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S. Bikelis dalyvavo Lietuvos kriminologų dienos diskusijoje

2024 June 4/

Gegužės 31 d., kai už lango gamtos jėgos grūmėsi, kurios labiau išgąsdins miesto gyventojus ir svečius, Lietuvos kriminologų dienos proga Vilniaus universiteto Filosofijos fakulteto auloje vykusios diskusijos dalyviai susirinkusiuosius įtraukė į idėjų apie pasitikėjimą teisingumu kovą. Tradiciniu tampančio Lietuvos kriminologų asociacijos renginio diskusijos tema šiemet buvo „Pasitikėjimas teisingumu: ko tikimės iš kriminologijos?“.

Diskusijoje, kurią moderavo Vidaus reikalų ministerijos atstovė dr. Eglė Vileikienė, dalyvavo tiek kriminologijos krypties akademikai, tiek praktikai – policijos ir teismų atstovai. Renginyje savo įžvalgomis dalinosi ir Lietuvos socialinių mokslų centro Teisės instituto mokslininkas Skirmantas Bikelis.

Diskusijos bei klausimų ir atsakymų sesijos metu buvo svarstoma, kaip ir kodėl keičiasi pasitikėjimas teisėsauga ir teismais. Pavyzdžiui, kodėl per pastarąjį dešimtmetį stipriai išaugo pasitikėjimas Lietuvos policija, nors viešojo saugumo situacija stipriai nepasikeitė? Renginio dalyviai apsikeitė gan skirtingais požiūriais, ar teismai turi investuoti į savo įvaizdžio kūrimą bei gerinti komunikaciją su visuomene, aiškindami ne visiems suprantamus jų sprendimus, taip pat ar teisėjų įsitraukimas į komunikaciją su visuomene nevaržo jų nepriklausomumo?

Galiausiai dalintasi mintimis, kuo kriminologijos srities žinios galėtų padėti formuojant mokslu grįstą teisėsaugos institucijų praktiką. Dr. S. Bikelis akcentavo, kad esant šiuolaikinei tendencijai, kai įrodymų paieškos ir jų vertinimo procesuose vis plačiau pripažįstama netiesioginių įrodymų ir bylos aplinkybių konteksto reikšmė, kriminologinės žinios teisėsaugos pareigūnams ir teisėjams tampa kaip niekad svarbios.

          
M. Šukytė: kaip valstybės institucijoms prisijaukinti dirbtinį intelektą

2024 May 29/

On May 22, the annual “IQ Forum” took place at the Public Library of Marijampolė named after Petras Kriaučiūnas. This traditional event is organized for the business community of Sūduva by the magazine “IQ” and the Marijampolė branch of the Kaunas Chamber of Commerce, Industry, and Crafts. Representatives from businesses and non-governmental organizations, as well as the mayor and vice mayor of Marijampolė, and several members of the Lithuanian Parliament and Marijampolė Municipal Council attended this year’s forum titled “Sūduva 2024: How Can Regions Catch the Wave of Success?”

Among the honourable speakers at the event was Monika Šukytė, a PhD student at the Law Institute of the Lithuanian Centre for Social Sciences (hereinafter - LI LCSS) and a junior researcher in the project “Artificial Intelligence in Courts: Challenges and Opportunities” (TeismAI). In her presentation “Artificial Intelligence in State Institutions: Towards Technology Adoption”, she discussed how artificial intelligence is used in police and the judiciary, and also the challenges this technology poses in the context of human rights.

In the first part of her presentation, drawing on the results of the recently completed LI LCSS project “Government Use of Facial Recognition Technologies: Legal Challenges and Solutions” (Faces-AI) and her doctoral research, M. Šukytė spoke about the use of facial recognition technology (hereinafter - FRT) in police activities. She explained the operating principles of these technologies and provided practical examples of their use in law enforcement agencies in Lithuania and other countries. At the end of her presentation, she also highlighted the challenges that the use of FRT poses to human rights, such as the right to data protection and privacy.

The second part of her presentation was based on preliminary results from the project “Artificial Intelligence in Courts: Challenges and Opportunities” (TeismAI), funded by the Lithuanian Research Council. This part focused on the use of artificial intelligence tools in the judiciary. “Generative artificial intelligence, such as the chatbot ChatGPT,” M. Šukytė explained to the forum participants, “has already been applied in preparing procedural documents and deepfakes have already reached courts as evidence.” She concluded her presentation by discussing the challenges arising in the context of human rights and judicial values, including issues of algorithmic bias, the right to an impartial trial, and the question of accountability for errors made by algorithms.

The slides from Monika Šukytė’s presentation can be accessed here.

        
Procedūrinis fetišizmas – nuo svarbių sprendimų atitraukiantys spąstai

2024 May 16/

This year’s Lithuanian Criminologists’ Association conference focused on the changes brought by new technological solutions in crime control, punishment, and the work of law enforcement agencies. The event, held on April 19 at the Vilnius University Library’s Scientific Communication and Information Centre, was abundant not only in participants but also in speakers from the field of technology, who are less commonly seen at such conferences.

Among the invited guests at the plenary session was Monika Žalnieriūtė, a researcher at the Law Institute of the Lithuanian Centre for Social Sciences. Her presentation, “Institutional Power, Technology, and Procedural Fetishism,” intrigued attendees even before it was delivered.

“Procedural fetishism,” according to the researcher, “is a phenomenon where attention is focused on procedural elements. Procedures are certainly necessary,” continued M. Žalnieriūtė, “but sometimes they distract us from more important issues.”

As an example, the speaker highlighted the problem of facial recognition technologies (hereinafter - FRT), which are widely used in airports, hospitals and so on. In one Chinese city of more than three million inhabitants, institutions can locate a person within seven minutes. This was proven possible even if people are wearing masks, as the recent pandemic has proven. On the other hand, intensive use of FRT in protests may violate people’s equal rights before the law. There are municipalities in the US that prohibit the use of facial recognition technologies in city centres or similar areas, but in reality, according to the researcher, this field is poorly regulated. “Then the question arises, do we want free city streets and squares, or do we want more security?” M. Žalnieriūtė asked the attendees.

According to the researcher, large corporations are using various means to distract the society’s attention from the process of concentrating power in their hands by offering us to work on micro-elements. As a result, societies are not talking about fundamental aspects, such as, do we really want facial recognition technology to be used in city squares? Therefore, it is very important not to lose sight of the main question among the many small elements that prevent from seeing the big picture. If this is not prevented, mass surveillance could become a common phenomenon. Therefore, society and activists must constantly bring these important issues back to decision-makers.

Answering the question “What should be done?”, the researcher first pointed to the incredibly increased powers of private businesses. “They can already influence national elections, which would have significant consequences for various regions,” said M. Žalnieriūtė. Therefore, she suggested that the technical infrastructure should be decolonized, thereby reducing their concentrated powers. In order to democratise them, councils could be introduced to help oversee the provision of their services, which could already be equated to public services.

In conclusion, the researcher emphasised that procedural fetishism is very dangerous because when it prevails, problems are discussed neutrally. The focus is on finding small agreements, but very important questions are not being addressed.

 

Dr Monika Žalnieriūtė is currently leading the project funded by the Lithuanian Research Council “AI in Courts: Challenges and Opportunities” (TeismAI).

        
S. Bikelio pranešimas sprendžiant dilemą tarp draudimo kandidatuoti ir draudimo eiti pareigas

2024 May 2/

On 19th of April, 2024, the conference of the Lithuanian Association of Criminologists attracted a large number of participants with a wide range of presentations by researchers and practitioners in the fields of technology and criminology. This year, the organisers invited to discuss contemporary connections between criminology in science, practice and everyday life.

In one of the sessions “Corruption and Transparency in the Public Sector”, Skirmantas Bikelis, a researcher at the Law Institute of the Lithuanian Centre for Social Sciences (LCSS LI), shared his insights with the audience, which was barely able to fit in the room. In his presentation “When Those Convicted of Corruption Rule: The Dilemma Between the Prohibition on Running for Office and the Prohibition on Holding Office? Issues of Verbosity and Proportionality”, the researcher examined the controversial issues of regulation and application of the prohibition on holding public office and being elected, while comparing the regulation in Lithuania and Germany, where there are substantial differences.

