Law On Operation of the Schengen Information System

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      Disclaimer: The English language text below is provided by the Translation and Terminology Centre for information only; it confers no rights and imposes no obligations separate from those conferred or imposed by the legislation formally adopted and published. Only the latter is authentic. The original Latvian text uses masculine pronouns in the singular. The Translation and Terminology Centre uses the principle of gender-neutral language in its English translations. In addition, gender-specific Latvian nouns have been translated as gender-neutral terms, e.g. chairperson.

The Saeima1has adopted
and the President has proclaimed the following Law:

 LAW ON OPERATION OF THE SCHENGEN INFORMATION SYSTEM

Chapter I

General Provisions

Section 1.       Terms Used in this Law

The following terms are used in this Law:

1) Member State – a state which has acceded to the Convention implementing the Schengen Agreement of 14 June 1985 among the Governments of the States of the Benelux Economic Union, the Federal Republic of Germany and the French Republic on the gradual abolition of checks at their common borders (hereinafter – the Convention), as well as a state which has not acceded to the Convention, but which applies the provisions of the Schengen acquis;

2) Schengen Information System (hereinafter – System) – an information system that has been set up in accordance with the European Union legislative acts in order to strengthen public order and security in the territory of the Member States, ensuring the accessibility of the alerts to competent institutions and authorities of the Member States;

3) SIRENE information system – data processing system in which supplementary information is processed and with the help of which alerts are processed;

4) alert – set of data to be entered in the System regarding a person, object or document; and

5) supplementary information – information that is necessary in order to determine whether the alert shall be entered in the System, or in order to achieve the purpose for which the alert is entered in the System, or in order to determine that the achievement of the purpose is not possible, as well as to ensure the conformity of alerts with the regulatory enactments regulating the operation of the System and a person’s right to receive information concerning himself or herself.

Section 2.       Purpose and Scope of Application of this Law

(1) The purpose of this Law is to ensure the use of the System for strengthening of public order and security in the Member States.

(2) This Law specifies the procedures for the maintenance and use of the System and the SIRENE information system in Latvia, institutions and authorities responsible for ensuring of the operation thereof, as well as the functions of institutions and authorities.

Section 3.       Use of the System

(1) The institutions and authorities specified in this Law are entitled to enter alerts in the System and to have access to the alerts entered in the System so that in conformity with the principles of the operation of the System they would circulate and receive information necessary to the performance of their functions.

(2) Division of the State Police – SIRENE Bureau of Latvia (hereinafter – Bureau) shall use the System in order to supervise the conformity of the alerts to be entered with the regulatory enactments regulating the operation of the System and to facilitate the action that is necessary for the achievement of the purpose for which alerts are entered in the System.

Section 4.       Supervision of the Use of Information

(1) Information that is entered in the alerts and supplementary information shall be used only for such purposes for which it has been provided.

(2) The supplementary information, existing in the archive of the Bureau, may be used for the prevention and detection of criminal offences.

(3) The personal data processing provided for in this Law shall be supervised by the State Data Inspection.

Chapter II

Maintenance of the System and the SIRENE Information System

Section 5.       Ensuring of the Operation of the System

(1) The technical operation of the System in Latvia shall be ensured by the Information Centre of the Ministry of the Interior (hereinafter – Centre).

(2) The Centre shall perform the functions of the System manager in relation to the State of Latvia’s section of the System, observing the conditions of this Law.

(3) The Centre shall supervise compliance with the technical requirements specified in the regulatory enactments regulating the operation of the System.

(4) If the institutions or authorities which enter alerts in the System or which have access to the alerts existing in the system cannot ensure the compliance with the technical requirements, the Centre may deny access to the System until elimination of deficiencies.

Section 6.       Ensuring of the Operation of the SIRENE Information System

(1) The technical operation of the SIRENE information system in Latvia shall be ensured by the Centre.

(2) The Centre shall perform the functions of SIRENE information system manager, complying with the conditions of this Law.

(3) The access to SIRENE information system shall be granted only to the Bureau for the performance of the functions thereof.

Chapter III

Inclusion of Alerts in the System

Section 7.       Decision Regarding Inclusion of an Alert in the System

(1) The decision that an alert on persons wanted for arrest with a view of extradition shall be entered in the System shall be taken by the General Prosecutor’s Office.

(2) The decision on entering alert in the System shall be taken by an official who is authorised to perform criminal proceedings within the scope of a criminal procedure or by a judge within the scope of controlling the enforcement of a judgement regarding persons, where there are no grounds for requiring arrest with a view of extradition, but who are sought after in order to ascertain the place of permanent residence thereof for the performance of procedural actions.

(3) The decision on entering an alert in the System regarding an object or document for seizure of use as evidence in criminal proceedings shall be taken by the official who is authorised to perform criminal proceedings within the scope of a specific criminal proceeding in relation to the alert regarding:

1) identifiable mechanical vehicles alienated by criminal means or lost, the motor operational capacity of which exceeds 50 cubic centimetres, trailers, the unladen mass of which exceeds 750 kilograms, caravans, vessels, aircraft, industrial installations and outboard motors;

2) identifiable firearms alienated by criminal means or lost;

3) identifiable blank forms of a person identification document (passports, identity cards), return certificate, seaman’s book, vehicle driver’s licence, residence permit, visas and vehicle registration certificates alienated by criminal means or lost;

4) identifiable person identification documents (passports, identity cards), return certificates, seaman’s books, vehicle driver’s licences, residence permits, visas, vehicle registration certificates and State registration number plates of vehicles alienated by criminal means or lost;

5) identifiable banknotes (registered notes); and

6) identifiable financial instruments and means of payment alienated by criminal means or lost.

(4) The decision regarding entering an alert in the System shall be taken by the subject of the investigatory operation within the scope of the specific investigatory operation in relation to the alert regarding:

1) missing persons, who are sought in order to determine the location thereof;

2) missing persons, who are sought in order to provisionally place them under protection for the prevention of threats;

3) persons, vehicles, vessels, aircraft and containers in order to obtain information regarding them in a discrete manner; and

4) persons, vehicles, vessels, aircraft and containers in order to obtain information regarding them in a discrete manner while carrying out checks.

(5) The Minister for the Interior, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Director of the Consular Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the officials of diplomatic or consular missions that are entitled to perform consular functions, the official of the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs, the Chief of the State Border Guard or an authorised official thereof in each separate case in conformity with competence shall take a decision regarding entering an alert in the System in order to refuse the entry and stay of a third country national in the Member States.

(6) The decision referred to in Paragraph one, two, three, four or five of this Section may be taken if the achievement of the purpose of a criminal proceeding or investigatory operation process is not possible or is significantly burdened without the assistance of a Member State or if inclusion of an alert in the System may reduce threats to public order and security.

Section 8.       Ensuring of Supplementary Information

(1) The officials referred to in Section 7 of this Law, when taking a decision regarding entering an alert in the System, shall ensure so that the supplementary information would be accessible to the Bureau for transmission to the Member States.

(2) The procedures in which the accessibility to the supplementary information shall be ensured to the Bureau and the procedures regulating how institutions and authorities shall exchange the supplementary information shall be determined by the Cabinet.

(3) If the transmission of supplementary information to Member States through the SIRENE information system is not possible in accordance with the regulatory enactments regulating information protection, the officials referred to in Section 7 of this Law may not take the decision regarding entering an alert in the System.

Section 9.       Entering Alerts in the System, Correction and Deletion

(1) The alerts in the System in conformity with competence shall be processed by:

1) the State Police;

2) the Security Police;

3) the State Revenue Service Financial Police;

4) the State Revenue Service Customs Criminal Board;

5) the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau;

6) the State Border Guard;

7) the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs;

8) the Military Police;

9) prosecutor’s offices;

10) courts;

11) the Prisons Administration; and

12) the Constitution Protection Bureau.

(2) Entry of an alert in the System shall be possible, if in any Latvian database an entry has been entered regarding the same person, object or document for the achievement of an identical purpose (hereinafter – entry equivalent to the alert). When deleting the entry equivalent to the alert, the alert in the System shall be deleted as well.

(3) The procedures according to which alerts shall be entered in the System, as well as corrected or deleted shall be determined by the Cabinet.

Section 10.     Entering Alerts in the System to Prevent the Use of Invalid Documents and State Registration Number Plates of Vehicles, Correction and Deletion of such Alerts

(1) The Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs shall enter in the System alerts regarding person identification documents (passports, identity cards), return certificates, residence permits, visas for seizure of these documents if they have been declared as invalid, but their illegal use is possible.

