Supreme Court Rejects BHC Complaint against Justice Ministry Warning
On 6 October the college board of civil cases at the Supreme Court considered the complaint of the Republican public association “Belarusian Helsinki Committee” (BHC) against the written warning to the BHC, issued by the Ministry of Justice for usage of the blank, stamp and seal where “the organization name doesn’t correspond to the statute one (the quotation marks are absent) and for the usage of the English variant of the name together with the Belarusian one at the seal.
In its complaint the BHC stated that according to part 1 of Article No. 28 of the Law “About public associations” a written warning can be issued to a public association for the actions that are incompatible with the legislation demands. Absence of the quotation marks can be qualified only as a violation of the punctuation rules, not as a violation of the Statute or the legislation.
According to Article No. 31 of the Law “About languages” the official organization name cam be presented in translation into other languages, if necessary. The stamp and the seal, used by the BHC, have been agreed with the bodies of the Internal Affairs Ministry and produced in 1995 in accordance with the normative acts of that time. They were also used during the re-registration of the association in 1999. Conducting its yearly check-up, the Ministry of Justice didn’t point at the violations concerning the BHC stamp and seal. BHC has always timely corrected the mistakes, mentioned in the oral admonitions.
The BHC believes that the written warning was issued by the Ministry of Justice with the violation of the procedures of administrative responsibility.
The BHC is of the opinion that the actions of the Ministry of Justice on issuing the warning contradict to the demands of Articles 25-28 of the Law “About public associations” and the constitutional guarantees of liberty of association and the international undertakings of Belarus. Such limitations violate the demands of Article No. 22 of the International pact about public and political rights as they can’t be found necessary for defense of the State or public security, public order, protection of health and/or morality of the population or protection of rights and liberties of other persons.
The prosecutor who has participated in the trial confirmed the insignificance of the violations, but pointed that the Ministry of Justice had the right to issue written warnings for any violations. He also pointed that the non-qualified execution of its functions by the Ministry of Justice gives the court the reason to issue it a private admonition, but Judge Ala Sakalowskaya didn’t support him.
Referring to the arguments of the Ministry of Justice, the court rejected the BHC complaint. It also evaded from evaluation of the punishment given to the BHC.
As press-service of the BHC tells, the RPA “Belarusian Helsinki Committee” is going to complain against the court decision at the national and the international level.