to the presumption of innocence would be respected. The UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights stipulates “everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.”

I also believe that in a state that is founded on the principles of justice and law I can get, if necessary, judicial protection when my honour and dignity is being debased.
The former Chairman of the Supreme Court has partially built his article on factual mistakes. Maruste claims, “the incumbent president has positioned himself as a guarantor of the political agreement signed by two political parties and as the honorary chairman of one of the parties.” But it is a well-known fact that I was Honorary Chairman of the Estonian People’s Party in the years 2000-2001 – thus, till I took office as the President and at the same time also resigned from the People’s Party.

I would like to stress that those two parties - the Estonian People’s Party and the Centre Party- have named me the guarantor of their agreement. That document does not have my signature on it, and thus, there is no reason to state that I had positioned myself as guarantor of that agreement. The comparison with Germany used in that article is improper and demagogical; it is an attempt to compare incomparable things.
With his public political attacks against the incumbent head of state Rait Maruste as a judge has created a precedent, which is not a good example to be followed in the current public debate on deliberate politicising of positions that require impartiality.”

Public Relations Department of the Office of the President
Kadriorg, September 15, 2006

© 2006 Office of the President l tel: + 372 631 6202 l fax: + 372 631 6250 l