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Official translation

REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA

LAW ON ARCHIVES

5 December 1995 No. I-1115

Vilnius

Article 1. Purpose of the Law

This law shall regulate the composition, organisation, preservation of, and access to the Lithuanian Archival Fond to meet the needs of the State and society as well as to exercise citizens’ rights.

Article 2. The Lithuanian Archival Fond

The Lithuanian Archival Fond shall comprise records kept in repositories of the Republic of Lithuania and other records of the State of Lithuania and its historical heritage which have been accumulated by legal and natural persons and which are included in the Lithuanian Archival Fond Register, regardless of their provenance, medium, place of preservation and form of ownership.

The Lithuanian Archival Fond shall be national property and be within the jurisdiction of the State. Accumulation and preservation of the Lithuanian Archival Fond shall be the duty of state and non-state institutions and of every citizen of the Republic of Lithuania.

Article 3. Structure of the Lithuanian Archival Fond

The Lithuanian Archival Fond shall consist of:

1) the State Archival Fond which is formed of all records kept in the state archives of Lithuania and in other state repositories, as well as records created and accumulated by institutions of public administration, municipal institutions and institutions of law and order, the Bank of Lithuania, and state institutions and state-owned enterprises (hereinafter referred to as state and municipal institutions). The procedure of formation, preservation of, access to, organisation and administration of the State Archival Fond shall be established by the Regulations of the Lithuanian State Archival Fond of Lithuania approved by the Government of the Republic of Lithuania;

2) archival fonds owned by non-state institutions and natural persons, which are included in the Lithuanian Archival Fond Register. These fonds are formed of records of the activities of non-state institutions, enterprises, organisations and natural persons, as well as records accumulated, inherited, purchased or donated to the above, if these records are not part of the State Archival Fond.

Article 4. The Particular Part of the State Archival Fond

The particular part of the State Archival Fond shall comprise the archives of the LSSR (Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic) division of the former USSR Committee of State Security (KGB) and of other USSR security and intelligence services which operated in Lithuania, as well as the archives of the former LSSR Ministry of the Interior, the Lithuanian Communist Party, and the first divisions of the former LSSR institutions. The manner of preservation, arrangement and description, research of and access to the particular part of the State Archival Fond shall be established by separate rules approved by the Government of the Republic of Lithuania.

Article 5. Ownership of the Lithuanian Archival Fond

The State Archival Fond shall be the property of the State. Records of the State Archival Fond may not be subject to purchase, sale or other transactions that violate the right of ownership of the State to these documents. In case of a change in the form of ownership of a state institution, the records created and accumulated prior to that change shall remain a part of the State Archival Fond. Records of the State Archival Fond shall not be returned to their former owners. Natural persons may obtain copies of the records taken for State preservation. Archival fonds and records of non-state institutions and natural persons shall be their private property.

Article 6. The State Archival System

The State Archival System shall consist of the Lithuanian Archives Department directly subordinate to the Government of the Republic of Lithuania, state archives, and other institutions subordinate to the Lithuanian Archives Department.

The Lithuanian Archives Department shall set and implement the national policy in the sphere of records management and archives, administrate the Lithuanian State Archival Fond, the state archives and other subordinate institutions, supervise and control the whole Lithuanian Archival Fond, maintain the Lithuanian Archival Fond Register, register private archives, draft, approve and co-ordinate statutory acts pertaining to the preservation, arrangement and description, and access to the Lithuanian Archival Fond and other issues. Statutory acts regulating the conditions of preservation and restoration of records must be co-ordinated with State Commission for Cultural Heritage Protection. The Lithuanian Archives Department shall represent the Republic of Lithuania in international archival organisations. The Regulations of the Lithuanian Archives Department shall be approved by the Government of the Republic of Lithuania, and its Director shall be appointed and dismissed by the Prime Minister.

Statutory acts on the issues of the Lithuanian Archival Fond adopted by the Lithuanian Archives Department shall be obligatory to all legal persons and officers.

State institutions which pass statutory acts on the issues of records keeping and archive management must co-ordinate them with the Lithuanian Archives Department.

Lithuanian state archives shall accumulate, preserve, restore and conduct research of the records of great value for history and culture of Lithuania, ensure access to them, control state institutions in their record keeping and preservation practices, and provide consultations to the keepers of the Lithuanian Archival Fond.

Regulations of state archives shall be approved by the Director of the Lithuanian Archives Department.

Article 7. Sources of Financing and Funds of the State Archival System

The State Archival System shall be financed from the State Budget. The Lithuanian Archives Department and subordinate institutions may have non-budgetary funds which comprise income from services provided by the archives and from publishing activities. Types of paid services, charges for the services and the procedure of utilisation of funds shall be defined by the Lithuanian Archives Department. The State Archival System may receive charity and donations from legal and natural persons.

