2011 09/09
Алена Залеская, Віцебск

At the 101st session of the United Nations Human Rights Committee adopted a resolution regarding the appeal of Alena Zaleskaya to the committee. In this appeal Alena, the citizen of Belarus, claimed that the Belarusian authorities violated her rights under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights signed by Belarus.

The Committee acknowledged the truthfulness of the complaint filed by Alena Zaleskaya against the state. “The Human Rights Committee, acting according to paragraph 4 of Article 5 of the Additional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, states that the facts show a violation of rights of the applicant [Alena Zaleskaya] according to Part 2 of Article 19 and Article 21 of the Covenant,” – says the decision of the influential UN agency.

As a country – signer of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Belarus is obliged to follow all of its provisions strictly. Moreover, under the international law, in case if domestic legislation comes in some conflict with international agreements signed by the country, the priority should be given to the latter.

Article 19 of the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, violated by the Belarusian authorities with regard to Alena Zaleskaya, provides citizens the right to hold opinions without interference. Part 2 of the Article states: “Everyone has the right to free expression of their thoughts: this right includes freedom to seek, receive and spread different kinds of information and ideas regardless of frontiers, either orally, or in writing or through art expression forms, or other means”.

Another rule of international agreements, in violation of which Belarus was found guilty of by the authorities of Human Rights Committee, is Article 21. This article states: “The right to peaceful assembly is recognized. Using this right is not subject to any restrictions except those imposed by law and necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security or public safety, public order, health or morals or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others “.

Alena Zaleskaya had to appeal to the Human Rights Committee after the events, which took place on June 27, 2006 in Vitebsk.

That day she and her two friends walked from Svaboda Square to Lenin Street, giving out people in the street officially registered at the time newspaper “Narodnaya Volya” and “Tovarish”, as well as information leaflets “For our own, for your freedom”.

Suddenly Alena Zaleskaya and her companions were attacked by militia officers. They searched the activist, withdrew her thirteen copies of the “Narodnaya Volya”, about a hundred copies of “Tovarish” and about 200 leaflets. The woman was arrested. In Kastrychnitski district militia department of Vitebsk a protocol was drawn up on her alleged about administrative violations.

A walk, in which there participated only three people, has been hailed as a “mass rally” to hold which it was necessary, according to the Belarusian authorities, to take special permission. And the day after the events Kastrychnitski district court of Vitebsk has decided to fine Zaleskaya the amount of 620 000 rubles.

Alena Zaleskaya disagreed with the decision of the district court and claimed to the Vitebsk regional court. However, the decision of September 20, 2006 of regional court left the decision of first instance unchanged. Also, the appeal to the Supreme Court gave no results. The decision of Supreme Court of November 10, 2006 confirmed that the decision to fine the lady for organising a “mass rally” has been correct.

Thus, all possibilities to achieve justice in the country had been exhausted, and Mrs. Zaleskaya, confident that her right to a free flow of information and the right of citizens to receive this information was violated, decided to appeal to international organizations. She made up an appropriate request to the UN Committee on Human Rights, which was accepted for review on February 8, 2007.

The trial under the case lasted more than four years at the Committee on Human Rights. During this time, both the applicant and the authorities had repeatedly to explain their positions in written form.

Finally, a few days ago, the Committee made a decision. Rightness of Alena Zaleskaya was confirmed and now under the rules of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, according to the decision of the Committee, the state “shall provide the applicant an effective legal protection, including the return of the fine and all court costs incurred by the applicant at current prices, as well as the compensation. The state is also obliged to take measures to prevent similar violations in the future”.

Within 180 days the Belarusian authorities should inform the Committee about measures taken to implement the Resolution of the Committee.

Thus, a fair decision on the case, which began five years ago, was accepted. Unfortunately, Alena Zaleskaya did not get this decision. After a long illness the oldest Vitebsk oppositionist has passed away on July 27, 2010 at the 78th year of life…

Document in the Attachement: Conclusions of UN CHR on the appeal of Alena Zaleskaya (Eng.)
Quoting “For Human Rights”
Prepared by Ales LETA,
Belarusian Legal Portal,

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