2010 10/02
Жодзінскі суд

The complainants are going to file an appeal in the case of the protection of the right to peaceful assembly in Zhodzina, following a negative decision by the Acting Chief Judge Tatsiana Tratsiuk issued on 27.01.2010.

On 01.02.2010 the applicant Aliaksei Lapitski tried to get acquainted with the minutes of the meeting, but they appeared to be not ready yet. On the same day he filed a petition for studying the minutes and obtaining the motivational part of the verdict needed for the preparation of the appeal.

On 04.02.2010, he was invited to the court by telephone to study the documents. It was found that 8 pages of the minutes demanded numerous comments and clarification. The numerous inaccuracies and even mishaps mainly related to the position of the applicant. The latter was compelled to specifically edit the document and on 08.02.2010 managed to file the comments and clarifications to the minutes (By) on 10 sheets in due time. The papers were accepted by Judge Tatsiana Tratsiuk, who will decide on the admissibility of the comments for the case.

According to Aliaksei Lapitski, the local human rights activists are trying to develop and bring to a logical result of litigation with a view to change the discriminatory practices of systematic obstacles in the realization of the right to peaceful assembly, free dissemination of information, free expression and freedom of opinion.

– The reasons for which here (as well as throughout the country) peaceful assemblies are banned cannot stand criticism. They are obviously illegal. But the decisions to ban, as it was revealed in the process, are taken by the ideological department, which does not even consider properly the received application. The name of the author of the draft decision to ban a peaceful assembly was not established in the court, and a motion for bringing him (or her) to court was rejected.

Therefore, the invisible and totally devoid of responsibility anonymous ideology official may sleep peacefully. It was he (or she), as it was revealed in the courtroom, who always possesses the authority to interpret legislation and suppress virtually any public initiative from below.

Meanwhile, the discriminatory and systematic nature of such verdicts, the grounds for which do not include requirements of a specialized law, the Constitution or the ICCPR (International Covenant), but a primitive ideological expediency, never appeared to be the subject of attention of neither the prosecutors nor the court … The agencies, with all their staff, supported by the budget, just like across the country, are an integral part of the administrative and ideological vertical and are not the institutions of a separate and independent branch of power in Belarus.

Over many years of tyranny and deprivation of citizens’ inherent right, none of the high-ranking offenders has been punished by law. Moreover, for example, following the laying of flowers on 23.03.2008 to the memorial obelisk “Heroes Live Forever”, the organizers of this memorial peaceful event received 7 days of imprisonment each (!?).

It also appeared that the legendary Zhodzina BRSM (Belarusian Republican Youth Union) local office, which is represented by the authorities as a non-governmental organization, and who, presumably, still hold public events in the city, never filed any requests to the executive committee, but conducted all their own activities in defiance of the law “On Mass Events” directly through the youth department of the executive committee… The discriminative nature of such practices and related statistics are obvious.

In the proceedings of the case it was also revealed that the ideological department of the executive committee did not consider it necessary to consider the applications of citizens for peaceful assemblies in the proper order. Meanwhile, it completely ignores the contact information of the applicants as well as their responsibilities, imposed on officials by the law to consider such applications in a favourable manner and assist the citizens in committing the declared for realization and inalienable Constitutional rights and freedoms.

In addition, the government officials and the legal department of the executive committee are convinced that any citizen who has decided to apply a smallest and short-term peaceful picket, for permission to implement his or her own right (which is already secured by the Constitution and should not be asked for ransomed…), must give a written undertaking to pay expenses for the work of police, medical services, housing department… even when nothing like is required in the course of the event, but any legally and actually existing approved price list for such far-fetched and questionable in the legal sense services of the above-mentioned budget institutions do not exist in nature (!?).

At the same time, there is no other free practice of issuing permits to peaceful assemblies (i.e. obtaining permission to use their own Constitutional right), as testified in court by the lawyer of Zhodzina executive committee Volha Verhel.

In the course of the court meetings and the parties’ debate in the case, it also appeared that the desire of officials to refuse to implement civil rights is so great that even such strange motivation is produced, which, as it seems, are just laughable. For example, during a preliminary conversation, the representative of the executive committee Volha Verhel, who initially among a number of inconsistencies even tried to mention that it the application failed to clearly indicate the nationality of the applicants because it was written as citizens… “I.P.F.”, which the ideology official failed to understand to which countries those “I.P.F.” citizens belonged…?

On 02.10.2010 Judge Tatsiana Tratsiuk allowed studying the motivating of her own negative decision on the complaint by Aliaksei Lapitski against the unlawful ban on the peaceful assembly (picketing) applied for by Zhodzina human rights defenders and scheduled for 10.12.2009 on the International Human Rights Day.

Aliaksei Lapitski: “Unfortunately, despite my production of detailed and clear comments on the minutes, in which I drew attention to the inaccuracy of statement of my position as the applicant of a peaceful event, the motivation of the judicial decision retained the distorted data on my position.

– Thus, we can state that the decision was made and based on inaccurately interpreted, or intentionally distorted and thus weakened position of the applicant in the judicial process. And, in this case, it is difficult not to notice that some of the established facts were completely ignored by the court. All together, the given circumstances, are artificially working to strengthen the very fragile and sometimes just obviously absurd and improper motivation of the power to prohibit peaceful picketing in Zhodzina,” the human rights activist said.

Ales Volny,

Belarusian Legal Portal,


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