Supreme Court considers Homel courts incompetent
For nearly a year, from August 2012 to the present day, Mazyr human rights defender Uladzimir Tseliapun was seeking justice in the courts of Homel region to appeal a decision of Mazyr District Executive Committee "On Mass Events", arguing that the decision is not consistent with the law and violates the rights of citizens, the implementation of which are guaranteed by the Constitution. According to the decision of the executive committee, in order to hold a street event in Mazyr one has to sign contracts for paid services by the medical, housing and police departments, and then obtain a permit to a picket or rally in the executive committee. In practice, neither the police nor the doctors agree to enter into contracts, as long as there is no resolution of the executive committee. The human rights defender has repeatedly raised the issue at all levels, tried to get an explanation from the authorities: how, in practice, he may perform their decision "On Mass Events"? But it was all to no avail.
In August 2012, Uladzimir Tseliapun went to the Court of Mazyr district with a complaint against the decision of the executive committee. The District Court dismissed his appeal. Later, the same was done by the Homel Regional Court.
An appeal to the Supreme Court, however, brought an unexpected result: the superior court issued a protest to the presidium of the Homel Regional Court. Moreover, Deputy Chairman of the Supreme Court Andrei Zabara asked to cancel the decisions of the Homel Regional Court and that of Mazyr District Court on the appeal of Uladzimir Tseliapun. "This decision (by Mazyr District Executive Committee "On Mass Events") is a legal act, and cases of the recognition of legal acts as illegitimate are not within the jurisdiction of the general courts. In such circumstances, the complaint of Uladzimir Tseliapun was not subject to review in the court," writes in his protest Vice Chairman of the Supreme Court. He further asks the Homel Regional Court to "cancel the decisions of the District Court and the Regional Court, and to dismiss the case on the complaint of Uladzimir Tseliapun."
"Decisions of authorities are beyond the jurisdiction of so-called independent courts. Therefore, in their responses, officials of the executive committee so confidently refer to appealing their bans to the court. This protest suggests that the judges of Mazyr and Homel courts are not competent? They’ve been fooling me for a year. Why did they then take the state fees from me?" says the human rights activist.
He believes that under the current decision of the executive committee it is impossible to exercise one’s right to public expression, even in the places allowed by the district executive committee. The police and the doctors fail to sign the contracts and thus the applicants cannot implement an obligation to pay for the services provided by these departments, for the opportunity to take advantage of the rights guaranteed by the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus.