2013 09/11

In Zhodzina Court

The second meeting in Zhodzina Court on the case of picketing ban…

On 11/08/2013 in Zhodzina court, chaired by judge Ivan Grynkevich the second hearing was held on the complaint of human rights defenders Aliaksiey Lapitski and Sviatlana Lapitskaya regarding the denial of Zhodino Executive Committee to give permission for a picketing in support of Ales Bialiatski and other political prisoners, which was scheduled to take place this year on August 4.

In the court as witnesses testified today chief militia department of Zhodzina Executive Committee Siavets, deputy chief medical officer Tsyelta and the representative of housing and public utilities Barysenka.

All of them, along with the judge, the secretary and the representative of the Executive Committee V.Vergel and others presented at this time in City Court witnessed another symbolic action of solidarity with a convicted head of the Human Rights Center “Viasna” (see photos).

The court session itself and the applicants’ wearing T-shirts with the slogan “Freedom for Ales Bialiatski” in the court, became another opportunity to remind the judges and other citizens presented at the trial about political prisoners in Belarus and a well-known Belarusian human rights activist Ales Bialiatski sentenced to 4.5 years of imprisonment.

In court, at the request of the applicants, documents dated back 2011, have been used in the case, in which Zhodzina Executive Committee received from the court, chaired by judge Tatsiana Tratsiuk a special definition of the inadmissibility of violating the current law “On Mass Events” in communication with applicants. The comments on the protocol were also fully validated as well as the results of 4 sessions of litigation concerning the prohibition by the Executive Committee of such-like picketing, in which the representative of the local authority Volha Verhel changed initial requirements for applicants of a peaceful assembly from the “need to attach to the application contracts with militia department, housing and medical services” to “need to indicate in the application the intention to enter into such agreements”.

This was done because the applicants in the case of 2011, in the course of judicial proceedings and discussions succeeded to convince the representative of the interested party and the court that the requirements to attach such applications are not described in a special legislation, and therefore is not based on law and is not lawful. Human rights observers noted that such a procedure complicates and limits the constitutionally guaranteed right to peaceful assembly, violates Art.35 and Art.23 of the Constitution and Art.21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

In connection with this, despite the recognized standards regarding the rights of peaceful assembly in Belarus, immediately after the trial Zhodzina Executive Committee quickly accepted and adopted a new decision “On mass events in Zhodzina” #1020 of 27.07.2012., paragraph 5 of which has prescribed mandatory attachment to the application of a planned mass gathering copies of contracts with the city militia department, housing and medical cervices. (!)

However, when appealing the Executive Committee on July 19, 2013 for the implementation of the constitutionally guaranteed right of peaceful assembly planned on August 4, 2013, human rights defenders faced the problem of impracticability of this provision and, not having received a permission to hold a picket in support of Ales Bialiatski, had to hold a variety of solidarity events with political prisoners in the city, and then apply to court to determine the legality of actions of militia department, public utilities, hospitals and the Executive Committee. They asked the court to put the question to the Constitutional Court about the impossibility of this provision, its contradiction with the Constitution and the International Covenant on Civil and political Rights and its invalidity in the national special law.

It is essential to note that due to the fact that on 08.11.2013 it became clear that the challenged decision of the Executive Committee on the ban of a peaceful picketing (which literally stated еру refusal to consider the filed application due to the lack of agreements described in decision #1020 p.5) contradicts the current law “On Mass Events” – the applicants clarified one of the points of their requirements. They asked the court to declare that the decision of the local authorities is not based on the law, is lawless and therefore is a subject to cancellation. From this decision of the Executive Committee and the testimony of the interested party before court really follows that the application for picketing wasn’t examined by Zhodzina Executive Committee, and the decision itself does not contain any permission or prohibition of the declared event, which is completely contrary to the requirements of the law.

Thus, on 08.11.2012 in Zhodzina Court the invited witnesses were questioned, the circumstances of the case and the applicants’ demands were specified, questions were asked and additional application declared for 2.5 hours. The next meeting of the Zhodzina Court on the case is scheduled for 10-00 on November 12, 2013.


The decision of Zhodzina Executive Committee regarding the appeal for picketing (Bel.)

Ales Volny,
Belarusian Legal Portal

Photo by Ales Lapitski

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