2014 09/06

In Zhodzina it became necessary to make agreements with the police, medical and community services after the representative of the executive committee recognized her own order to applicants to make such agreements to be groundless.

However Zhodzina Court under the chairmanship of Tacciana Traciuk made a decision in favor of prohibition of picket that had been claimed by human rights defenders by the executive committee. And in several months Zhodzina executive committee “corrected its mistake”. After receiving instructions from Minsk executive committee, authorities of Zhodzina, as in many other cities in Belarus, made a nonsense and discriminative decision № 1020, statement 5 of which contradicts to statement 5 of current “Law on mass events” (which contains demands for an application) and obliges the applicants of mass events to add copies of agreements with special services to the application.

It ii absolutely clear that local order is made up to prevent the realization of freedom of peaceful assembly and expression. And it is completely illegal.

During the latest court case about the prohibition in Zhodzina of picket in support of Alies Bialiacki and Belarusian political prisoners, the applicants deprived of realization of constitutional freedoms with the help of witnesses (representatives of the police, medical and community services) showed that government service have no such practice. All commercial agreements were always conducted only when they provided services during football matches or fairs and never regarded peaceful assembly of citizens.

It is important to note that it is obligatory to make commercial agreements with the police, medical and community services and it is legal only when the mass event belongs to the category of “other mass events” (that means commercial, sports and other events that have their budget, earnings and planned expenses for the realization of requirements in “special measures” of law enforcement, heath treatment and cleaning of grounds).

However, as it came out during the court proceedings even providers of such events as concerts, football matches and fairs, according to current practice of applying and correspondent procedure began to make agreements with official institutions and services mentioned above only after applying and registration at the executive committee.(!)

It is absolute nonsense and de facto discrimination on social and political grounds that non-commercial subjects (non-governmental organizations, parties, active citizens) all over the country are made to demonstrate copies of commercial agreements when applying to hold a peaceful assembly during which there is no need in special measures and relevant additional expenses (besides execution by official institutions and services of their direct duties mentioned above).

Enforcement to making such agreements in circumstances like these is not allowed by prescriptions of Civil Code of the Republic of Belarus and is a violation of principles of voluntariness and reasonableness in conducting any type of agreements.
Moreover, in such circumstances enforcement like this can be rendered as blackmailing offence with abuse of power for purposes of committing incumbrances in realization of inherent civil rights guaranteed by the Constitution.

After the claimants of the case aired the legal facts (with reference to statements of Civil Code of the Republic of Belarus) the judge of Zhodzina court stopped the court session and gave the representative of the executive committee opportunity to get ready for answering them on the merits. However the representative of the executive committee didn’t appear on the next court session (it was she who recognized orders to make commercial agreements in addition to applications for holding mass events to be groundless) and the judge in fact violated the procedure and despite the questions raised to the court took a break and made a traditional in such cases (controlled by ideological department of the executive committee) unfavorable judgment.

The applicants now have to appeal to a higher court in search of the truth. But under the conditions of totally dependent and ideologically controlled courts in Belarus (especially in civil and political cases) usual legal mechanisms of problem solution don’t provide any results for decades.

Attempts of human rights defenders to destroy corrupt “corporative-autocratic machine”, which prevents realization of constitutional rights and liberties for citizens of Belarus, in court sessions using legal mechanisms are analogous to attempts of politicians to win fake elections totally controlled by the authorities. Both have ideological compound, and under the conditions of total dependence of Belarusian courts from executive authorities this question may be solved only on political level. Because under the conditions of authoritarian-commanding “vertical power structure” built in the country this decision depends not on quality of legal arguments or reasonableness of defending grounds, but on political will of the country’s top leadership and ideological doctrine chosen by them.

Aliaksiej Lapicki,
Belarusian Legal Portal,

Photo by A.Lapicki

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