Sensation: Home Trial
The pensioner Ihnatsy Petruchuk, born in 1939, applied to the public reception room of the Human Right Center “Viasna”. On 11 April 2003 he was illegally working near the petroleum station in Arlowskaya Street, 86. According to the court ruling he “sold 60 liters A-92 petroleum and 30 liters of diesel oil. The police composed a report on the fact of illegal sale of the fuel. During the trial I. Petruchuk seriouswly injured his leg. He had a hard fracture and spent about a month at the Traumatology Institute where he was operated on his leg, then had a long-term stationary treatment at the city clinics No. 30. The trial over him was delayed several times. However, the court didn’t treat the illness as an obstacle.
On 4 November 2003 Judge on administrative cases I. Vaytsiakhovich and the secretary A. Manarchyk came to I. Petruchuk’s flat and informed him that they will conduct an ambulatory trial there. The pensioner was all adrift and answered that he wouldn’t be able to participate in it because he felt bad, but let Judge and the secretary in. Having explained that it was necessary to urgently consider the case, I. Vaytsiakhovich started her work. I. Petruchuk refused to answer the questions concerning the case circumstances. As a result of the “home trial” he was fined 20 minimal wages (330 000 rubles).
Consideration of his case at his home puzzled the flat owner. To his inquiry whether it was legal Judge answered that he had the right not to let her in, but all her actions were legal as he didn’t use this right.
Here’s an interview with the lawyer of the Human Rights Center “Viasna” concerning this case.
-- In which cases does the law provide ambulatory trials?
-- Only Criminal-Process Code contains the notion of ambulatory trial. This measure is provided if a crime has been made in prison and there’s the need to consider a criminal case there. This measure is absent in the Civil Code. The court can only conduct an inspection of the apartment, something like an expertise. In the Code of Administrative Violations it is specified that a case can be considered either by the court situated on the territory where the crime has been committed or by the court situated on the territory where the person tried lives.
--In which cases do Judge and representatives of executive bodies have the right to enter private apartments?
-- The Constitution guarantees the immunity of apartments. Only a limited number of persons have the right to enter them with the appropriate documents and in the cases, provided by the law. These are the police in the case of a crime suspicion, or on sanction of a prosecutor. Court officers and workers of the prosecutor’s office have the right to enter apartments when on duty. No other persons have the right to enter, that’s why in this case the Constitutional immunity of the apartment was violated.
Judge could have decided to forcibly take I. Petruchuk to court. Nobody put any obstacles to it. I think that she considerably abused her powers. There’s a law about the status of judge and judges are to be guided by this law when considering cases and save personal rights.
-- Can the court verdict be legal in such conditions?
-- I think that a serious violation of human rights has taken place in this case and therefore the court verdict is illegal. Petruchuk didn’t come to the court as he was ill, he is an aged person with broken leg. He had a high temperature. Because of this illness he can be qualified as a disabled person. He was physically unable to come to the trial. He didn’t hide, but phoned to the court and said that he was ill and had the appropriate medical documents to confirm it.
-- To your mind, what is the reason for such actions?
-- I think it is a consequence of the situation in our country, when the authorities serve as a display of lawlessness and frivolous explanation of laws and use take advantage of the fact that people don’t know their rights. I have never heard of such things before. It seems to be the first trial when the court workers came to an apartment to conduct a trial.
-- What does Ihnatsy Petruchuk intend to do?
-- He has filed a complaint to Head of Minsk City Court. We have also asked to suspend the court verdict, but it hasn’t been done yet. We will wait for the results. Even if Minsk City Court doesn’t satisfy the complaint, we well apply to Head of the Supreme Court. I think that a very serious violation was committed.
In the complaint that Petruchuk filed to Head of Minsk City Court it was said: “Being a disabled aged man I felt very bad after the fracture. The leg ached much and I often had high temperature. That’s why I couldn’t use to the full extent the rights provided by the law. For instance, I couldn’t familiarize with the case materials, give explanations, present evidence, etc.”