Latvian state prosecutors Juris Juriss and Aivis Zalužiskis have noted in an interview to the daily Latvijas Avīze (LA) that the case showed «how the state has been administered since the beginning of the 1990s» and criticised voters for supporting politicians showing high respect to criminally charged persons.
Latvian Prosecutor General’s office is accusing Lembergs of taking especially large bribes, legalising property and funds acquired in a criminal way, forgery while at official position, participating in property deals that he has been banned from taking part in due to the position, as well as of using official position in bad faith and other crimes.
As the situation has been described by LA, Prosecutor General’s Office filed the case to court in August 2008 and currently the case is written 220 court document volumes. The most difficult part in court investigation – hearing of witnesses and verification of written evidence – is complete and the judgement will be most probably delivered in 2017.
«This criminal case uncovered to us, how the state has been administered since the beginning of the 1990s. When the judgment comes into effect, the public will also learn this in more detail,» evaluates Zalužinskis in the interview with LA.
Both prosecutors reflect upon, what they see on TV, how the accused takes part in making decisions on issues significant to the state. «In Latvia, a person facing serious charges peacefully enjoys the highest respect among certain politicians, while people turn away from accused persons. Why is nobody running to shake hands with someone charged with sexually abusing minors?» ponders Juriss.
Zalužinskis notes that unfortunately it seems that a large part of the public is indifferent about the issue of the future of the country. To his mind, such a conclusion can be drawn if voters elect people, who in the national parliament, sit at the same table with people charged with very serious crimes, including using official position in bad faith and making decisions in their property interest on behalf of the state or local government.
In addition, such practice is represented to the public as acceptable, at least from the point of view of ethics.
Juriss is convinced that it should be self-evident that each branch of state power should trust each other, respecting its role in a democratic state and not demonstrate nihilism with one’s actions.
Answering a question if the case of Lembergs and persons close to him has been a challenge in the carriers of Juriss and Zalužinskis, the prosecutors say: «We haven’t worked on any other serious crime case for such a long time. To an extent, it is a challenge to the whole judicial system – is it capable of launching such cases and bringing them to a legal result. At least nine prosecutors have been involved in the pre-trial investigation of the criminal proceedings, apart from senior prosecutors».