2011 27/11
Вярхоўны Суд

As reported at the web site of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Belarus, this institution is monitoring the performance of the judicial system. Therefore, citizens are asked to send their assessment and suggestions for improving judicial work. Human rights defenders of Vitebsk decided to respond to this request and sent to the Supreme Court their suggestions about work of general jurisdiction courts.

The reply recently received by human rights activists in response to their suggestion was disappointing.

The Supreme Court did not pay attention to the suggestions of human rights defenders. The only thing they have been told in response was that their letter has been forwarded to the Chairman of the Vitebsk regional court – “for taking into account information outlined in the letter of comments and suggestions on the organization of work of Vitebsk regional court and district courts of Vitebsk region.”

Before human rights activists expressed their opinion about the work of courts in Vitebsk region, they have carried out their own monitoring of these courts. For this several times they have visited Regional Court, three district courts of Vitebsk, Vitebsk district court and also courts located in regional centers Liozna, Haradok, Sianno, Shumilina, Dubrouna and Bieshankovichy.

After analyzing the data received, human rights activists have compiled a list of their recommendations for improving the functioning of these courts:

1. Replace signs on court buildings, and make them in two official languages.
2. Place on court buildings information on their operation.
3. Relieve district courts in Vitebsk, through the introduction of special courts – like town Administrative Court.
4. Expand the powers and frequency of participation of public assessors in court sessions.
5. Remove from courthouses services that do not relate to the judicial system (Department of Justice, law firms, legal services, etc.).
6. Transfer Railway district court of Vitebsk into a separate building.
7. Transfer the secretariats of courts to a computer typesetting of court records directly at the trials.
8. Introduce compulsory video-recording of trials.
9. Cancel the check of visitors, made by the police officer at the entrance to the court.
10. Restore gender equality of judges in district courts.
11. Use information technology wider. Consider the possibility of electronic filing of petitions and complaints.
12. Create a website of Vitebsk regional court.
13. Make the work of courts more public. Oblige the Chairman of Vitebsk court to speak with semi-annual reports to the public.

Human rights activists are not loosing hope that their work will be carried out not in vain and that Vitebsk regional court, which “palmed” their letter “off”, will listen to their suggestions. “I hope that our modest participation in the monitoring of courts will contribute to the improvement of their material and technical condition, will make places for judges’ work more comfortable, as well as will simplify the relations of citizens and judicial system,” – said one of the initiators of the appeal to the Supreme Court Leanid Svetsik.

Quoting “For Human Rights”
Prepared by Ales LETA,
Belarusian Legal Portal,

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