Article 8. Other State Repositories

State cultural, scientific and educational institutions shall permanently preserve historically formed records collections of the State Archival Fond as well as records of non-state institutions and natural persons that have been acquired by contracts, inherited, donated or bought. These repositories shall be prohibited from acquiring records or equivalent copies thereof from institutions which are acquisition sources for state archives.

Article 9. Records of State and Municipal Institutions

State and municipal institutions shall preserve records created in the course of their activities or activities of institutions under their regulation.

State and municipal institutions must:

1) organise their record keeping in the manner prescribed by the Lithuanian Archives Department;

2) ensure appropriate appraisal as well as arrangement and description of records;

3) keep archives of their institution, ensure preservation and access to the records in these archives.

The head of every state or municipal institution shall be responsible for accumulation, preservation of and access to the records of the institution.

Article 10. Records of Non-State Institutions and Natural Persons

Records that are objects of private ownership shall be at the disposition of their owners.

Non-state institutions must:

1) comply with the retention periods of records, set by the institutions of the State Archival System, and report to them about the records in their preservation;

2) inform the Lithuanian Archives Department about any sale or transfer of records, included in the Lithuanian Archival Fond Register, to another natural or legal person;

3) if they trade in cultural properties, submit to the Lithuanian Archives Department lists of records to be sold, and upon execution the transaction, inform the Department about their new owner;

4) preserve the documents included in the Movable Cultural Property Register pursuant to the requirements stipulated in the Law on Protection of Movable Cultural Property.

Should danger of decay or destruction arise to the records of great value for history and culture of Lithuania, the Lithuanian Archives Department may decide to take them over if, warned in writing about that, the owner does not comply with the set requirements. The value of the records taken over shall be compensated to the owner; the amount of the value shall be determined by an agreement between the former owner and the state repository and, if a dispute arises - by a commission of experts. The decision of the Lithuanian Archives Department may be appealed against in court in the course of one year.

Article 11. Discovered Archival Records

Individuals who discover archival records in the territory of the Republic of Lithuania must report it to the Lithuanian Archives Department.

Discovered records of state institutions and non-state organisations must be transferred to Lithuanian state archives.

Individuals who have transferred the discovered records of non-state organisations shall be remunerated according to the procedure set by the Lithuanian Archives Department.

Article 12. Appraisal of Records and Retention Periods

Records of the Lithuanian Archival Fond shall be of permanent, long (from 10 to 100 years) and temporary (up to 10 years) retention. Retention periods shall be determined upon the appraisal of records which shall be carried out according to the statutory acts approved by the Lithuanian Archives Department. The appraisal shall be carried out by appraisal commissions of creating or keeping institutions, established by the head of such institution.

Disposal of records without their prior appraisal shall be prohibited.

Institutions of the State Archival System shall have the right to check the correctness of appraisals. Should any violations be found, they may prohibit the disposal of records.

Article 13. Transfer of Records for State Preservation

The following institutions shall transfer records as well as the registration and information system: the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, the Office of the President of the Republic, the Government of the Republic of Lithuania, ministries, other Government institutions, institutions of law and order, the Bank of Lithuania, and municipal institutions.

At the decision of the Lithuanian Archives Department, other state and non-state institutions, which are supported by the State, may be added to the list of institutions which transfer records for state preservation if they, in the course of their activities, create the records of great value for history and culture of Lithuania. State archives shall acquire documents of the above mentioned institutions, which have to meet the standards for arrangement and description of the State Archival Fond, and are of permanent retention.

State institutions transferring records of permanent retention for state preservation shall keep them:

15 years for documents of general records keeping;

30 years for documents of secret records keeping;

75 years for civil registry, court files, mortgage and personnel documents;

15 years for scientific, technical and creative documents (retention period for documents of this kind may be prolonged or shortened by the Lithuanian Archives Department).

State archives and other state repositories, according to agreement, may accept documents of non-state institutions and natural persons for state or depository preservation.

State archives and other state repositories may, after the appraisal, accept documents bequeathed by natural persons, if these documents are of great value for history and culture of Lithuania.

Article 14. Transfer of Records of Institutions Subject to Abolishment

In case of abolishment of state, municipal or non-state institutions supported by the State, which transfer records for state preservation, their records of permanent retention shall be transferred for state preservation into state archives by the end of the abolishment or by any other date set by the institutions of the State Archival System.

Records of long retention shall be transferred to those state or municipal institution within whose sphere of regulation the said institutions used to belong.

In case of abolishment of other state institutions, their documents shall be transferred to that state institution within whose sphere of regulation the said institutions used to belong, and in the absence of such an institution - to archives of municipal institutions. Abolishment of an institution shall be reported to the Lithuanian Archives Department.

If the functions of the state institutions subject to abolishment are taken over by newly established institutions, they must ensure the preservation of the archives of the abolished institutions.

In case of abolishment of non-state institutions, the records of great value for history and culture of Lithuania may be transferred to state archives for state preservation. Documents that have administrative or social and legal value must be transferred to the public institution within whose sphere of regulation the institution subject to abolishment used to belong, and in the absence of such an institution - to archives of municipal institutions.

Article 15. The Lithuanian Archival Fond Register

The Lithuanian Archival Fond Register shall serve to register state archives, other state repositories, and archives of state institutions, as well as to accumulate information about archival fonds and records kept in them. Data about archives, archival fonds and records collections which are owned by non-state institutions and natural persons and which are of great value for history and culture of Lithuania may be included into the Lithuanian Archival Fond Register by consent of creators or keepers of such fonds.

Institutions that register newly established offices, enterprises and organisations according to the procedures set by law must report it to the Lithuanian Archives Department.

Institutions and natural persons registered in the Lithuanian Archival Fond Register must submit registration documents of a specified form to the Register management office.

The Regulations of the Lithuanian Archival Fond Register shall be approved by the Government of the Republic of Lithuania.

Article 16. Access to Lithuanian Archival Fond Records

Legal and natural persons shall have the right of access to State Archival Fond records and information system. Readers shall use records in compliance with the procedure established in the Fond Regulations and by the institutions which are engaged in records preservation.

On the basis of the records preserved, the state archives and other institutions must provide legal and natural persons with archival certificates, attested copies and extracts from records, which ensure lawful interests of such persons.

Access to records of non-state institutions shall be regulated by the institutions themselves, however, such access procedure must guarantee the need of state institutions and citizens for information.

Access to records owned by private persons shall be allowed only by consent of the owner.

Article 17. Registrations on Access to Lithuanian Archival Fond Records

Access to the following records shall be restricted:

1) records containing information which is a state or official secret;

2) personal files - for 50 years after closing the file;

3) records containing medical information about a person  - for 25 years after the person’s death;

4) records related to a person’s property or legal interests - for 75 years after the creation of the record;

5) records, the use whereof may lead to deterioration of their physical condition.

Access to records containing information which is considered a state or official secret shall be regulated by relevant laws and other statutory acts.

Restrictions on access to records accepted for state or depository preservation under the agreements, shall be determined by the contracting parties.

Access to records shall not contradict copyright laws and other relevant statutory acts.

Every officer or authorised person, who preserves or uses records containing information which is considered a state or official secret, or information which may harm personal interests that are protected by law or provided for in contracts, must keep professional secrecy in respect of these records.

Article 18. Supervision of the Lithuanian Archival Fond

Institutions of the State Archival System shall control the observance of laws and other statutory acts regulating the accumulation, preservation of and access to the Lithuanian Archival Fond.

The employees of the institutions of the State Archival System shall have the right to familiarise themselves with the conditions of preservation of Lithuanian Archival Fond records, to inspect the condition and quantity of the records, and to obtain all the information necessary for the above purposes.

Institutions of public administration and municipal institutions must control the accumulation, preservation, arrangement and description, and use of records of the institutions that fall within the sphere of their regulation.

Article 19. Recovery and Acquisition of Lithuanian Historical Heritage Records from Foreign Countries

The State shall take care of the recovery of Lithuanian historical heritage records from foreign countries and provide financing thereof, as well as support and finance the acquisition of records or copies thereof which are of great value for history and culture of Lithuania.

Article 20. Export of Lithuanian Archival Fond Records

Permanent export of the State Archival Fond records shall be prohibited.

By way of exception, under the agreement with a competent institution of the other country on the reconstruction of national archival heritage, the Government of the Republic of Lithuania may, on the grounds of the proposal from the commission of experts formed by it, allow the export of records from the State Archival Fond on exchange basis, if these records were created in the territory of the other country.

The Lithuanian Archives Department may permit temporary export (up to 3 years) of State Archival Fond records for cultural exchange or other purposes.

The procedure of export of Lithuanian State Archival Fond records shall be established by the Government of the Republic of Lithuania.

Export of records which are owned by non-state institutions and natural persons and are included in the Movable Cultural Property Register shall be governed by the procedure established in the Law on Protection of Movable Cultural Property.

Article 21. Liability for Violation of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Archives

Officers and other individuals who violate the Republic of Lithuania Law on Archives shall be liable according to the procedure established by law.

Article 22. Treaties

Should a treaty to which the Republic of Lithuania is a party stipulate rules different from those established in the Republic of Lithuania Law on Archives, the rules of the treaty shall apply.

Article 23. Final Provisions

The Republic of Lithuania Law on Archives of February 13, 1990, No. XI-3687 shall be declared invalid.

Upon the transfer of the particular part of the State Archival Fond to the Lithuanian Archives Department, the Republic of Lithuania Law on Preservation of Archives of Particular Importance of October 29, 1992, No. I-3020 and the Republic of Lithuania Law on Amendments of the Law on Preservation of Archives of Particular Importance of June 1, 1993, No. I-167 shall be declared invalid.

I promulgate this Law enacted by the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania.

PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC

ALGIRDAS BRAZAUSKAS