In Opinion of Gospel Believers Committee On Religious and National Affairs Exceeds Its Powers
On 5 February 2003 Head of the Department of Religious Affairs of the Committee on Religious and National Affairs at the Cabinet Council of Belarus invited A. Sakovich, President of Assembly of Denominations of Full Gospel Christians, and passed to him methodical recommendations for execution and consideration of the documents, submitted for the State registration and re-registration of religious organizations. The attached letter said that “in accordance with Article No. 3 of the Republic of Belarus of 17 December 1992 “About religious freedom and religious organizations” the religious organizations that were registered before enforcement of the mentioned law, are subject to re-registration. We submit to you the “Methodical recommendations for the State registration and re-registration of religious organizations”, adopted by Ruling No. 1 of 30 December 2003 of the Committee on Religious and National Affairs at the Cabinet Council of Belarus with the aim to favor realization of the mentioned article. We also attach examples of applications for “registration and re-registration of religious organization”.
According to the lawyer of Jesus Christ Church Dzina Shawtsova (8 029 617 77 51) the mentioned document has no juridical power, as he has not been included into the National register of juridical acts of Belarus and wasn’t officially published. According to the fourth part of Article No. 65 of the law “About normative and juridical acts of the Republic of Belarus” the normative acts that concern rights, freedoms and duties of citizens, are enforced only after their official publications. By the way, usually they are published after their inclusion in the register.
Dzina Shawtsova says that some of the provisions of this document are obviously illegal and exceed the limits of the present legislation. For instance, the recommendations demand to attach enumeration of the religious denominations that belong to an association to its registration application. However, Article No. 18 of the law “About religious freedom and religious organizations” contains the comprehensive list of the documents that are to be submitted for the registration of a religious association and doesn’t provide any extension of this list. The recommendations also say that the authorities have the right to claim some additional materials from the denominations that are registered and can suspend the registration terms until they receive the requested materials. However, the law provides no “suspension”. So, the Committee exceeds the limits of the law.
There’s one more disquieting fact for members of the Association of Denominations of Full Gospel Christians: the part “The State re-registration of religious organizations” contains information only about the order of re-registration for the religious denominations, established before the law enforcement and consisting of at least 20 members. Nothing is said about registration of the associations that have less than 10 denominations with at least one acting for more than 20 years on the territory of the Republic of Belarus. Though representatives of the Committee on Religious and National Affairs state that all religious organizations that existed before the law enforcement, will be registered, absence of information about it in the methodical recommendations is quite disturbing and suspicious.