Vyasna human rights group appeals to Supreme Court against registration denial 19:01, 25/09/2007
The Vyasna (Spring) human rights group on September 21 filed a suit with the Supreme Court of Belarus against the justice ministry for its denial of state registration.
The ministry had refused to legalize the organization, insisting that that the charter of the group did not meet the requirements specified in the Non-Governmental Organizations Law. It explained that the name of the organization was identical with that of an organization earlier liquidated by the Supreme Court`s decision. Apart from this, the ministry noted that the charter "contains vague purposes and implies the opportunity for this non-governmental organization to act for achieving purposes that are not stated in the charter," and that some data stated in the list of the founders were wrong. In particular, according to the ministry, there were misspelled names, wrong birthdates and incorrect data about employment.
In addition, the ministry said, "according to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, 20 of the 69 founders of this non-governmental organization, have convictions for committing various administrative offenses, with some having five convictions."
Uladzimir Labkovich, a founder, told BelaPAN that the group could not accept the justice ministry’s arguments, as they were not based on regulations currently in force. “We’ll try to prove this at the court hearing,” he said, adding that the group has little hope of winning the suit, as “this case is political, not juridical.” “We need the hearing to show that Belarus is not a rule-of-law state.” In addition, we have to exhaust all legal remedies available in Belarus to appeal to the UN Human Rights Committee.
The group was meant to be the successor of the Vyasna human right organization closed down by the Supreme Court`s ruling in October 2003 on a charge of acting in violation of electoral regulations during the 2001 presidential race.
The group applied to the justice ministry for registration on July 23. It warned the ministry that the UN Human Rights Committee had found the organization`s closure to be illegal and urged the Belarusian government to grant registration to the group within three months.
At present only two organizations, the Belarusian Helsinki Committee and Pravavaya Initsyyatyva (Legal Initiative), can be legally engaged in human rights activities.