Outgoing prosecutor general Lavly Perling said on Monday that the prosecutor's office is independent in its decisions and backed by legal and supervisory safeguards.
Perling was appearing before the Riigikogu's legal affairs committee and responded to interior minister Mart Helme's (EKRE) charge that the office is politically motivated, ETV current affairs show Aktuaalne kaamera reported Monday evening.
The Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) has been vocal in its criticism of the prosecutor's post in the past, particularly what they see as its political nature. Prosecutors general hold five-year terms, which they can be reselected to once a term has finished. Andres Parmas has been proposed as the next incumbent, with Lavly Perling in an acting role since her term officially recently ended.
EKRE members pointed to recent prosecutor's office decisions, including not initiating criminal proceedings against former MEP Indrek Tarand following a scuffle at an EKRE rally a year ago, and what it called a lenient decision in terminating the case against filmmaker and activist Mary Kross, who faced charges of misleading the police.
"The question is … is this political bias, a legal flaw, or is it some kind of basic consensus which some prosecutors think it should be - that's the question, which is it?" said EKRE MP Anti Poolamets.
Legal affairs committee chair Jaanus Karilaid (Centre), however, said that the independence of the prosecutor's office is not in any doubt.
"The prosecution has enough checks and balances to be immune to such political currents," Karilaid said.
Reform Party chair Kaja Kallas said it was reprehensible for those in office to make untrue statements.
"This undermines public confidence in both the government and their institutions and, in the end, undermines the rule of law, which is dangerous," Kallas said.
Editor: Andrew Whyte