Homel: court rejects lawsuit of human rights defender concerning exaction of moral damages from state budget
On 4 June the
Tsentralny District Court of Homel in the name of judge Maryna
Damnenka considered the civil case of human rights activist Leanid
Sudalenka. The human rights defender filed a lawsuit against the
Treasury to get a compensation for moral damage, which he estimates
as equal to an MP's salary for four years at office. The reason for
this request was the failure of the Belarusian authorities to
implement the decision of the Committee on the Human Rights Council
concerning Mr. Sudalenka.
During the parliamentary elections of 2004, the human rights activist has collected the required number of signatures for being registered as a candidate, by the electoral commission refused to register his candidacy. The district and the central electoral commissions decided that he indicated the place of his work in the wrond way. The UN Committee decided that the rights of the citizen were violated by the state and the Belarusian authorities should compensate for the harm done to Leanid Sudalenka.
The Central Electoral Commission became a co-defendant at the trial. However, CEC representatives didn't want to appear at court in such capacity and sent by fax a request to consider the case in their absence. The Ministry of Finances was represented in the court by its officer Siarhei Zakharchanka. Expressing his position concerning the recognition of the lawsuit by the Ministry of Finances, he stated that according to the Budget Code, the Ministry of Finances could pay moral damages only to the individuals who received unlawful sentences in criminal cases. What concerns civil cases, the Budget Code allegedly didn't provide for such duty of the Ministry of Finances, that's why the official asked the court to reject Sudalenka's lawsuit.
"I, as a citizen, do not care and are not interested in the national legislation on which my claim was denied. I have on hand a decision of an international organization recognized by our country – the Human Rights Committee, where it is written in black and white that Belarus must pay me a compensation, and I do not care which of the government agencies will pay it. Under the Civil Code, this public authority is the Ministry of Finances. And if the Ministry of Finances has no mechanisms to pay, they have to shout out loud to the deputies, so that they would adopt the amendments to the Budget Code, introducing such mechanisms payment of moral damages,"said the human rights activist.
According to him, today's hearing showed that "the judges aren't going to abide by the Constitution of our country, the man in judicial robes confirmed it by handing me the refusal to grant my claim". Now the human rights activist is waiting for the court to give him the declaration of the verdict, an is going to appeal it.
"I have not heard from the man in judicial robes any arguments - on what basis I am denied the claim, I'm talking about the Constitution, and the representative of the Ministry of Finances tell me about the Budget Code, where the necessary mechanisms are absent. It cannot be called anything else but a mockery of common sense," summed up Leanid Sudalenka.