Court declares decisions of Ministry of Culture non-appealable
The Civil Division of the Minsk City Court quashed the decision of the trial court and stopped the trial in the construction of automobile and pedestrian bridge on the protected territory of the Brest Fortress.
Even during the first trial Brest an activist of the Belarusian Voluntary Society for the Protection of Monuments of History and Culture (BVSPMH) Dzianis Turchaniak argued that the construction of the bridge was illegal because the project for its erection was not legally binding, as there was no public discussion and it wasn't approved by the Belarusian Republican scientific-methodological council on historical and cultural heritage. The applicant also pointed to the prohibition of new construction on the territory of the Brest Fortress, as it was a historical and cultural value of international importance.
In turn, representatives of the Ministry of Culture believe that the approval of design documentation is a prerogative of the institution and the public has no reasons to challenge the decision of the ministry, as there are no appropriate legal regulations for it. Moreover, according to the Ministry of Culture officials the construction of the new bridge ensures accessibility of the Brest Fortress and even contributes to citizens' right to participate in cultural life.
As a result, the Tsentralny District Court of Minsk rejected the appeal of Mr. Turchaniak against the actions of the Ministry of Culture and confirmed that the coordination of project documentation was the exclusive right of the Ministry of Culture and could not be challenged by citizens.
During the hearing of the appeal, the Civil Division of the Minsk City Court granted the protest of the Tsentalny District Court Prosecutor's Office of Minsk, which called for ending the trial on the complaint of the public, as this complaint was beyond the jurisdiction of general courts.
As stated by the chairman of the BVSPMH Anton Astapovich, the judgment of the Minsk City reaffirmed the non-appealable nature of the regulations of the Ministry of Culture concerning historical monuments even if such decisions do not comply with the legislation. In such circumstances, Mr. Astapovich believes intends to apply to the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court, the General Prosecutor's Office and the Ministry of Justice to explain the mechanism of litigation of the misconduct of the Ministry of Culture.