Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 April 2014, 11:13 GMT

Belarus: The UN Human Rights Committee has registered a complaint, filed on behalf of Ales Bialiatski

Publisher International Federation for Human Rights
Publication Date 27 June 2012
Cite as International Federation for Human Rights, Belarus: The UN Human Rights Committee has registered a complaint, filed on behalf of Ales Bialiatski, 27 June 2012, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4ff59d832e.html [accessed 23 April 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Last Update 27 June 2012

His wife, Natalia Pinchuk and Antoine Bernard, the Chief executive officer of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), were the ones who filed the complaint with the UN Human Rights Committee on behalf of Ales Bialiatski, the Chairman of the Human Rights Center Viasna, and the Vice-President of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), who is currently serving a sentence in a penal colony in the city of Bobruiks.

The complaint claims violations by the Republic of Belarus, of the rights guaranteed by the international agreement, ratified and signed by the government of this county – International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights:

  • Illegally limiting the Rights of freedom of association (Article 22 of the Covenant): the refusal by the Government to register the civic association Viasna in 2007 and 2009, an official warning issued to A. Bialiatski by the General Prosecutor's Office for his activity on behalf on an unregistered association in 2011, as well as criminal prosecution for charges of non-payment of taxes for funds, received and used for legitimate purposes in conjunction with the activity of the Human Rights Center Viasna;

  • Violation of the Right to a Fair Trial (Article 14 of the Covenant): the right to have your case heard by an independent court, presumption of innocence, the equality and parity of sides, the right of the accused to be tried in his presence;

  • Violation of the Right to liberty and security of person (Article 9 of the Covenant) by detaining A. Bialiatski during the preliminary investigation and the extension of his prosecution and criminal proceedings.

The review by the UN Human Rights Committee of A. Bialiatski's case, and a legal assessment of the claims of violations by this international regulatory agency is very significant for the entire Human Rights community of Belarus, since the outcome of the decision in this case should have a practical affect (both on the national, and international levels) on the status of members of the Belarus associations, deliberately pushed out of legal status and placed in the same precarious conditions as A. Bialiatski and his organization.

By ratifying the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in 1992, the Republic of Belarus acknowledged the authority of the Human Rights Committee to accept and hear petitions from individuals under it's jurisdiction, who claim to be victims of violations by the particular member-state of any of the rights listed in the Covenant. In accordance with Article 61 of the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus "in accordance with international-rights laws, ratified by the Republic of Belarus, every individual has the right to petition the international organizations in order to guarantee their rights and freedoms, if all the means of defense of those rights on the national level have been exhausted." Based on the principal of conscientiously fulfilling international agreements, enshrined in Article 26 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (ratified by Belarus in 1986), the state is obligated to fulfill international agreements – like the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and to cooperate with its regulatory agency – the Human Rights Committee – by carrying out its decisions.

The Human Rights Committee, having officially agreed to consider the complaint filed on behalf of Ales Bialiatski, has submitted it to the government on 19 June 2012, which has to issue the necessary information or its objections regarding the facts listed in the complaint within six months, before the end of the year.

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