Dr. Skirmantas Bikelis began his presentation by discussing the relevant provisions of the European Union Directive project draft on the fight against corruption. “If the project of Directive is adopted,” he said, “Lithuania will have to abandon the long-standing principle that only one punishment is applicable for a single offence, as the draft requires courts to be able to impose a range of additional measures (in addition to the main sanction), including fines, in relation to corruption offences.”

Discussing the relevant 2023 trials, in which problems have arisen with the application of the prohibition on being elected to public office, the researcher identifies the excessive wording in the Criminal Code as one of the main reasons for the strange decisions of Lithuanian courts. “The multi-wording and over-simplification of the text of the Penal Code, with casuistic descriptions of the procedural aspects of the deprivation of a right, opens the door to mistakes,” said Dr. Skirmantas Bikelis.

At the end of his presentation, the researcher drew attention to one of the most recent changes in the Electoral Code, which expanded the restrictions on the right to be elected, and highlighted the problematic nature of these changes from the point of view of the principle of proportionality. According to these amendments, individuals are automatically deprived of the right to participate actively in political life, even if a court does not impose a prohibition, but imposes any criminal measure (deprivation of driving privileges, deprivation of the right to fish, an obligation to compensate for property damage, etc.) for an offence that may not be in any way related to political activity, such as causing a traffic accident. The conflict with the principle of proportionality is particularly evident when comparing the Lithuanian regulation with the much more restrained and weighted approach of the German legislator.


Dr. Skirmantas Bikelis’ latest publications on the topic of the prohibition to hold public office:


Dr. Skirmantas Bikelis is currently leading a project funded by the Lithuanian Research Council “Criminalization of Asset Legalization in the System of Criminal Profit Control Strategies“ (LEKOSTRA).

          
Kriminologų konferencijoje – pranešimas apie įkalinimo įstaigų pareigūnų vaidmens skirtumus

2024 April 25/

On April 19, 2024, the National Conference of the Lithuanian Criminologists’ Association “Contemporary Connections in Criminology: Science, Practice, Everyday Life” took place. The annual event was attended by scientists and practitioners from various fields, who aimed to reveal the role of technology in criminology and discuss about the perspectives and threats of technology in law enforcement.

At the conference, scientists from the Law Institute of the Lithuanian Centre for Social Sciences also presented their reports. Dr. Rūta Vaičiūnienė in her presentation “Transformations and Reformations of the Professional Role of Prison Officers” introduced and compared the prison models of Western and post-Soviet countries, highlighting the differences in the roles of prison officers.

Additionally, the researcher presented the latest data from the focus group discussion of the project “Changes in prison officers’ professional roles within the shifting custodial sentencing policy and practice” (PRISTA), funded by the Research Council of Lithuania. The findings revealed the daily life of prison officers: collaboration among colleagues, the implementation of resocialization goals, relationships between officers, and internal professional roles’ conflicts of prison staff.

After presentation, discussions with conference participants revolved around the assumptions of the final research results.

        
IV tarptautinėje baudžiamosios politikos konferencijoje – Instituto mokslininkų pranešimai

2024 April 25/

On April 12, 2024, the fourth international scientific-practical conference “Trends and Challenges in European and National Criminal Policy” organised by the Law Institute of the Lithuanian Centre for Social Sciences (LCSS LI), the Faculty of Law of Vytautas Magnus University, and the Law School of Mykolas Romeris University was held. At the event, along with Lithuanian and foreign researchers and practitioners, Dr. Mindaugas Lankauskas and Dr. Skirmantas Bikelis from LCSS LI also participated.

Mindaugas Lankauskas presented a topic “How Does Themis Weigh Drugs? Legal Framework for the Determination of Drug Quantities in Lithuania”. During his presentation, the researcher introduced criteria for determining the quantity of psychoactive substances and its impact on criminal liability.

“Why do the quantities of hashish and cannabis differ by up to 20 times according to our legislation?” - rhetorically asked Dr. Lankauskas, identifying problematic aspects of drug quantity determination. Finally, the researcher also presented his proposals on what should be done to ensure that the law regarding quantity does not abandon the principle of proportionality.

