In the context of constitutional protection of law order, the most feedback from society was caused in 2007 by the so-called Bronze Soldier crisis, when the Estonian law enforcement agencies came into contact for the first time with massive street disturbances.

In the course of the unrest on 26 and 27 April 2007, one person died. Criminal charges were brought against 125 people that participated in the disturbances. The assessment is that during the crisis the Estonian Police acted according to the situation that developed, although they lacked prior experience with suppressing similar unrest. Although after the events, many accusations about police brutality were presented in the media, but to date no accusations of the use of excessive force by the law enforcement agencies has been proven. In the context of the events, a packet of amendments was initiated to amend the following laws: the Police Act, Surveillance Act, Border Guard Act, Public Assemblies Act, Emergency Preparedness Act, Electronic Communications Act, State Secrets and Classified External Information Act, Police Service Act, Traffic Act and Security Act. The packages of amendments may be accompanied by excessive invasions of individuals’ rights, and the legal amendments that came into force in 2008 require separate analysis from a human rights viewpoint.

In 2007, the fight against corruption in law enforcement agencies resulted in new developments. In criminal matters related to the activities of police officials, charges were presented in 2007 against an official of the East-Viru County Police Prefecture (the unlawful handling of a firearm, its essential part and ammunition, accepting a bribe, falsification of official documents, acquisition of someone else’s property, and violation of the obligation to keep information that became known in the course of occupational and official activities confidential) and an official of the Western Police Prefecture (accepting a bribe, giving a bribe, arranging a bribe and falsification of official documents). In 2007, a decision was reached in the court case of Sergei Belov, the senior clerk of a sworn advocate working in Kohtla-Järve, who was punished by a pecuniary punishment for instigating bribery and the fraud. Progress was also made in the fight against corruption in the customs sector, when a decision was made in connection with the bribery cases of customs officials in Northeast- and Southeast-Estonia.[1]

 


[1] 2007 Yearbook of the Security Police Board, pp. 27-30.

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