Decision of Supreme Court to Liquidate "Viasna" (full text)

2003 2003-11-03T10:00:00+0200 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

Case #03-13

VERDICT

IN THE NAME OF THE REPUBLIC OF BELARUS

On 28 October 2003 Kulik V.H., Judge of Supreme Court of Belarus, in presence of the secretary Biralo M.M. and the prosecutor Davidowski I.U., having considered the public case on the suit of the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Belarus to the Public association "Human Rights Center "Viasna" in the court hall, found that:

In its application the Ministry of Justice pointed out that the Public association "Human Rights Center "Viasna" was registered on 15 June 1999. In 2003, during the check-up of the activity of the association it was found that the founders violated Article No. 13 of the Law "About Public associations", point 3 of the Ruling, adopted by Decree of President of the Republic of Belarus #2 of 26 January 1999, point 2 of the Rules, adopted by order of the Minister of Justice #108 of 15 May 1995. In private, the association presented judicially invalid documents (minutes of the Constitutive assembly of the association founders, minutes of the Constitutive assembly on establishment of Brest branch, the list of the members of the Board of initiators of Vitsebsk, Brest and Homel branches) as a number of signatures in these documents were forged.

Besides, during the registration of the association didn’t confirm its republican status. In private, in Mahiliow region the existence of 8 founders instead of 10 was confirmed, by which the demands of the decision of the Republican commission on registration (re-registration) of public associations of 24 March 1999 weren't executed.

In the suit of the Ministry of Justice it was said that in the run of its activity the association violated demands of the Statute and Article #4 of the Law "About Public associations", Article #48 of the Civil Code of the Republic of Belarus. In private, the membership fees weren't raised and there is no branch on the territory of Minsk.

During the check-up the violation of the electoral legislation by the association was found which was confirmed by the ruling of the Central commission of the Republic of Belarus on elections and holding of republican referenda of 8 September 2001, and the demands of Article #72 of the Civil Process Code, Article #22 of the Law "About Public associations" and point 2.1 of the Statute weren't executed: the association applied to the Supreme Court in the capacity of a defender for representation and defense of interests of the persons who were not its members.

Grounding on this the plaintiff asked to take the decision about liquidation of the Public association "Human Rights Center "Viasna". At the trial the representative of the plaintiff Fishkina N.V. supported the suit demands and specified that the signatures of Bialiatski A.V. in the list of initiators of the association founders, Pawlaw M.U. in this list and in the list of the revision commission as well as the signatures of Vialichkin U.A., Panasiuk P.S. and Antanovich L.A., Tsypkayla H.R., Bakhun S.P., Bahdanovich H.I. and Howsha S.K. in the list of members of Brest association branch, of Akulenka M.I. and Adamenka I.M., Ramanenka T.I., Ramanishka V.U. and Ramanishka V.U., Baranaw S.V., Busel M.K. and Pinchuk T.M. in the list of members of Homel association branch, Pawlovich V.S. and Ryklin Yu.U, Aliaksandraw A.Ya and Liashkevich A.M. in the list of members of Vitsebsk association branch were forged.

Representatives of the defendant Stefanovich V.K., Labkovich U.M. and Bialiatski A.V. didn't accept the suit and stated about the absence of reasons to liquidate the association as all demands of the registering body were executed during the registration of the public association and the law wasn't violated. The violations of the Statute concerning non-payment of membership fees and non-establishment of the branch in the city of Minsk were internal affairs of the association. The Ministry of Justice issued the warning about violation of the electoral legislation in 2001 and since that time there wasn't any repeated violation. What concerns the application to the Supreme Court in 1999 for participation in the consideration of the criminal case, the representatives of the defendant thought that there was no violation as the application conformed with the Criminal Process Code that acted at that time.

Having listened to the explanations of witnesses and testimonies of witnesses, investigated the written evidence, listened to the view of the representative of public Vidruk A.V. from the Public association "Independent Society of Legal Research", the opinion of the prosecutor of a department of the Prosecutor's office of the Republic of Belarus Davidowski I.U. for relief of the suit demands, I proceed to the following.

Article #21 of the Law of the Republic of Belarus "About Public associations" provides liquidation of republican public associations on the territory of the Republic of Belarus on decision of the Supreme Court.

According to point 3 of Article #29 of the mentioned Law a Public association is subject to liquidation if during the registration its founders violate the contemporary Law or other legal acts.

It was found that the Public association "Human Rights Center "Viasna" was registered on 15 June 1999 about which certificate #00111 was issued.

In private, the association founders presented to the registering body the minutes of the Constitutive assembly of the association founders, the list of the Board members, the list of the members of the Revision commission and the list of initiators of establishment of Brest (Berastse), Homel and Vitsebsk branches with the signatures of the enlisted persons.

