Justice chancellor: Law expanding EDF surveillance rights constitutional ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Chancellor of Justice Ülle Madise.
Chancellor of Justice Ülle Madise. Source: Signe Siim

Chancellor of Justice Ülle Madise has found that the amendments to the Estonian Defence Forces Organisation Act passed by the Riigikogu on May 29 but thereafter vetoed by President Kersti Kaljulaid are in fact constitutional.

Madise found that the amendments to the Estonian Defence Forces Organisation Act do not allow for the restriction of individuals' fundamental rights any more than the legislation currently in force, reported daily online news portal Delfi (link in Estonian).

"The issue in question is first and foremost who would have the right to conduct surveillance on individuals in defense of the Estonian Defence Forces' (EDF) security field," she noted.

Currently, surveillance and security authorities such as the Estonian Internal Security Service (ISS) and the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) have the right to conduct surveillance on individuals on Estonian territory.

Amendments to the Estonian Defence Forces Organisation Act would, in connection with defending the EDF's field of security, specifically expand this right to the EDF in case of emergency and in order to counter heightened threats.

"I find that the planned measures restricting personal privacy are in accordance with the principle of proportionality, and these cannot be deemed unconstitutional on other grounds either," Madise said.

Amendments to the Estonian Defence Forces Organisation Act passed by the Riigikogu on May 29 were first passed, in identical form, on Feb. 20.

With a March 7 decision, President Kersti Kaljulaid vetoed the amendments. On June 14, the president filed an appeal with the Supreme Court of Estonia to declare the amendments in question unconstitutional.

According to Kaljulaid's decision, the head of state deems unconstitutional the section of the legislation granting the EDF the right to process personal data, including the short-term surveillance of individuals in the EDF's field of security in case of emergency and in order to counter heightened threats.

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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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