As such, a person sentenced to life imprisonment, may only avoid finishing his life in prison on several grounds of clemency, none of which directly depend on his efforts to change or how successful they are. The person may be released from the rest of his sentence, if he becomes seriously and terminally ill; a person can also be released on political grounds for clemency, either by a group act, when Parliament adopts an amnesty act, or an individual act, when he is granted a Presidential pardon.
In 2013, the European Court of Human Rights delivered its judgment in the case of Vinter and others v the United Kingdom, which raises reasonable doubt whether the current Lithuanian life imprisonment regime complies with international human rights standards. The court ruled that a life sentence without the slightest chance of review or reduction in length, even in view of significant changes in the prisoner and progress towards rehabilitation, is tantamount to inhuman and degrading treatment of the convict.
This does not mean that all persons sentenced to life imprisonment should be released, but the possibility to do so must exist if their level of rehabilitation reaches a point where continued detention can no longer be justified on legitimate penological grounds.
At the end of 2013, ECtHR agreed to examine the application of a group of convicts sentenced to life imprisonment for violating their rights, with Lithuania being the alleged guilty party. The application states that the life sentences given to the applicants as well as the regulation of life imprisonment in general violates the prohibition against inhuman and degrading treatments enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights.
The ability to reduce the length of a sentence for life provide for in the Lithuanian legal system cannot be seen as a review of the sentence, as is required by the standards laid down by the ECtHR. The reduction of the sentence is dependent either on a severe deterioration in the convict's health, or on the absolute discretion of politicians. At the same time, the Lithuanian legal system does not allow reviewing a person's sentence specifically with regard to his rehabilitation, so the current regulation of life imprisonment does not comply with the European Convention on Human Rights.