Human rights activist: Council of Republic performs functions of Constitutional Court?
The Council of the Republic of the National Assembly has replied to a petition by Tamara Sialiun, who asked to complain to the Constitutional Court about Article 175 of the Criminal Executive Code, as it violates Part 3 of Article 25 of the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus.
The Standing Commission for Legislation and State Building analyzed the issues outlined in the petition and concluded that “there are no grounds to put forward a proposal for consideration by the Council of the Republic of a statement to the Constitutional Court”. The conclusion was made, among other things, on the basis of an analysis of the legislation of the Republic of Belarus, international legal acts, as well as similar acts of the CIS member countries.
“It is very surprising that in its response the Council of the Republic in the person of the Chairman of the Standing Committee Leanid Marozau makes his own conclusions about the compliance of Article 175 of the Code with the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus. Moreover, this conclusion applies not only to national legislation, but also to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. “Based on the analysis of the legal content of this provision, we believe that the provisions of Article 175 of the Code are not contrary to this provision,” said the response. In addition, the notified body refers to the provision of Part 5, Article 186 of the model Penitentiary Code for the CIS member states, which is only advisory in nature, as he himself writes,” comments Andrei Paluda, coordinator of the campaign “Human Rights Defenders against the Death Penalty in Belarus”. “I would also like to draw attention to the fact that Tamara Sialiun appealed to the Council of the Republic in order to initiate in the Constitutional Court a review and amendment of Article 175 of the CEC. If members of the Standing Committee take the responsibility to decide and draw conclusions about compliance or non-compliance of legal acts with the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus, so maybe we should contact them directly? Does the Council of the Republic already act as the Constitutional Court?”
In early March, the Lieninski District Court of Hrodna refused to institute civil proceedings against the Department of Corrections of the Ministry of the Interior, who sent Ms. Sialiun the prison uniform of her dead son after his execution. Later, the Constitutional Court said that Tamara Sialiun should write to authorities having the right to initiate amendments to the Criminal Code, instead of writing directly to the Court. As a result, the woman sent petitions to all the bodies that could help amend the Criminal Code: the President of the Republic of Belarus, the House of Representatives of the National Assembly of the Republic of Belarus, the Council of the Republic of the National Assembly, the Supreme Court of the Republic of Belarus and the Council of Ministers.
Pavel Sialiun was sentenced to death and executed on April 18, 2014. About a month later, his mother Tamara Sialiun received his prison uniform. She was not notified of the exact time and place of her son’s burial. Besides, the woman was not allowed to take his body for burial.