Hrodna Regional Court dismisses appeal against registration denial to “Spadchyna”
November 4, Hrodna Regional Court dismissed the appeals of the founders of the public cultural and educational association “Spadchyna” ("Heritage") against the decision of Hrodna City Justice Department not to register the organization.
According to a member of the Board of "Spadchyna" Siarhei Trafimchyk who represents the interests of the founders in court, the official grounds for the registration denial areclaims to the legal address and the payment of the state fee.
The founders paid the state fee to the national budget in accordance with the requirements of the Tax Code and the regulations of the Ministry of Finance to the account of the Main Directorate of the Ministry of Finance of the city of Minsk. Hrodna Department of Justice considered it improper payment of state taxes, which, according to management, was to be paid to the account of the Hrodna financial management. Although the registering body didn't provide any references to relevant legal regulations, the court found this claim well-founded.
The other reason for the registration denial are claims to the legal address of the organization. In August, when Biaroza and Lida activists applied for registration, they had a letter of guarantee from the local sports school to provide a legal address for their association. Perhaps, as a result of pressurization, the school administration refused from the previous agreements, citing the fact that the room would be used for the purposes of school. However, the refusal was composed in such a way that it did not abolish the initial letter of guarantee: the landlord wrote about the inability to place the organization's office in the school building on a lease basis, without denying the possibility of placing the legal address of the organization.
As noted by the lawyer Yury Chavusau, who participated in the proceedings as a representative of the public from the Belarusian Helsinki Committee, recently claims to registration of the legal addresses have become the most common grounds for refusal of registration of newly created associations: "The procedure of registration of legal addresses for new non-profit organizations allows the registering authority to put pressure on landlords and actually instigate the cancellation of previously issued letters of guarantee. This problem is particularly acute in the areas where suitable non-residential premises are predominantly belong to state or municipal property, or the owners of private buildings are very sensitive to pressure from the judicial authorities," said Yury Chavusau.
Siarhei Trafimchyk is convinced that the true reason for the refusal of registration is the reluctance of the authorities to have a new independent social structure in the region. The founders of "Spadchyna" plan to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court, as well as apply for registration again, once found another room for a legal address. If the Supreme Court deems the denial of registration as justified , the founders of "Spadchyna" intend to collect the previously paid state fee from the state.
The Assembly of Pro-democratic NGOs reminds that this is the second attempt to register the public cultural and educational association "Spadchyna". In 2009, the Main Justice Department of the Hrodna City Executive Committee refused to register the association with the state, citing inaccuracies in the charter of the organization.