Guarantor of Constitution protects only interests of handful of officials
The Belarusian judicial system does not depend on the law, but depends on the president, and it is only him, Aliaksandr Lukashenka who can influence the fate of people who have become victims of lawlessness and arbitrariness from courts and prosecuting authorities. Guided by this logic, 37 people from different cities of Belarus sent in late April a collective petition to the President, which has not yet been answered by head of state.
The authors of what they called “an appeal of the Belarusian people to Parliament and President” (it was sent on April 29, the day of Lukashenka’s annual address) demanded from the President to form a commission in order to revise the civil and criminal cases against them and their relatives, because these cases were falsified, which was supported by appropriate evidence. The campaigners asked to publish the results of the commission’s work by the upcoming presidential elections expected this fall.
A representative of this group of citizens, Liudmila Kuchura, told the Human Rights Center “Viasna” that they received no response to the appeal, although a letter from the head of department on work with citizens of the House of Representatives, Viktar Sazon, said that it was forwarded to the Presidential Administration and the General Prosecutor’s Office. The latter, however, sent a run-around reply.
Later, the petitioners tried to arrange an appointment with the President’s aide, chief inspector of Minsk Aliaksandar Yakabson. “As we understand it, Yakabson had sent a request to the Presidential Administration about our petition and on June 10 we received an answer from the Minsk City Executive Committee saying that we were denied personal reception “due to the fact that in 2012 and 2014 the Presidential Administration stopped correspondence with you,” says Liudmila Kuchura. “But if they stopped correspondence with me, it does not apply to the entire group of citizens, since the appeal was signed by 37 people!”
The authors of the appeal consider it necessary to remind the officials contents of Article 40 of the Constitution: “The state bodies and officials are obliged to consider the petitions and to provide a substantive response within the period specified by the law. Failure to review the submitted application must be justified in writing.” In addition, Article 22 of the Law “On Petitions of Citizens and Legal Entities”, which regulates the procedure for the consideration of collective complaints, says: “Collective appeals of thirty or more applicants sent to organizations and dealing with matters within their competence are subject to on-site review unless otherwise provided by these appeals.” There is a corresponding provision of Presidential Directive No. 2 on measures of de-bureaucratization of the state apparatus.
“But we do not ask to arrange trips, we are ready to come ourselves, but, as shown by the situation, the authorities we do not want to see us. Perhaps the president is not very interested in the troubles of the citizens of his country,” says Liudmila Kuchura.
As a result, citizens have no other choice but to send a new appeal to Aliaksandr Lukashenka.
“We once again focus your attention to the fact that all of our appeals, petitions, complaints addressed to you and to other state bodies are well-justified and contain references to evidence. Each violation of the law on civil and criminal cases of us and our relatives is documented. That’s why we have every reason to claim that the cases were not completed properly. And we place all responsibility for this on the Prosecutor General and the Supreme Court. They are responsible, first and foremost, for our broken lives and those of our loved ones who have illegally for a long time suffered and continue to suffer. Add to this our moral losses, and they are overwhelming! And together with them, it is you who share this responsibility, because they are accountable to you, and it is with your consent that they have turned the country into a zone of lawlessness,” says a petition to the President.