No. 17




Problems with the draft Law Enforcement Act

  • Väino Linde

    Chairman of the Constitutional Committee of the Riigikogu, Estonian Reform Party

The Riigikogu constitutional committee is of the position that a number of the provisions of the draft Law Enforcement Act, which has passed the first reading in parliament, are in serious conflict with the Constitution of the Republic of Estonia and require correction in the course of further proceedings.

Were this draft act to be adopted in its present form, the existing system of public law and logic of legislation in Estonia would change significantly. In effect, the plan is to lay the foundation for new system of law-enforcement-related law, which in the draft act itself is defined so broadly as to encompass a majority of current public law. At the same time, drafters have not to this point been able to explain what exactly occasioned this fundamental change. The draft legislation talks little about the function of the state in honouring the principles of human dignity when it comes to safeguarding the public order, yet at the same time law enforcement bodies are granted the right to violate the constitutional rights of individuals in a relatively arbitrary fashion. A state governed by the rule of law cannot be characterized by a situation where the fundamental rights of individuals can be restricted on the basis of subjective assessments with the level of intensity that is currently the intent of the draft Law Enforcement Act. Neither is the constitutional committee satisfied with the fact that the draft Law Enforcement Act lacks an implementing act. Without an implementing act it is in fact not clear to anyone to what extent other legislative acts interrelated with the draft Law Enforcement Act will remain in force, and the Riigikogu thus lacks the necessary clarity as to what powers are actually to be given to the executive branch by adopting this given act and how extensive those powers will be.

Full article in Estonian