Minister: Law enforcement has enough tools for crime discovery

Minister of Justice Kalle Laanet (Reform)
Minister of Justice Kalle Laanet (Reform) Source: Ministry of Justice

Minister of Justice Kalle Laanet said that it should be analyzed whether planned changes by the Interior Ministry to ban the use of unregistered SIM cards would really serve the intended purpose. Laanet believes Estonian law enforcement organs have enough tools for fighting crime.

Veiko Kommusaar, outgoing undersecretary of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in charge of internal security, on Friday unveiled plans for amendments that would only allow the use of registered and personalized SIM cards. Kommusaar believes the change would help curb crime and aid discovery.

Minister of Justice Kalle Laanet (Reform) said that while he has not seen the bill yet, the question of the problem this would help solve and whether it would really solve it is immediately raised.

The minister said that while it would be easier to identify potential criminals based on phone records, such a change would probably create a black market for unregistered SIM cards.

All in all, Laanet feels that Estonian law enforcement has enough tools at its disposal to effectively prevent and combat crime.

The justice minister suggested that society needs to analyze and strike a balance for protecting fundamental rights and freedoms in the conditions of rapid technological development.

The Ministry of Justice plans to work with the Estonian Bar Association, prosecution, courts, PPA and universities for a revision of criminal procedure, which has remained virtually unchanged over the last 20 years.

"How to launch proceedings, length of proceedings, the burden of proof and finally whether punishments are effective for motivating people to do the right thing in the future. It is an integral process," Laanet remarked.

"While we used to believe that jail time, isolating people from society can motivate law-abiding behavior in the future, our analyses now suggest that spending time in prison does not have the desired effect on people, at least no everyone," the minister said.

The Justice Ministry's data suggests that people who have been incarcerated in one of Estonia's three prisons are more likely to commit new crimes in the future than those punished in different ways. "We need to consider alternative punishments that would be more sensible and cheaper also for the taxpayer. That needs to be the future," Laanet said.

The minister added that certain people nevertheless need to be isolated from society to minimize the threat they pose, and that punishments for more severe offenses could be longer.

Laanet also said that the working group could discuss the use of technological aids, such as large language models, in court proceedings, as well as the matter of whether court cases and decisions are made public. For example, whether judges could speak up more in society. The ministry's analysis is set to be completed by next summer.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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