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Estonia: The Bill on supporting conduct of military intelligence passed the first reading in the Riigikogu

NordenBladet — The Bill that would give the Defence Forces additional rights in performing background checks and implementing authorisation for use of human intelligence sources passed the first reading in the Riigikogu today.

The Bill on Amendments to the Estonian Defence Forces Organisation Act and the Chancellor of Justice Act (152 SE), initiated by the Security Authorities Surveillance Select Committee, provides for increasing the right of the Defence Forces to conduct background checks to the extent that would ensure meeting the initial objective of the check, i.e. verifying a person’s suitability to serve or be employed in the Defence Forces or to cooperate with the Defence Forces. Pursuant to the planned amendments, the Defence Forces will be able to perform acts that go beyond the current verification against registers in order to obtain the information needed for background check. The Defence Forces will be given the right to use covert measures for collecting information for circumstances assessed within the framework of background checks, ensuring that the collection of information is concealed.

The Bill will give the Defence Forces a new task: collection and processing of information to protect the restricted military area of the Defence Forces and prevent threats. For that, it is provided that in the case of persons posing a direct threat to the restricted military area of the Defence Forces, the Defence Forces can verify personal data, and do it covertly, use shadow information and covert measures as well as monitor the person secretly. The Bill establishes more specific and effective guarantees for interfering with the fundamental rights of a person that ensure the observance of notification obligation.

The Bill also amends the Chancellor of Justice Act. At least every two years, the Chancellor of Justice will perform a surveillance of the legitimacy of failure to notify persons of the activities pursuant to the Defence Forces Organisation Act.

The Supreme Court declared the Act on Amendments to the Estonian Defence Forces Organisation Act, passed by the Riigikogu on 29 May 2019, to be in conflict with the Constitution.

One Bill was dropped from the proceedings of the Riigikogu.

The Bill on Amendments to the Health Insurance Act (162 SE), initiated by the Social Democratic Party Faction, provided for amending the Health Insurance Act in order to ensure sickness benefit from the first day of sick leave in the case of suspicion of communicable disease.

The explanatory memorandum to the Bill notes that the Health Insurance Act currently in force does not enable to pay sickness benefit for staying at home because of suspicion of communicable disease. The current Act provides that no sickness benefit is paid for the first three days of sick leave; from the fourth day to the eighth day the benefit is paid by the employer in the amount of 70% of the average salary of the employee, and from the ninth day, the sickness benefit is paid by the Estonian Health Insurance Fund in the amount of 70% of the average salary of the previous calendar year on the basis of the daily income of the employee.

The lead committee moved to reject the draft Resolution at the first reading. 53 members of the Riigikogu voted in favour of the motion and five voted against. Thus, the Bill was rejected and it was dropped from the proceedings.

 

Source: Parliament of Estonia

 


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