2010 27/01

CC chairman, Piatro Міklashevich

Statements by Pyotr Miklashevich, the Chairman of the Constitutional Court, at the yesterday’s press conference came as a shock.

At a press conference on January 26 Chairman of the Constitutional Court Pyotr Miklashevich told whether Customs Union agreements are in line with the Constitution; how death penalty can be abolished; and why the court does not check the legality of Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s decrees, Euroradio reports.

Pyotr Miklashevich told journalists during the press conference about the “court’s work in 2009” and admitted that the Constitutional Court checked if the documents of the Customs Union were in line with Belarus’ legal standards. But the check was formal, he said.

What concerns examining the essence of those agreements, they are normally checked only when the president doubts if certain items in agreements stay in line with the Constitution. It seems that Alyaksandr Lukashenka didn’t have doubts this time.

“We have not received any appeals regarding signing the law on ratification of international agreements on the Customs Union establishment,” Miklashevich said.

Journalist asked about export duties on Russian oil delivered to Belarus.

“This is not a subject of analysis by the Constitutional Court. I do have my personal point of view, but I can’t voice it publicly. I can go public only when it becomes a subject of analysis by the Constitutional Court,” the chairman said.

He added that the contract on oil supplies to Belarus signed in 2007 is still in force. However, the Russians claim the contrary.

Answering a question of a Euroradio correspondent, the Constitutional Court Chairman said that the recently approved amendments to the law on operative and investigative activities does not confront with the Constitution. It means that law-enforcement agencies are allowed to carry out investigative activity and tap phones without prosecutor’s sanction.

“We do not see direct contradictions with the norms of the Constitution. We considered the law in the course of preliminary constitutional control. Taking into account article 23 of the Constitution, which allows some restrictions for the sake of national security, law and order, and health protection, this restriction meets the aims to strengthen crime prevention,” Miklashevich said.

Pyotr Miklashevich also thinks that it is legal for law-enforcement agencies to arrest people without prosecutor’s sanction. Personal permission by the heads of the Interior Ministry, KGB or Financial Investigation Department would be sufficient.

As for the abolition of the death penalty, the chairman of the Constitutional Court said there were two ways to solve the issue.

“There are two possible ways of introducing moratorium on death penalty. And I don’t envisage any Constitutional or legal hurdles here. As for the abolition, this is the second stage of the final decision, and there are certain Constitutional and legal aspects in this regard,” he noted.

He didn’t say what the aspects were. He just noted that some provisions in the Constitution can be changed by the president or lawmakers, while some provisions can be amended through a referendum only. So, he gave to understand a referendum is needed.

According to Pyotr Miklashevich, the Constitutional Court checked 104 laws adopted by the members of the illegitimate “house of representatives” in 2009. All of them were found to comply with the Constitution. Journalists asked if the Constitutional Court had ever checked Lukashenka’s decrees. The answer was that persons authorized had never applied to court on such issues. We remind that Lukashenka himself, members of both parliamentary houses, the government, Supreme and Economic Courts have the right to turn to the Constitutional Court.

Source: Charter`97.

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