Estonian military surveillance plan rejected by Kaljulaid to reach court

Rejected as unconstitutional by the Estonian President, Kersti Kaljulaid, the plan to expand military surveillance in the country will reach the Estonian Supreme Court in autumn.

Estonian public broadcaster ERR reported on Wednesday, June 19, that the President and the Estonian parliament disagree on the provisions of the amended Defence Forces Organisation Law, which has now been rejected twice by Kaljulaid.

ERR explained that the draft amendments to the bill would grant the Estonian Defence Forces (EDF) the right to secretly gain access to data of the state, municipalities, and legal as well as private persons. The amendments would also allow the military to clandestinely follow individuals, and perform other surveillance activities against persons in urgent cases, and where necessary in the interest of the protection of the security of the EDF.

Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid refused to sign the amended law for the first time in March 2019, and reiterated her opinion in the matter again earlier in June, leaving the matter to be decided in the Supreme Court.

According to Kaljulaid: «The police and Internal Security Service have sufficient legal means to ensure the security of the Estonian Defence Forces and to anticipate potential dangers. (..)

To give additional rights to the defence forces as well is not proportional, and substantially violates the basic rights of people in the security sector and the sectors close to it.»

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