Minsk police: law doesn't provide for accountability of police officers for not knowing Belarusian language

2015 2015-09-14T12:40:05+0300 2015-09-14T12:40:05+0300 en http://spring96.org/files/images/sources/supracounik_milicyji.jpg The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

The Main Police Department of the Minsk Regional Executive Committee sided with Salihorsk in the case of the violation of the linguistic rights of Salihorsk driver Aliaksandr Malochka.

Let us remind that at the end of June Mr. Malochka was stopped by a traffic policeman. He expressed the wish to communicate with the police in Belarusian, but they didn't manage to draw up the violation report against him in Belarusian.

“The case gained a wide public response and was much written about on the web. Therefore, our party decided to file an inquiry on this case to the Salihorsk Prosecutor's Office. Prosecutor Audzei took it for my personal inquiry as a private individual and refused to consider it,” say the Chair of the Minsk regional branch of the United Civil Party Viktar Malochka. “We had to appeal to the Minsk Regional Prosecutor's Office then. However, they didn't consider the appeal either, and forwarded it to the Main Police Department of the Minsk Regional Executive Committee. The response was given by the head of the Main Police Department Aliaksandr Astreika who used to head the Salihorsk District Police Department about a year ago. As it follows from the answer, the traffic police aren't obliged to know the Belarusian language. On the contrary, it is everybody else who must know Russian.

As it is stated in Mr. Astreika's letter, drafting the violation report in Russian, despite the driver's demands, corresponds to the present legislation and the requirements of the Process-Executive Code, which allows to conduct administrative proceedings in the Belarusian or Russian language, and Mr. Malochka wasn't provided with an entrepreneur as he didn't ask for it (which is not true).

The acting head of the regional police also didn't properly answer the accusations of the UCP that the traffic police don't know the Belarusian language. He again referred to the Process-Executive Code, giving them the right to hold proceedings in any of the two state languages. He also stated that the country's legislation and the legal acts of the Ministry of Internal Affairs doesn't provide for accountability of the police officers for not knowing official state languages.