Vitsebsk pro-dem activist Yan Dziarzhautsau sues city executive authorities over impossible decree
Yan Dziarzhautsau, member of the Conservative Christian Party “Belarusian Popular Front”, keeps fighting for the right to express his views during pickets and other mass events. The order of these events is regulated by Decision No. 881 by Vitsebsk city executive committee. The opposition activist tried to sue the city’s utilities, an organization that, in his opinion, violates the decision of the executive committee and hinders the implementation of the right to freedom of expression.
Yan Dziarzhautsau lodged a lawsuit with Vitsebsk Kastrychnitski District Court against deputy chief of the “Vitsebsk city utilities” enterprise Vadzim Ilyinets. According to the CCP BPF member, refusing to conclude a contract for the cleaning of the territory after the mass event, the official violated the above-mentioned decision. Meanwhile, one cannot obtain permission to hold an event without such an agreement. Yan Dziarzhautsau believes that Vadzim Ilyinets violated his civil and political rights and inflicted emotional distress. Judge Viktoryia Leshchanka dismissed the activist’s claim for moral damages. She also turned down the other requirements of the applicant: to issue a separate ruling for Vitsebsk city executive committee on the need to strengthen the control over the implementation of Directive No. 2 of the President of the Republic of Belarus.
The Directive requires to get rid of formalism and red tape in the activities of government officials. Meanwhile, according to many Vitsebsk activists, these are the effects caused by the above decision of Vitsebsk executive authorities. Yan Dziarzhautsau cites his latest experience, when he could not get a permit for the event planned for November 7 last year.
According to the requirements of the Decree, Yan Dziarzhautsau had to apply to “Vitsebsk city utilities” for signing a contract for clean-up after the mass event. However, the bid was refused by a decision signed by Vadzim Ilyinets, where he wrote that the contracts should be addressed to other enterprises, “Gordormost” and “Zelenhoz”. But none of the state agencies, who are actually responsible for the cleanliness and order on the streets of Vitsebsk, is mentioned in the decision on the organization of mass events. This fact makes the decision practically impossible.
Yan Dziarzhautsau believes that decision No. 881 must be respected by not only the citizens who want to make a public event, but the institutions listed in this decision. Therefore, they should be either forced to enter into treaties, or executive committee should improve the decision itself, the content of which is a contradiction.
But Kastrychnitski District Court saw no reason to punish deputy manager of “Vitsebsk city utilities” Vadzim Ilyinets for failing to implement a decision of the city authorities. Meanwhile, the executive officials refuse to reconsider their decision: Vitsebsk activists have repeatedly called for such amendments, but the responses they received notified that the decision had been recorded in the State Register of Legal Acts, and there are no contradictions in it.
Because of this, over the past few years not a single public event applied for by local democratic activists has been authorized in Vitsebsk. Therefore, according to Yan Dziarzhautsau, the authorities violate the rights of the citizens guaranteed by the Constitution and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.