The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) decided to open a case against Lithuania over possible violation of the right of freedom of expression, based on a complaint by our client Mindaugas Marcinkevičius.
Lithuanian courts ordered Mindaugas Marcinkevičius to refute his public opinion
Marcinkevičius’ complaint concerns a possible violation of a person’s right to freedom of expression established in Article 10 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (the Convention). Marcinkevičius – a minority shareholder in VP Group – is seeking to prove that such a violation was committed by the Lithuanian courts when they ordered him to refute his publicly expressed opinion about his former business partner, the majority shareholder in VP Group, Nerijus Numas.
The Lithuanian court ruled that part of the statement made by Marcinkevičius could not be considered an opinion, but a statement of facts, which were not accurate. Marcinkevičius was obliged to refute the statement.
ECHR’s ruling to have significant impact on Lithuanian case law
The ECHR will be considering the issue of the distinction between expression of an opinion and statement of a fact, as well as whether the obligation to refute the opinion complies with the Convention. The court ruling on this matter will be largely important for Lithuanian case law.
Partner Kęstutis Švirinas, who is representing the client, comments: “We hope that this case will answer a question which is very relevant for Lithuanian courts – what are the criteria to be applied when distinguishing statement of facts from expression of subjective personal opinions?”