Supreme Court upholds registration denial to “Covenant”
The Supreme Court upheld the legality and validity of the position of the Ministry of Justice, which refused to register the national human rights NGO "Movement for the implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights" ("Covenant").
This decision was taken on September 30 by Supreme Court Judge Mikalai Babkou on the results of a two-day review of complaints of human rights defenders Uladzimir Bukshtynau, Leanid Sudalenka and Mikhail Pastukhou.
They asked the court to declare illegal the denial of registration to the public association, since it violates the constitutional right to freedom of association of 52 citizens of Belarus, the founders of the "Covenant". However, the court dismissed the complaint.
In an interview with “Novy Chas” Doctor of Law, Professor Mikhail Pastukhou emphasized that, according to the Center for Legal Transformation, Belarus remains a non-free country in Europe in registration of public associations. According to the scientist, in Estonia, whose population is about 1.3 million people, there are about 30,000 public associations, whereas in Belarus, inhabited by nearly 9.5 million people - just 2,500 associations.
Mr. Pastukhou pointed to the fact that the public association "Covenant" was created in order to facilitate the implementation by the Republic of Belarus of its international obligations. "In the 54 HRC decisions taken on the complaints of citizens, it is stated that Belarus violated several provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. In addition, more than 100 complaints of our citizens are being considered by the HRC,” stated Mikhail Pastukhou.
In his opinion, the trial showed that the state creates formal obstacles to the registration of new associations, using all possible kinds of arguments including minor technical errors during the preparation of the documents submitted for the registration and discrepancies in the data (birthday or apartment number).
Human rights activist Leanid Sudalenka states that the fundamental law of the country guarantees every citizen the right to freedom of association. "But neither the law on public associations, nor the instruction of the Ministry of Justice have nothing to do with my civil right to freedom of association. Instead of supporting citizens in the implementation of basic human rights, have created many artificial barriers in the execution of these rights," said the human rights activist.
It should be noted that the Supreme Court refused to grant the applicants' request to verify compliance with the Constitution of the legal acts relating to the registration of public associations.