The court didn't receive any precise evidence that the mentioned documents contained forged signatures. The opinion of a specialist of the Scientific research institute of criminology and court expertise, presented by the plaintiff during the case hearings can't be considered as the precise evidence.

The representative of the plaintiff Bialiatski A.V., members of the association Panasiuk P.I., Antanovich L.S., Howsha S.K., Akulenka M.I., Ramanenka T.I., Ramanishka V.U., Baranaw S.V., Aliaksandraw A.V., Liashkevich A.M., Pawlovich V.S., Busel M.K., Barbolin V.V. and Pawlaw M.U. that were interrogated by the court as witness, confirmed that they put the signatures on their own. Bialiatski A.V. – in the minutes as the association Head and the witnesses – in the lists of initiators of establishment and in the lists of the association members in branches.

Besides, the Ruling "About certain measures for regulation of the activity of political parties, trade unions and other Public associations", adopted by Decree of President of the Republic of Belarus #2 of 26 January 1999 and the Rules for registration of Public associations, adopted by order of the Minister of Justice of the Republic of Belarus #108 of 15 May 1995 that were registered in conformity with the established order and were in force during the registration of the association and to which the plaintiff referred, didn't demand signing of the list of initiators of the association establishment and the lists of members in the regions.

The fact that during the registration of the association in Mahiliow region there was confirmed existence of 8 founders instead of 10, which is demanded by the minutes of the Republican commission on registration (re-registration) of Public associations of 24 March 1999, is not a reason to liquidate the association, as according to Article #29 of the Law of the Republic of Belarus "About Public associations" the commission minutes is not a legal act and amendments to the Law "About Public associations" concerning the number of founders for confirmation of the republican status were adopted in November 1999, after the registration of the association. The court also found that Mahiliow branch of the association was registered in conformity with the established order.

The demand of the plaintiff to liquidate the public association for violation of the Statute concerning payment of membership fees doesn't repose on any law.

The non-establishment of the organization branch on the territory of the city of Minsk is not a reason for liquidation either, as this circumstance is not provided by the Statute and the republican status of the association that has branches in the majority of regions of the Republic of Belarus causes is doubtless.

The court also disagrees with the plaintiff concerning the violation of Article #72 of the Civil Process Code, Article #22 of the Law "About Public associations" and point 2.1 of the Statute by the application to the Supreme Court in 1999 with the request to participate in a criminal trial, as the possibility to participate in criminal trial in the capacity of public defender was provided by Article #249 of the Criminal Process Code of 1960 that was in force at that time and didn't contradict to point 2.1 of the Statute.

So, the mentioned circumstances to which the plaintiff referred are not a reason to liquidate the public association.

Nevertheless, in accordance with point 2 of Article #57 of the Civil Code of the Republic of Belarus a juridical body can be liquidated by court decision for unlicensed activity or the activity that is prohibited by the law or other repeated or gross violations of the law.

The court found that the Public association "Human Rights Center "Viasna" which is a juridical body, violated the demands of the electoral legislation during the preparation and holding of the election of the President of the Republic of Belarus.

In private, in the run of the electoral campaign the public association violated the established order of nomination of observers to sittings of electoral commissions and polling stations.

For instance, the association sent to Mahiliow and Brest region unfilled excerpts from the minutes of the Board sittings of 18 June, 1 and 22 July and 5 August 2001 which then were filled for the citizens who weren't nominated observers by the Board decisions and weren't members of the public association.

In Pastavy district a member of the association proposed to citizens who weren't members of "Human Rights Center "Viasna" or any other public associations to attend polling stations as observers for material consideration. He filled excerpts from the minutes of a sitting of the Board in their presence.

The same law violation took place during nomination of observers to polling stations #30 and 46 of Navahrudak district.

These circumstances are confirmed by the warning of the Ministry of Justice of 28 August 2001 that wasn't appealed against by the defendant, and by the Ruling of the Central commission of the Republic of Belarus on elections and holding of republican referenda of 8 September 2001, issued as a result of the check-ups, conducted by the Ministry of Justice and the Prosecutor's office of the Republic of Belarus.

The court is of opinion that violations of the electoral law are gross ones and, according to point 2 of Article #57 of the Civil Code, are a reason to satisfy the suit of the Ministry of Justice to liquidate the association.

Being guided by Article 302 of the Civil Process Code of Belarus, Judge

decided:

To satisfy the suit demands of the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Belarus and liquidate the Public association "Human Rights Center "Viasna", registered on 15 June 1999 (registration certificate #00111).

To exact from the Public association "Human Rights Center "Viasna" 82 500 rubles as the State fee.

The decision comes into force immediately and is not subject to cassation.

Judge of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Belarus V.H. Kulik

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