“Viasna” Is Not Going to Surrender
If liquidated by the court, the Public association “Human Rights Center “Viasna” is going to continue its activities illegally. The organization members stated it at the press conference. On 23 September at the Supreme Court of Belarus the Ministry of Justice and “Viasna” representative will have a discussion. As a result the date of the first court sitting can be appointed.
Henadz Kesner (Radio “Racyja”)
Human Rights Center “Viasna” can be really liquidated. By the way, the suit of the Ministry of Justice to the human rights organization is in some respects unique.
Ales Bialiatski: -- I’d like to point at the unique nature of the suit, as it is the first such suit, filed without any preliminary warning. For the recent two years we had no warnings. They referred to the Civil Code and now are trying to close us, using its articles.
Actually, the suit of the Ministry of Justice points at the deficiencies during the registration of the organization in 1999 and the first years of its existence. However, according to Ales Bialiatski, everything was corrected to conform with the legislation. The main reasons he mentions for the ill treatment of “Viasna” by the authorities are the following:
A.B.: -- Our organization is a publicly active one, it criticizes the authorities for the violations of human rights that are witnessed by our Review-Chronicles which we issue every year (there are already five of them). We also defend people whose rights are violated in accordance with the Belarusian legislation, take active part in monitoring, which was openly mentioned in the suit.
One of the reasons for the suit the Ministry of Justice called allegedly illegal representation of the interests of a defendant at the Supreme Court. Human Rights Center “Viasna” really intended to participate in the famous “Liavonaw case” as a defender, but, as “Viasna” lawyer Valiantsin Stefanovich pointed out, this intention wasn’t fulfilled in practice.
V.S.: -- We wanted to direct our representative to the trial, but the Supreme Court considered that we had no right to represent Mr. Liavonaw, as he wasn’t a member of our organization. Accordingly, our representative wasn’t in the court, which means that there wasn’t any representation of Liavonaw’s interests at the Supreme Court.
Most probably, all those arguments will be rejected by the court (the practice shows for it), but even if liquidated, “Viasna” will continue its work. Uladzimir Labkovich, another lawyer of Human Rights Center “Viasna” assured of it the present journalists:
U.L.: -- We will greatly disappoint the Ministry of Justice as it won’t reach the aim which it pursues by the liquidation of our organization, it won’t stop our activity, no way. After the trial and the liquidation we will even feel easier, our activity will be simpler. We could have spent more time to our human rights activity but had to maintain close correspondence with the Ministry of Justice for warding off all the assaults on us. Soon our organization probably will have the possibility to simply execute its Statute tasks that have brought so many people to it.
The discussion, at which the date of the court sitting can be appointed, will take place at 10 a.m. on 23 September at the Supreme Court.