Henik Loika's lawsuit against KGB turned down

2014 2014-04-11T12:32:59+0300 2014-04-11T12:35:32+0300 en http://spring96.org/files/images/sources/henik-loika.jpg The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
Henadz Loika

Henadz Loika

The trial started. It was led by Judge Alena Siamak. Some 5-7 people came to the trial to support Mr. Loika, including the former leader of the Belarusian Popular Front Vintsuk Viachorka. The judge speaks Russian.

10.24. At the beginning of the trial Henik Loika solicits for leading it in the Belarusian language. Judge Siamak dismisses the motion, referring to Articles 16 and 17 and claims that the right to choose the language for the court proceedings belongs to her. “According to the legislation of the Republic of Belarus I don't have the right to oblige anyone to speak this or that language,” says the judge.

Henik Loika says he doesn't speak Russian well enough. “We have two state languages, if you don't know one of them you should hire an interpretor.”

“I'd like to hear the questions in Belarusian”, says Mr. Loika.

“You can”, says Judge Siamak. “How much time do you need to find an entrepreneur? I'll lead the whole trial in Russian.”

“I want to hear the Belarusian language”.

“You can retire from the courtroom. If you don't want to participate, I don't keep you here.”

“Please, tell the court your name, patronymic and surname.”

“I want to hear questions in the Belarusian language”.

“So, you have refused to provide the information. You can sit down.”

10:26 Henik Loika challenged the judge, saying: “My civil rights, Article 50 of the Constitution, which guarantees the right to choose the language and Article 6 of the Law on Languages, were violated. Obstacles were created for my use of the Belarusian language. I am forced to use the language which I don't have a good command of.” The judge left the room to determine the reasonableness of the challenge, stated by Mr. Loika.

10.31. In the meantime, Henik Loika sat near the KGB representative and asked whether he would answer in the Belarusian language during the trial. The latter replied that they had sent the answer to his complaint in the Belarusian language, that's why he could answer in the Belarusian language at the trial:

“Can I hope that you will ask excuse in Belarusian?”, asked Henik Loika.

“Hope, if you will”.

The reason for Loika's complaint was the refusal of a KGB officer to speak in the Belarusian language with him when he paid a visit to the reception room of the KGB.

The court session was resumed. The judge read out the decision to dismiss the challenge of the judge by Henik Loika on the basis of Articles 35 and 36 of the Civil Code. His accusations were called unreasonable.

10:44. Henadz Loika makes a motion for being provided with an interpreter. On the basis of Article 14 of the Law “On Languages” the court must ensure full-scale participation of an interpreter in court proceedings. “I ask to be provided with a competent interpreter during the court proceedings. I have already paid 130,000 rubles for the trial. Now I ask to be provided with an interpreter from the Belarusian state language to the Russian state language”.

The judge rejects the motion: "We have two official languages, and interpreter from one official language into the other official language is not provided.” The judge reminded Mr. Loika that he had the right to invite an interpreter at his own expense.

10.47. Judge Siamak: “Nobody violates your right to the state Belarusian language.”

Loika: “Obstacles are created to me. I am forced to use the language which I do not understand. A citizen has the right to have command of one language, but an official must be fluent in the both.”

Siamak: “I understand you quite well. If you don't have enough command of the state language, you can come to court with an interpreter.”

Loika: “I see no reasons why the trial cannot be lead in the Belarusian language”.

Siamak: Sit down. I have explained you your rights. I have the same rights as you.”

The judge asks Mr. Loika whether he doesn't object to the attachment of refutations of the KGB officer to the case. He answers that he doesn't understand the question. The judge decides to attach the refutations to the case.

11:05. Henik Loika finally made the judge speak Belarusian. The judge read out Loika's appeal in the Belarusian language, very inconfidently, as children in elementary school. However, now she addresses to him only in the Belarusian language.

11.09 Mr. Loika seeks the dismissal of the KGB officer. The judge continues talking to him in the Belarusian language. She asks why he asks to dismiss the KGB officer who refused to answer to him in the Belarusian language.

“Henadz Loika: "I ask the KGB to take measures towards their employee up to dismissal. After all, if a person wants to use just one state language, let him use it, but he cannot work as an officer of a state institution, as far as Article 4 obliges state officials to know two languages. I ask to free the man from work in order to give him the opportunity not to have command of one of the state languages.”

11.16. The KGB representative explains why the Belarusian language is not respected in this state agency. Speaking Russian, he explains that the KGB reacted to Loika's complaint in accordance with the legislation and sent him answers in the Belarusian language by registered mail.

KGB representative argues that the officer knows the both state languages well enough to perform his duties. Mr. Loika addresses the KGGB representative in the Belarusian language, the latter answers in good Belarusian:

“Do you understand the Belarusian language?”
“Yes, I do.”
“Have you heard what I said about Article 4 of the Law “On Languages?”
“Yes, I have.”
“Does the KGB officer know the state languages?”
“He knows them to the extent necessary to perform his duties.”
“However, he has told me he didn't.”
“He does. You have applied to the KGB with an appeal in the Belarusian language. You were answered in the Belarusian language. What concerns Article 4, Article 5 describes the guarantees during your appeals to the state agencies. It doesn't concern your civil rights, It speaks of the duties of state officials. We paid attention to Article 5, as it guarantees your rights, whereas Article 4 concerns only duty officials and doesn't guarantee your rights.

“I understand, but a violation of Article 4 entails Article 6 – creation of obstacles in the use of the state language. I am not interested in Article 5, and you should not have spent so much paper for an explanation of this article. I am a citizen of this country. I am the people, the master of this country and an official is just a servant of the people. Siarhei Kaidunou told me he didn't know the state language. Maybe he doesn't even want to know it. Then you should free him from his position, dismiss him.

11.29 The debates started.

Henadz Loika: “My civil rights stated in the Constitution have been violated at this trial, namely – Article 50,the right to choose the language. A civil servant, judge, has not provided me with the right to choose the language, guaranteed by the Constitution, and created obstacles for my use of the language. I want to hear the Belarusian language from the KGB officer Siarhei Kaidunou and ask the court to be provided with such an opportunity.”

The KGB representative refuses to take part in the debates:

“We have nothing to add and ask to dismiss his appeal, as far as, to our mind, his rights weren't violated”.

The debates are over.

12.26. The judge issues her verdict: the appeal is dismissed. The verdict can be appealed at Minsk City Court. Judge Alena Siamak found no reasons to consider that citizen Loika's rights were violated, saying that the legislation doesn't oblige state officers to communicate with citizens in the Belarusian language.

Source: RFE/RL