(2) The Registry of Seamen of the Maritime Administration of Latvia shall enter in the System alerts regarding seaman’s books for seizure seaman’s books if they have been recognised as invalid, but an illegal use thereof is possible.

(3) The Road Traffic Safety Directorate and the State Agency for Technical Surveillance shall entered in the System an alert regarding vehicle driver’s licences, vehicle registration certificates and State registration number plates of vehicles in order to take them out if the referred to documents and number plates have been recognised as invalid, but an illegal use thereof is possible.

(4) Entering alerts in the System shall be possible if there is an entry equivalent to the alert in any Latvian database. When deleting the entry equivalent to the alert, the alert in the System shall be deleted as well.

(5) The procedures according to which the alerts referred to in Paragraphs one, two and three of this Section shall be entered in the System, as well as corrected and deleted shall be determined by the Cabinet.

Section 11.     Withdrawal of Alerts

(1) If the necessity to achieve the purpose, due to which the alert has been entered in the System, has ceased or it is not possible to ensure the achievement thereof, the officials referred to in Section 7 of this Law shall immediately revoke the decision regarding entering the alert in the System, as well as shall delete the alert in the System or shall inform regarding it the relevant institution or authority that is responsible for the deletion of the alert.

(2) When revoking the decision regarding entering an alert in the System, the official shall assess whether an entry equivalent to the alert shall be retained in any Latvian database.

Section 12.     Priority List of Alerts

(1) The Republic of Latvia shall enter in the System only one alert regarding one and the same person, object or document.

(2) If several alerts have to be entered in the System regarding one and the same person, object or document, in conformity with the requirements of Section 7 or 10 of this Law, the highest priority alert shall be maintained in the System, as defined in Paragraph three or four of this Section. If the purposes of the alerts are identical, the alert that has been entered earlier in the System shall be regarded as that of higher priority.

(3) Depending on the purpose due to which the alerts regarding persons shall be entered in the System, the priorities to these alerts have been determined in the following order:

1) to arrest with a view of extradition;

2) to refuse the entry and stay in the Member States;

3) to temporarily place under protection for the prevention of threats;

4) to obtain information, conducting an examination in a discrete manner;

5) to obtain information in a discrete manner;

6) to establish the place of permanent residence; and

7) to locate.

(4) Depending on the purpose due to which alerts regarding objects or documents shall be entered in the System, priorities to these alerts have been determined in the following order:

1) to use as evidence in criminal proceedings;

2) to seize;

3) to obtain information, conducting out surveillance in a discrete manner; and

4) to obtain information in a discrete manner.

(5) The alert of a lower priority may be entered or maintained in the System, if it is agreed to by the official in the competence of whom is the taking of a decision regarding an alert of higher priority.

(6) The Bureau shall co-ordinate the actions of institutions and authorities regarding maintaining of alerts in the System. In an exceptional case, in order to enter a higher priority alert in the System, the Bureau has the right to delete the alert of lower priority from the System, informing of this the relevant official referred to in Section 7 of this Law. If the alert of lower priority has been entered in accordance with the requirements of Section 10 of this Law, the Bureau shall delete it without informing.

Section 13.     Co-existence of Alerts of the Member States

(1) If a request of a Member State to delete an alert entered in the System by the Republic of Latvia has been received, the Bureau shall delete it, reaching agreement with the official referred to in Section 7 or the authority referred to in Section 10 of this Law. If the official referred to in Section 7 or the authority referred to in Section 10 of this Law does not agree on the deletion of the alert and substantiates this action, the alert shall be retained in the System.

(2) If the alert of lower priority of a Member State determined in the regulatory enactments regulating the operation of the System is entered in the System that prevents the entry of the alert in the System, the Bureau shall send a request to the relevant Member State to delete such alert from the System.

Chapter IV

Ensuring the Enforcement of the Alerts Entered in the System

Section 14.     Access to the Alerts Entered in the System

(1) Access to the alerts entered in the System in conformity with the control functions of persons, objects and documents specified in regulatory enactments shall be ensured to the following institutions and authorities:

1) the State Police;

2) the Security Police;

3) the State Border Guard;

4) the local government police;

5) the Military Police;

6) the State Revenue Service Financial Police;

7) the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs;

8) the Road Traffic Safety Directorate;

9) the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau;

10) the Consular Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs;

11) the diplomatic and consular missions of the Republic of Latvia;

12) the State Revenue Service Customs Criminal Board;

13) the Prisons Administration;

14) prosecutor’s offices;

15) courts; and

16) the Constitution Protection Bureau.

