Human Rights Center "Viasna": Administrative Cases Must Be Heard by Legitimate and Competent Courts
On June 9 the press service of the President’s staff reported about the meeting of the President Lukashenka and the authors of the Code of the Administrative Procedure. During the meeting the President suggested that transfer of the majority of administrative cases into courts’ jurisdiction was an unreasonable measure. “the authors of the Code did not take into account the fact that a court procedure is more complex than, for instance, a procedure by police bodies; it requires higher costs and more knowledge”, -- informs the press service of the President, “in reality, such dramatic change of the administrative cases procedure will break the system the citizens of the country got used to”. Besides that, the President expressed his concern about the possible overburden of courts with administrative cases.
In conjunction with this, the Human Rights Center "Viasna" would like to stress that only fair trial by courts can really guarantee the rights of the citizens. Members of the Human Rights Center "Viasna" directly participated in the thousands of administrative trials both by courts and non-judicial agencies. We have registered blatant and systematic violations of the procedural rights of citizens during the majority of hearings. The out-of-date legislation is one of the causes for this situation. The Code of Administrative Offences, adopted in 1984, is the oldest of the acting Codes.
Thus, modern and progressive Code of Administrative Procedures, containing the fair procedure of a court trial based on the respect to the rights of citizens, could be an important step forward for Belarus.
With up to 5 million cases of administrative violations registered annually, delegating the power to hear administrative cases to executive bodies would create favorable climate for jural willfulness. This might lead to the increase of human rights violations in Belarus.
That is why the Human Rights Center "Viasna" considers the attempt to limit the powers of courts in administrative cases hearing as an ungrounded hazard for the society.