Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections

Праваабарончы цэнтр «Вясна» беларускі хельсінкскі камітэт


Salihorsk District Court dismisses BPF lawsuit

Salihorsk District Court dismissed the appeal of Mnsk regional organization of the NGO Belarusian Popular Front “Adradžennie” against the refusal to include its representatives in precinct election commissions. Judge A. Burautsou found no violations in the actions of state officials related to the formation of the precinct election commissions.

At the hearing, the representative of Salihorsk District Executive Committee Aliaksei Strapko explained the non-inclusion of representatives of the Belarusian Popular Front in the commissions by their lack of experience of work in the commissions. This argument was countered by a member of the BPF Pavel Batuyeu with irony:

“Whatever strange that may be, but everyone dies, sooner or later. I asked Mr. Strapko, whether elecctions in Belarus will no longer be held after the death of all experienced members of election commissions. That's how the truth was disclosed: inexperienced people were included in the commissions as well. However, the official was unable to explain, why inexperienced members of the BPF weren't included then.”

In its verdict the court referred to the fact that the commissions had been formed with the observance of the legal quota for representatives of political parties and NGOs. Also, the court took into account the argument of the defendant, that representatives of various pro-government organizations during the final meeting on the formation of commissions, whch allegedly witnessed the implementation of the principle of openness and transparency.

An observer of the Belarusian Helsinki Committee Leanid Markhotka blankly disagrees with such position of the court, who stated about the secrecy of the formation of election commissions back before the trial:

“There was no discussion of the candidacies at the final sitting. Nobody was shown the protocols about the nomination of the candidates. It wasn't explained in what respect the included candidates were better than those who were denied membership in the commissions. That's why it is totally unclear what openness and transparency Judge Burautsou is speaking of. Moreover, there is not just the letter but also the spirit of the law. This means that members of parties and organizations must not just constitute one third of a commission, but must also control one another, which means that opposition forces must be represented in them. Now, however, we observe the situation when the election comissions are totally controlled by the authorities, while the verdict of Salihorsk District Court whitewashes this lawlessness.

"Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections"