Constitutional Court decided not to deal with violation of Andrei Haidukou's rights
BCD activist Andrei Haidukou has received an answer from the Constitutional Court regarding his appeal concerning the contradiction between a resolution of Navapolack City Executive Committee regarding a mass event and the international undertakings of Belarus.
In his appeal the activist stated that Navapolack CEC turned down his appeal for holding a picket in support of political prisoners for formal reasons: the failure to pay for securing the public order.
"Resolution of Navapolack City Executive Committee of September 9, 2011 №858 "On amendments and additions to the resolution of Navapolack City Executive Committee of December 10, 1998 №942" states that the payment of expenses related to the protection of public order, health services, and cleaning territory after holding the mass activities is carried out by the organizer (organizers) of the event to police department of the Executive Committee, the health care institution "Navapolack Central City Hospital", Navapolack municipal enterprise of housing and communal services in accordance with the applicable laws, and copies of documents confirming the provision of the services are sent by the organizer(s) of the mass event to the city executive committee together with the application for holding the mass event," quotes A. Haidukou.
However, referring to the international agreements signed by Belarus, Andrei Haidukou draws the attention of the Constitutional Court to the fact that the procedure for payment for these services imposes restrictions on the right of peaceful assembly and makes it dependent on the financial condition of the applicant, which is a direct contradiction to the established international and national laws. In addition, analyzing the international norms and national legislation, the applicant concluded that the right guaranteed by Art. 8 of the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus is limited by the national legislation, namely Art. 5 of the Law "On mass events in Belarus" and even more so by decisions of local executive and administrative bodies.
The activist asked the Constitutional Court to assess the compliance of Art. 5 of the Law "On mass events in Belarus", the resolution of Navapolatck City Executive Committee "On the determination of a permanent site for meetings, rallies, marches, demonstrations and pickets" and the resolution of Navapolack City Executive Committee of July 10, 2015 about the refusal to authorize his picket
with international standards and to make a decision on elimination of contradictions in the legislation.
However, the Constitutional Court refrained from considering the appeal on the merits and confined itself to referring to the indirect access of individuals and entities to constitutional justice under the Belarusian legislation. Therefore, the applicant was recommended to appeal "with the initiative about introducing the proposals, whose consideration is within the jurisdiction of the Constitutional Court, to bodies who possess the right to make such proposals," and returned to the applicant the materials which were attached to his appeal.
Being dissatisfied with the response of the Constitutional Court, Mr. Haidukou appealed to Navapolack City Council with the request to abolish the resolution of Navapolack City Executive Committee № 858 "On amendments and additions to the resolution of Navapolack City Executive Committee of February 10, 1998 of №942" of September 9, 2011, as it fails to conform to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which is a part of the legislation directly applicable on the territory of the Republic of Belarus.
The lawyer of the Human Rights Center "Viasna" Nasta Loika commented:
"The issue of of arbitrary procedural limitations on the right to freedom of peaceful assembly in Belarus is systemic. The restrictions originate from both the law on mass events and the decisions of local executive committees, which further restrict the fundamental right of assembly.
For instance, by its resolution of 1998, Navapolack City Executive Committee's developed an absolutely impossible procedure of pre-payment to the state agencies which render services associated with mass events, though there are no ground for entering into such service contracts before the authorization of a mass event by the local authorities. This vicious circle precludes any opportunity to exercise the right to peaceful assembly. In addition, the resolution of 1998 is not in the public domain, as a result of which citizens cannot learn about such nuances while appealing for hold mass events.
The results of this appeal to the Constitutional Court reflect the general stance of the State on this issue: they don't even want to reflect on this topic. Meanwhile, the facts of the deliberate devaluation by Belarus of the right to peaceful assembly, first of all through the legal practice and its implementation, have been confirmed in about 40 views of the UN Committee on Human Rights. It is important that we continue actively and consequently speaking about this issue and use the new techniques for protecting the right to peaceful assembly, guaranteed by international obligations in the field of human rights on the part of Belarus. Therefore, now we are waiting for the reaction of Navapolack City Council, to see whose side they will take."