2010 23/01
Суд горада Жодзіна

Zhodzina town court

On 21.01.2010 the office of Zhodzina Court Deputy Judge Tatsiana Tratsiuk hosted a conversation with the parties on the complaint of Yanka Lapitski’s parents against the actions of municipal authorities, whose decision № 928 of 23.06.2009 suspended the Belarusian-language education of their son in gymnasium № 1 with a forced transfer of the Belarusian-speaking boy to a Russian-language class.

Before filing a complaint with the court, the parents requested that the executive power of Zhodzina justified its decision in terms of law, and provided detailed costing and the alleged amount of damages caused by the implementation of their own Constitutional right to free secondary education of their son in the native language.

The goal was to draw the attention of the local authorities to clearly inappropriate nature of such actions, as well as to find out to what extent these recurrent discriminatory measures by Zhodzina executive committee are not occasional, but intentional or deliberate, carefully planned, and what the real purpose behind them is.

Addressing the education system and the Minister of Education Aliaksandr Radzkou, the applicants, Aliaksei and Sviatlana Lapitskis, in particular, noted that the discriminatory decision of the Executive Committee of Zhodzina was taken:

a) contrary to the well-known, clearly articulated coherent civic and legal stance relating to

– categorical inadmissibility of another language of education, except the mother tongue, as well as their

– beliefs and opinions,

– state and national language identity,

– the Constitutional rights and the vital legal interests, whose proper execution is guaranteed by our State in accordance with the Basic Law of the country and the international agreements on civil and political rights…;

b) in violation of the country’s priority of Constitutional and international standards of law, the existing obligations of the Republic of Belarus … to implement them,

a) without due regard to the wishes, abilities and opportunities of the existing commitment to the Belarusian language and the health state of the pupil.

In 2009, Yanka studied in the high school for just over a week: from 01.09.2009 – 5 days and after the October Resolution № 417 by the Commission on Juvenile Affairs of Zhodzina executive committee – 3-4 days, until the director Henadz Karshun with reference to an anonymous call from Minsk summoned the boy to his office and forbade the student to appear in the gymnasium on the next day.

At the meeting, the parties expressed their positions. The executive committee was represented by an employee of the legal service of the executive committee Volha Verhel. She noted that in the opinion of the executive authorities the complainants lost the opportunity to appeal the actions of the executive committee in court, because after the first negative response from a higher authority (Head of Education Department of Minsk Regional Executive Committee) much longer period than a month had passed, as required by Article 355 of the Civil Procedural Code.

Aliaksei Lapitski noted that after the negative response from the first higher authority Yanka went to school really on the first of September, and then it was untimely to speak of the practical effect of the destructive-discriminatory components of the Decision № 928 by Zhodzina executive committee on actual limitations on the right to education. Moreover, the appeal of that decision went on an administrative line in the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Belarus, and answers from the executive committee and the Minister of Education were expected.

In addition, in reality another form of training started to be used, applied for by the parents with providing the necessary documents and statements that actually evaded and neutralized the discriminatory treatment of Decision № 928. Thus, Yanka could continue to study in Belarusian in the gymnasium.

However, immediately after the violation of agreements by the authorities and the actual termination of the educational process, the appeal was held in the first place for the sake of earliest possible resumption of the effect of this agreement and learning environments for continuing full-fledged Belarusian-language education of Yanka in the gymnasium. Nonetheless, the practice has shown that the administration of Gymnasium № 1 was unable to implement the agreements reached and acted instead in a destructive direction, preventing the Belarusian-language educational process within the school.

When the high officials of the Ministry of Education of Belarus showed a number of positive and encouraging signals – it was possible to resume Yanka’s training in accordance with Resolution № 417 of 20.10.2009 by the Commission on Minors of Zhodzina executive committee.

And only with the next termination of the study on the orders of the school administration and following the replies by Zhodzina town prosecutor’s office of 14.12.2009 (V. Litvinenka) and Minsk regional prosecutor’s office of 01.12.2009 (L. Niachai), the Chief Department of Education of 24.12.2009 (T. Danilevich), it became fully clear that actual effect was taken by the deliberate discriminatory actions by officials, as well as a real danger of further restricting the right to learn from 01.01.2010, when the deadline for the interim alternative-contractual forms of learning was to expire.

Thus, in the course of protecting the right to education an evident destructive direction and the actual purpose of the authorities to exert discriminatory-ideological pressure on the family of the Zhodzina human rights defenders through their youngest son was discovered.

As a result, without waiting for expiry of this form of training, which failed to operate anyway (despite all the promises by officials of the Ministry of Education – Yanka was not allowed to attend classes at school before the end of 2009), feeling a real restriction on the right (as an administrative review gave no results even after a positive Decision number 417) for continuation of regular secondary school teaching of their her son, the parents were forced to apply to the court.

As a result of the conversation, Judge Tatsiana Tratsiuk appointed the following preliminary meeting on the matter for 08.02.2010.

As a result of the trial, the parents have the hope to restore their own inherent, infringed by Decision № 928 by Zhodzina executive committee, Constitutional right to education of their Belarusian-speaking son in the gymnasium № 1 of Zhodzina.

Ales Volny,

Belarusian Legal Portal,


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