2014 09/02

As previously reported, UNCHR adopted a positive decision on the individual appeal from Zhodzina on the case “Komorovski vs Belarus”. Now the decision of the Committee was officially published in the original (in English) on the website of the Center of Social and Political Rights of the United Nations (look at the base of individual appeals).

According to human rights activist Aliaksei Lapitsky from Zhodzina, who helped Aliaksandr Komorovski to prepare the appeal to the UN Human Rights Committee, “in its conclusions, the Committee notes that the State party has not sufficiently explained why it was necessary to detain and punish the applicant in connection with his actions on March 23, 2008 in accordance with p. 3 of Article 19 of the Covenant, and how it justified the seven days of administrative arrest”.

The decision states that “in this context, the Committee reiterates its request to the State party to show that the restrictions of the author’s rights under article 19 should be necessary, and that even if the State party introduces system to achieve a balance between individual freedom to dissiminate information and a common interest in maintaining public order in a particular area, such a system should not work to violate the provisions of Art. 19 of the Covenant. Therefore UNHRC concludes that in the circumstances of this case, the author’s rights in accordance with p. 2 of article 19 of the Covenant have been violated. In connection with this conclusion, the Committee decided not to consider the author’s claim separately under article 21 of ICCPR”.

The decision of UNHRC also notes that “The Human Rights Committee, acting on Article 5 p. 4 of the Optional Protocol of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, commits that the State party violated the author’s rights according to paragraph 2 of Article 19 of International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights”.

It is stated in the conclusion that “in accordance with paragraph 3 of Article 2 (a) of the Covenant, the State party has an obligation to provide the author an effective remedy, including compensation for any legal costs incurred by the author, together with an adequate compensation. The State party is also under an obligation to take measures to prevent similar violations in the future”.

“Taking into account that, by becoming a party of the Optional Protocol, the State party has recognized the competence of the Committee to determine the presence or absence of a violation of the Covenant and that, according to article 2 of the Covenant, the participant has undertaken obligations to ensure all individuals within its territory and which are subject to its jurisdiction, the rights recognized in the Covenant and to provide an effective remedy in the case of a violation. The Committee wished to receive information about the measures taken to implement the Committee’s Views from the State party within 180 days. The State party is also requested to publish these opinions and disseminate them widely in Belarusian and Russian languages in the State party”.

Aliaksei Lapitsky adds that the Human Rights Committee in this case also very clearly draws attention to all (!) violations of criteria of MPGiPPā€™s Article 19 in the limitation of the right to freedom of expression. Thus, a particular expert response is given to the eternal argument of Belarusian courts about (referring to the Law “On Mass Events” and a variety of local orders imposed by executive committees) restrictions and prohibitions by the Belarusian authorities “based on the law”.
In this regard, it is important that “The Committee notes that” restrictions on the right to freedom of expression are acceptable only if they are prescribed by law; if they are proportional; necessary to respect the rights of others and/or national security, public order, health, or morals. The applicant in our case was arrested and sentenced to 7 days of administrative arrest for participation in small gathering of citizens before the obelisks. The Committee believes that Belarus does not meet any of the requirements of the legal limitation mentioned above. Thus, the Committee concluded that Belarus had violated the author’s right to freedom of expression, and violated article 19 of the ICCPR,”- emphasized the human rights activist.


[The decision was adopted in English, French and Spanish, the English text being the original version. After it is to be issued also in Arabic, Chinese and Russian as a part of the Committee’s annual report to the General Assembly.]


UNCHR CCPR/C/109/D/1839/2008 on the complaint “Komorovski vs Belarus”. (Eng.)

Ales Volny,
Belarusian Legal Portal

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