Justice Vs. Public Associations
According to Presidential Decree No. 13 “About certain questions of public proceedings” advocates and persons empowered by public associations have the right to represent interests of physical and juridical persons in the cases when this right is provided by the law. The law gives this right only to trade unions (their representatives can defend interests both of representatives and ordinary workers) and the Association of Consumers.
Viktar Halavanaw, Minister of Justice, thinks that only advocates can give qualified assistance in courts:
“I am for providing of every citizen with qualified juridical support. The most qualified juridical service can be given by such independent juridical institute of advocacy. What concerns public associations, their level is insufficient for giving such service on the necessary level. Only participants of legal proceedings, judge, Prosecutor and defender can be present at trial, all other representatives can be present just formally. We have no particular examples of low-quality support by public organizations, but everyone knows that some of them deal with politics, and citizens need qualified juridical support.”
The Minister of Justice stated that at present Belarusian advocates are independent of all others State bodies. By the way, now the number of advocates in Belarus is 1567. This number has increased for 5% since last year.
Ales Khmialnitski (Radio “Racyja”)