No chance to appeal formation of Brest City Electoral Commission
Human rights defenders and pro-democratic activists from Brest appealed the decision of the Presidium of the Brest City Council of Deputies and the Brest City Executive Committee of 27 December on the formation of the City Election Commission ahead of the local council elections scheduled for March 23.
Local human rights defender Uladzimir Vialichkin, who attended a joint meeting that formed the City Election Commission, said that the meeting, which lasted only 8 minutes, immediately voted for a list of commission members. Moreover, there was no discussion of the proposed candidates. Therefore, he says it can be assumed that the decision on the formation of the City Commission was prepared in advance.
The claimants, including Dzmitry Turchaniak, Raman Kisliak, Dzmitry Shymanski, Uladzimir Vialichkin and others, asked the Brest Regional Court in their appeal of 30 December to find the decision unlawful, as it restricts the right to participate in the government of the state by freely electing one’s representatives. They also urge the court to oblige to eliminate the violations and hold another meeting in order to re-form the Brest City Election Commission with mandatory and open discussion of all proposed candidates.
On December 31, the Brest Regional Court Judge A. Litouchyk, having considered the complaint, refused to open a criminal case referring to lack of jurisdiction for its review by the Brest Regional Court.
The claimants were advised to submit a complaint to the court of Leninski district of Brest. In addition, the judge says that the decision of the Regional Court may be challenged by the Supreme Court of Belarus.
Uladzimir Vialichkin took this opportunity and filed a private complaint against the Brest Regional Court to the Judicial Board on civil cases of the Supreme Court. His position is confirmed by the argument that, according to Par. 6 of Article 34 of the Electoral Code of Belarus, “an appeal against a decision on the formation of the election commission shall be submitted to the Regional, Minsk City, District, city court, respectively”, depending on the level of the commission formed. The complaint submitted to the Brest City Election Commission should have been forwarded to the City Court. But since there is no city court in Brest, it is logical that the activists filed their complaint to the Regional Court, not the Leninski District Court.
As a result, on January 23 the Judicial Board on civil cases of the Supreme Court dismissed the complaint of Uladzimir Vialichkina, thus virtually ignoring the reasonable arguments of the claimant.
"Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections"