Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections

Праваабарончы цэнтр «Вясна» беларускі хельсінкскі камітэт


Formation of Brest regional election commission to be considered by Supreme Court

Supreme Court of Belarus
Supreme Court of Belarus

A number of Brest citizens challenge at the Supreme Court the verdict of Brest Regional Court, which refused to bring a case concerning the order of forming of Brest Regional Election Commission by Brest Regional Council and Brest Regional Executive Committee.

The hearing will start at 10 a.m. on August 10. The matter is that ten people nominated a member of the Movement “For Freedom” Siarhei Vakulenka to the election commission, but he wasn't included in it. The authors of the appeal to the Supreme Court believe that it was done because of his political convictions.

Nine out of ten persons who had nominated Mr. Vakulenka to the election commission challenged his non-inclusion in the commission at Brest Regional Court. However, the court dismissed the appeal, referring to the fact that it wasn't signed by all people who had nominated Vakulenka to the commission.

Meanwhile, paragraph 6 of Article 34 of the Electoral Code states that a complaint may be filed by "citizens, who nominated their representative to a commission by filing an application” and says nothing about the necessity of signing the appeal by all such persons. Therefore, the plaintiffs believe that the court grossly violated their constitutional rights by such arbitrary interpretation of the law.

In their lawsuit to the Supreme Court the plaintiffs state that two rights were confused by the regional court: “There is the right of citizens to nominate to election commissions their representatives (there is a requirement: not less than 10 people should apply for it) and the right to appeal against the decision of the bodies that formed such election commissions (the Election Code has no requirements regarding the number of applicants in this respect)".

A member of the Movement "For Freedom" Dzianis Turchaniak, who is one of the plaintiffs, points: “The demand that the lawsuit be signed by all those who nominated Mr. Turchaniak to the commission, is absurd. For instance, a person may be nominated to a commission not by ten (which is the minimally required number), but, for instance, by 3,000 people. Would it be necessary for all 3,000 people to sign the appeal then? And what if one of them suddenly dies? Will the remaining 2,999 people lose the right to appeal then?”

In case the Supreme Court doesn't take a positive precedent decision on the case, the citizens of Brest intend to file a complaint with the UN Committee on Human Rights.

Movement “For Freedom”