(2) The Centre shall grant access to the alerts entered in the System to the officials of institutions and authorities referred to in Paragraph one of this Section, on the basis of the request from the director of institution or authority.

Section 15.     Assessment of the Alerts Entered by the Member States

(1) The Bureau, assessing the alert of a Member State and supplementary information related to it, shall take a decision regarding not taking the action requested in the alert within Latvia if the enforcement of the alert is contrary to regulatory enactments or if in relation to the action requested in the specific alert the decision that does not permit the enforcement has already been taken in accordance with the procedures specified in the Law.

(2) If, taking the decision specified in Paragraph one of this Section, the official of the Bureau has reasonable concerns whether the action requested in the alert can be taken, a decision shall be taken, having it agreed to by the institution or authority, which is competent to decide regarding the action that follows the performance of the activity requested in the alert after determination of the location of a person.

Section 16.     Enforcement of Alerts

(1) The officials of institutions and authorities referred to in Section 14, Paragraph one of this Law that finds a person, object or document regarding which the alert has been entered in the System, within the scope of competence thereof shall conduct the measures provided for in regulatory enactments in order to achieve the purpose of the alert. The Bureau shall be informed immediately regarding the finding of the person, object or document.

(2) The Bureau, after the receiving the suppelemtary information, shall perform the actions referred to in Paragraph one of this Section or shall organise the performance of the referred to actions.

(3) In order to achieve the purpose, due to which the alert has been entered in the System, the officials of institutions and authorities referred to in Section 14, Paragraph one of this Law may:

1) request the necessary information and explanations;

2) request and receive specialist consultation;

3) determine an expert-examination and receive an expert opinion; and

4) obtain samples and seize objects if it is necessary for the performance of an expert-examination.

Section 17.     Conditions regarding Processing Supplementary Information

(1) The Bureau, after receiving supplementary information, shall initiate the investigation case and shall file all materials related to examination of the supplementary information and enforcement of the alert. When initiating the investigation case, it shall be registered in the SIRENE information system, indicating the registration number, date of the initiation of the case and providing a brief description of the content.

(2) If the investigation case has been initiated and there is an alert in the System regarding the person, object or document to be examined, the Bureau shall obliterate (delete) such case after one year from the day when the relevant alert has been deleted from the System. If the investigation case has been initiated, but there is no alert in the System regarding the person, object or document to be examined, the Bureau shall obliterate (delete) such case after one year, from the day when the investigation case has been initiated.

(3) If actions for the achievement of the purpose indicated in the alert have been taken in Latvia, the Bureau shall keep the investigation case in the archive for 10 years.

Chapter V

Rights of Data Subject

Section 18.     Rights of Persons to Receive Information

(1) The data subject (or its authorised person) may receive information concerning himself or herself that is kept in the System and in the SIRENE information system, as well as information regarding the recipients of his or her personal data if its disclosure is not prohibited by a law in the field of national safety, protection and criminal law, as well as if restrictions of issuing data have not been determined by another Member State.

(2) The procedures for the requesting and issue of information shall be determined by the Cabinet.

(3) If the alerts are entered in the System and supplementary information is entered in the SIRENE information system due to criminal proceedings or an investigatory operation taking place in Latvia, the information shall be provided with the permission of the official who is authorised to perform criminal proceedings or the relevant subject of investigatory operation, except the cases provided for in Section 7, Paragraph four, Clauses 1 and 2 of this Law.

Transitional Provisions

1. Section 7, Paragraph five of this Law shall be applied only after the coming into force of the decision of the European Council regarding the abolition of border checks at the internal borders of the European Union.

2. The Cabinet shall issue the regulations referred to in Section 8, Paragraph one; Section 9, Paragraph three; Section 10, Paragraph five and Section 18, Paragraph two of this Law by 1 September 2007.

This Law shall come into force on 1 September 2007.

This Law has been adopted by the Saeima on 14 June 2007.

President                                                                                                         V. Vīķe-Freiberga

Rīga, 27 June 2007

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