"These issues are related to the academic community or artists. If a crime was committed, it should be investigated by the authorities that investigate criminal acts," Skvernelis told reporters on Wednesday.

When asked if he though that the painter had to stripped of his awards, the prime minister pointed out that in Lithuania a person was presumed innocent until his or her guilt had been proved.

"So let's adhere to the key principle of the rule of law," he said.

Two former students of Vilnius Academy of Arts have anonymously accused Gasiūnas, 63, of sexual abuse.