On Judge Palulekh’s code of ethics
On the eve of the hearing of an appeal by activist Yury Rubtsou, who was convicted on criminal charges of “insulting the judge”, human rights activists draw attention to the identity of the “victim” in the case – Judge Kiryl Palulekh of the Court of Minsk’s Savetski district.
The charges stemmed from a statement of the Savetski District Court Judge Kiryl Palulekh, who claimed that during the consideration of an administrative case on 28 April the activist allegedly insulted the judge by using offensive words.
Human rights activists of the HRC “Viasna” stress that in assessing the hearing of the administrative case against Yury Rubtsou it is important to remember the following. According to the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus and the Code on Judicial System and the Status of Judges (in particular Art. 89), the judge in the exercise of justice should ensure the protection of the legitimate rights and freedoms of citizens, as well as demonstrate a high standard of judicial activity, to be fair, impartial and strictly follow the provisions of the Code of Judicial Honor of the Republic of Belarus.
In this case, Mr. Rubtsou was brought to the courtroom in a way that offended his human dignity and honor. And according to human rights activists, as well as to Yury Rubtsou himself, no measures were taken by Judge Palulekh to protect his legitimate rights and interests.
Perhaps the young judge could have forgotten about the Constitution or other laws. However, how could he ignore such a document as a judicial code of conduct, which he, of course, had to keep in mind when carrying out his judicial activity?
The Human Rights Center “Viasna” believes that when hearing Yury Rubtsou’s appeal the Minsk City Court should take into account the above circumstances.
“The court of appeals should assess all these facts together, as the court of first instance just did not give an assessment to what could force Mr. Rubtsou to express the evaluation of the judicial system of the Republic of Belarus, which he did. And he does not deny that he said it,” says deputy chairman of “Viasna” Valiantsin Stefanovich. “And you have to understand that Mr. Rubtsou, who had been arbitrarily detained during an authorized event and brought to the courtroom in this way, had no reason to trust either what was happening during his trial or the judicial system in general. To all, he had no glasses and could not read the case file. All these factors require legal assessment by the court of appeals, and we hope that it will be given.”
According to the human rights activist, Yury Rubtsou had no reason to conclude that judge Palulekh would behave as required by the code of his profession, where it is written how a judge shall conduct a hearing. “Obviously, what it says was in no way observed during the consideration of the case. What is there to say, if a person was in this way brought to the courtroom, and it did not surprise the judge, did not cause any questions. And, above all, he did not take any steps to somehow change the situation,” says Valiantsin Stefanovich.