This topic was thoroughly examined in a recent article by Dr. Lankauskas titled “How does Themis Weigh Drugs? Peculiarities of the Legal Regulation of the Determination of Quantities of Some Narcotic and Psychotropic Substances in Lithuania” published in the scientific criminology journal “Criminological studies”, which is published by LCSS Law Institute in collaboration with the Lithuanian Criminologists’ Association and Vilnius University.

Skirmantas Bikelis presented a paper in English titled “Prohibition to Hold Public Office and Prohibition to Be Elected - Lithuanian v. German Approaches. Legal language and proportionality issue”. In his presentation, the researcher compared the regulation of Lithuania and Germany regarding an additional sanction - the prohibition to hold public office. At the end of his presentation, he identified linguistic aspects that could become reasons for failure when seeking to impose this additional punitive measure on the convicted individual.

        
Kviečiame į kasmetinę nacionalinę Lietuvos kriminologų konferenciją 2024!

2024 April 11/

LCSS Institute of Law, the Lithuanian Association of Criminologists and the Faculty of Philosophy of Vilnius University invite you to the annual Lithuanian Criminologists' Conference "Contemporary Connections of Criminology: science, practice, everyday life". The conference is dedicated to discussing contemporary issues about the challenges and needs of digital technologies and innovations in the context of criminological science. The conference will focus on the role of rapid change, technology in crime control and the concept of punishment.

The scientific conference will feature presentations from a wide range of disciplines, which will delve into contemporary issues that arise in science, law enforcement and public sector institutions.

The date of the conference is 2024 m. balandžio 19 d. (penktadienis).
Konferencijos laikas: 9:00–17:00
Dalyvių registracija vietoje: 8:30 – 9:00

Participant registration form.

Conference venue - Vilnius University Science Communication and Information Centre, Saulėtekio al. 5, Vilnius.

Conference program.

         
Kviečiame į 4-ąją kasmetinę konferenciją „Europinės ir nacionalinės baudžiamosios politikos tendencijos ir iššūkiai“

2024 April 11/

We kindly invite you to the 4th Annual International Conference "Trends and Challenges in European and National Criminal Policy", which will be held on 12 April 2024, organised by the LCSS Institute of Law, the Faculty of Law of Vytautas Magnus University and the Law School of Mykolas Romeris University.

The conference will feature presentations by Polish and German scholars, researchers from the LCSS Institute of Law, Vytautas Magnus University Faculty of Law and Mykolas Romeris University School of Law. Practitioners and researchers will discuss various topics in the field of criminal law, present the results of the latest research and raise topical issues of criminal policy.

The date of the conference is Friday 12 April 2024.
Registration on site: 8:30 - 9:00
Conference: 9:00 - 14:10
Conference venue - Mykolas Romeris University, Ateities str. 20, Vilnius, Room 414.

Renginio programą rasite čia.

Participants who have registered and attended at the conference will be able to receive a certificate of attendance.

Photo by Jaoa Cruz (Unsplash).

 

          
Prestižinėje leidykloje išleista Teisės instituto mokslininkių koordinuota knyga

2024 April 5/

The internationally renowned Cambride University Press has published a collective book, coordinated by the Institute's researchers, which examines various aspects of the use of facial recognition technologies: The Cambridge Handbook of Facial Recognition in Modern State (eds. Monika Žalnieriūtė and Rita Matulionytė).

The book covers the legal, social and ethical aspects of facial recognition technologies in five regions of the world - Europe, North America, South America, Asia-Pacific and Africa.

Facial recognition technologies are widely used in institutions ranging from border control and police to social services. Automated facial recognition technologies are used by governments in various countries to collect taxes, prevent crime and control migration processes. Facial recognition technologies involve the processing of a person's facial image,usually for identification, categorisation, or counting. This book brings together contributions from experts in law, technology, communications, and social and political sciences to discuss how facial recognition technologies have been developed and used by local authorities, and how they are regulated in different jurisdictions across five continents.

The book consists of 19 chapters written by 34 contributors from around the world, including Institute of Law researchers Rita Matulionytė, Agnė Limantė, Egle Kavoliūnaitė-Ragauskienė and Monika Žalnieriūtė.

This book is the result of the project „Government Use of Facial Recognition Technologies: Legal Challenges and Solutions (Face-AI)“. The project was funded by the Lithuanian Research Council (Contract No. S-MIP-21-38). 

The book is available here.

        
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