Chairman of the Constitutional Court: No One Cancelled Responsibility for Disrespect for Belarusian Language
“No one cancelled responsibility for disrespect for the state language”, -- Ryhor Vasilevich, chairman of the Constitutional Court, stated on September 18th, in Minsk during seminar “Facilitating wider application of international standards in the sphere of human rights in the judicial process in Belarus”.
“We have received numerous complaints that courts refuse to process complaints written in Belarusian language. I have seen such a resolution with my own eyes: ”Please, re-write the application in a normal language.” The Constitution says, there are two state languages in Belarus – Belarusian and Russian, that is why such a resolution shows disrespect for the state language,” – R. Vasilevich stressed.
As one more example of disrespect for the state language the head of the Constitutional Court reminded of the situation with Homel resident Siarhei Siamionau. In August the young man crossed the Belarus-Ukrainian border on a train. At Novaya Huta border crossing customs officers demanded from him to fill out a declaration form. Siamionau requested a declaration form in the Belarusian language referring to the fact that he was not fluent in Russian and was afraid of making mistakes while filling out the document. The customs officers responded by drawing up a report of administrative violation -- failure to obey the demands of an official.
“Such cases are inadmissible – Vasilevich stressed. However, unfortunately, they are not rare. We have even received a complaint from a student, whose centralized test exam on Belarusian language contained questions written in Russian. Can he give the right answers to them? In such cases, although this is not a responsibility of the Constitutional Court, we send the letters to appropriate bodies which are to rectify the situation. As a rule, the condition is cured”.
The chairman of the Constitutional Court pointed out, the Constitution does not allow discrimination of citizens on the principles of religion, sex, race, or language. We have no other problems, but the language. “There are no complaints about other kinds of discrimination”, -- Vasilevich said.
He urged judges to use Belarusian language on the request of participants of hearings, and pointed out that all decisions of the Constitutional Court are translated into Russian or Belarusian language immediately – depending on what language was the working language of a hearing.