Riigikogu to begin reviewing Estonian Defence Forces law again

Andres Metsoja (Isamaa).
Andres Metsoja (Isamaa). Source: Anna Aurelia Minev/ERR

The National Defence Committee of the Riigikogu will begin reviewing the Estonian Defence Forces Organisation Act again after the Supreme Court of Estonia declared parts of it unconstitutional.

Committee chairman Andres Metsoja (Isamaa) told ERR that he considered it appropriate that the Supreme Court's assessment of the law is now clear.

"Basically it isn't the case that the law is rotten to the core; rather, we need to review the exact part cited by the Supreme Court, i.e. the disclosure of surveillance," Metsoja said.

According to the committee chairman, a joint meeting with the Security Authorities Surveillance Select Committee is scheduled to take place on January 20.

"We're trying to get all parties together around one table to discuss these bottlenecks again, because at the time, these authorities signaled that they were sure that there was no legal or constitutional infringement as such," he explained. "Now we've received a clear assessment that changes must be made. And we will discuss this, and try to reach an agreement regarding how we can move forward with this, and which committee will become the leading committee [on this matter]."

Metsoja believes that the bill could reach the Session Hall of the Riigikogu once more by the end of March.

Kaljulaid against the amendments

On March 7, 2019, Kaljulaid decided not to promulgate a bill of amendments to the Estonian Defence Forces Organisation Act adopted by the previous Riigikogu on February 20, which among other things would have granted the EDF the right to covertly check personal data in the database of the state, a municipality or another person in public or private law, use concealment of one's own person and other undercover agent methods, as well as conduct clandestine surveillance of a person.

The current Riigikogu passed the bill in unchanged form again on May 29, after which the president decided for the second time not to promulgate it and instead take the law to the Supreme Court.

In late December, the Supreme Court of Estonia ruled parts of the law amending the Estonian Defence Forces Organisation Act to be unconstitutional. Nonetheless, the top court did not agree with all of President Kersti Kaljulaid's criticisms of the law.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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