The NGO "Meie Nursipalu" (Our Nursipalu), which opposes the expansion of the Nursipalu military training area, filed an appeal at Tallinn Circuit Court on Monday. The NGO is asking the court to grant preliminary legal protection and suspend all actions related to the Nursipalu military training area's expansion until a special state plan is in place.
The NGO disagrees with the decision made by Tallinn Administrative Court's on June 2 to dismiss its appeal and not award preliminary legal protection. According to the NGO, the court had ignored important facts and evidence, drew conclusions on the basis of a law that had not yet been adopted (the bill to amend the Weapons Act) and presented contradictory opinions.
"The Administrative Court also referred to the security situation, relying on perceptions created in the media and without asking for explanations to justify these opinions," the NGO's statement reads.
The NGO therefore filed an appeal to the Circuit Court to annul Tallinn Administrative Court's ruling in its entirety and send the case back to the Administrative Court for further proceedings.
The NGO Meie Nursipalu along with 19 other private individuals and legal entities initially requested that the Administrative Court order the Estonian government to initiate a special state plan with a view to identifying a suitable location for the construction Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) training area.
However, the court dismissed the appeal for preliminary legal protection. Equally, according to representative of the Administrative Court, although the government has not initiated a special state plan, the administrative body has a broad scope to decide on the need to do so.
The Court also pointed out at the time, that the case did not show that the applicants had previously applied to the government for a special state plan and that the government had refused to implement one, which is a prerequisite for bringing such cases to court.
The administrative court also noted that even if the complainants had done so, they do not have the substantive right to initiate a special state plan themselves. In the absence of such a right, the court cannot recognize the appellants' right to appeal or process the appeal on its merits alone.
The Administrative Court also pointed out that the activities, which are already being carried out as part of the process of expanding the training area such as tree felling and the building of new roads, can all individually be objected to individually before the Administrative Court as they each require a permit.
The NGO however, disagrees with the Administrative Court's recommendation to file a number of separate appeals as doing so would not achieve its main purpose of ensuring people's fundamental rights are upheld and protected.
The NGO also considers, that in practice, it is impossible to challenge individual actions, since the roads and other facilities being constructed are categorized as defense works. As there is no authorization stage to the procedure and the information is not made public, the work therefore cannot be challenged prior to commencing. "The forests were cleared and felled within a few days of the felling permit being granted and, therefore, in essence, it has not been possible to stop these actions," say the NGO's representatives.
Editor: Michael Cole