Does the law exist for judges?
On 4 September the
lawyer of the Human Rights Center “Viasna” Uladzimir Labkovich
received a mail from the Minsk City Court about the reversal of the
verdict of the Savetski District Court of Minsk on the administrative
case according to which he was fined 3 million rubles.
The human rights defender appealed against the ruling from 6 August 2013, issued on the basis of part 1 of Article 23.34 of the Code of Administrative Offenses (“Violation of the order of organizing and holding mass events”), issued by Judge of the Savetski District Court of Minsk Dzmitry Pauliuchenka. Analogical ruling was also appealed by his colleague, Tatsiana Reviaka. Bear in mind that the both members of “Viasna” council were detained in the center of Minsk on 5 August while handing out informational leaflets on the occasion of the second anniversary of the politically motivated imprisonment of the head of the organization, Ales Bialiatski. As a result, Judge Maryna Fiodarava fined Tatsiana Reviaka the same sum of money under the same article.
However, the results of the consideration of the appeals, filed by the human rights defenders, differ. The appeal of Tatsiana Reviaka was considered on 27 August by Judge of the Minsk City Court Aliaksei Bychko and was left in force. Consideration of the appeal of Uladzimir Labkovich was appointed to a later time, 30 August. That day Mr. Labkovich was unable to attend the trial, but thought that the decision would be the same as in the case of his colleague.
That's why the ruling of Judge of the Minsk City Court Kamisarau, according to which the case will be passed to the Savetski District Court of Minsk for a review, was a complete surprise to him. At the same time, he thinks that this situation just confirms that the judges weren't guided by legal norms while considering the appeals.
“The judges of the appeal court, taking two contradictory decisions in analogical cases, weren't guided by the law, according to which it is evident that my actions and the actions of Tatsiana Reviaka cannot be qualified as any administrative offense,” argues Mr. Labkovich. “I consider the ruling of the court about the reversal of my fine and the consideration of the case to a new consideration as a solely juridical step, because the Minsk City Court couldn't ignore the gross violations admitted during the proceedings in my case.”
The human rights activist thinks that the new consideration of his case at the Savetski District Court will be formal and the earlier punishment will be left in force.