New election-related trials
The Kastrychnitski and the Pershamaiski district courts of Vitsebsk dismissed the complaints against the non-inclusion of 17 representatives of the Belarusian Leftist party Fair World in precinct election commissions.
During the trial at the Kastrychnitski District Court the representative of the Kastrychnitski District Executive Committee Sviatlana Antoshyna stated that all 8 representatives of the Fair World hadn’t been included in the PECs because they had evaded from the work in the commissions during previous elections, refused to keep duty there and didn’t perform their duties properly.
The Chairperson of the Vitsebsk regional organization of the Fair World Anatol Rodzik considers this argument as groundless, because representatives of the party weren’t included in the PECs during the previous election. Only one representative of the party, Mikalai Selivashka, was included in the Vitsebsk Region Election Commission during the previous and the present election alike, but there haven’t been any complaints about his work so far.
Predictably enough, Judge Natalli Filkevich ruled that the commissions had been formed lawfully and members of the Fair World hadn’t been included for legal reasons.
Neither Anatol Rodzik (who represented the interests of the party at the trial), nor Pavel Levinau (who attended the trial as a representative of the public) were allowed to take floor during the trial.
They weren’t admitted to participation in the trial at the Pershamaiski District Court either and left the court hall in protest. The verdict was announced in their absence and had little difference from that of the Kastrychnitski District Court.
Thus, not a single nominee of the Belarusian Leftist Party Fair World, the United Civil Party and the Belarusian Popular Front was included in the precinct commissions of these two districts of Vitsebsk.
On 9 November the Baranavichy Town Court considered the complaint of the Chairperson of the Baranavichy City Council of the Belarusian Language Society Viktar Syrytsa against the non-inclusion of the BLS members Siarhei Housha, Ryhor Hryk and Karnei Piatrovich in precinct election commissions.
The case was considered by Judge Mikalai Selmanovich. The interests of the defender, the Baranavichy Town Executive Committee, were represented by the Chairperson of the organizational and personnel department Volha Dudko and lawyer Aleh Yauseyeu. The plaintiffs argued that the town authorities discriminated the Belarusian Language Society for political reasons. They stated that BLS representatives weren’t included in election commissions during the last elections because of critique of actions of the authorities in the political cultural life of Baranavichy.
At the trial Viktar Syrytsa moved for challenge of the judge (who had judged him unfairly in 2006 and has always taken the side of the state authorities), but the motion was dismissed. The judge also refused to demand from the executive committee to present the documents concerning the nomination in the PECs of the people who had been included in them. This information was necessary to the plaintiffs to prove that almost all members of the commissions belong to the state vertical or are members of pro-governmental organizations.
As a result, the court ruled that the ruling of the Baranavichy Town Executive Committee concerning the formation of the precinct commissions was lawful and the assessment of the criteria according to which the choice of the commission of members had been conducted was beyond the competence of the court. Judge Mikalai Selmanovich refused to consider evidence of politically-motivated discrimination of members of the Belarusian Language Society.
the Hrodna regional organization of the Belarusian Social Democratic Hramada (BSDH) filed 3 complaints to the Leninski District Court because none of the 10 its nominees had been included in the precinct election commissions in the Leninski district. During the trial the representative of the plaintiff Uladzimir Khilmanovich argued that the compositions of the PECs hadn’t been approved from the juridical point of view as the final voting on them hadn’t taken place. However, even this argument didn’t make Judge Ala Bausuk abolish the ruling of the Leninski District Executive Committee concerning the formation of the PECs, though the legal adviser of the executive office of the Leninski DEC Katsiaryna Fiadosenka was unable to answer when the final voting on the lists of members of the PECs had been conducted. Prosecutor Iryna Dziatchenia argued that the allegations about the absence of the voting were unfounded, though Mr. Khilmanovich referred to the testimonies of the observers Siarhei Malchyk and Viktar Sazonau who had been present at the appropriate sitting of the Leninski DEC from beginning to end.
The same happened to the 5 complaints of the Hrodna town organization of the BPF that were considered later – they were dismissed by Judge Liudmila Zhukouskaya. The interests of the BPF were represented by the Chairperson of the town organization Vadzim Saranchukou. The BPF had nominated 10 representatives to the precinct election commissions of the Leninski district of Hrodna, but none of them had been included in the commissions.
3 complaints of the BSDH to the Katrychnitski District Court were considered more scrupulously. The trial was conducted by Judge Valiantsina Mokhan. The representative of the plaintiff Viktar Sazonau demanded that court made the administration to gather again and include the BSDH nominees in the commission referring to the fact that the number of representatives of pro-governmental organizations in the PECs by far exceeded the number of representatives of the BSDH. Nevertheless, the result of the trial was also negative.
The Svislach District Court also turned down the lawsuit against the non-inclusion of the BSDH representative Viktar Dzesiatsik in a PEC.
Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections