23 June 2017, Friday, 10:05

Mother Remembers: Ulyana Zakharanka’s Claim To Be Considered By UN

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The Human Rights Committee registered the claim of the General Yury Zakharanka’s mother for consideration.

In the claim, Ulyana Zakharanka asks to recognize Yury Zakharanka dead. Chief of the Human Rights Treaties Branch of the UN HRC Ibrahim Salama has informed head of the Belarusian Documentation Center Raisa Mikhailouskaya about the registration of the communication on June 14, 2017.

The website of the Belarusian Documentation Center asked Raisa Mikhailouskaya to comment on this fact.

- Yury Zakharanka (former Minister of Internal Affairs of Belarus) was forcibly abducted on May 7, 1999. More than 18 years ago. I will not stress the political component of the case now. His mother Ulyana Ryhorauna is 93. During all these years, she knew nothing about the fate of her son, she has not received a single penny from the state for the loss of a breadwinner, she cannot make any notarial actions to take or leave the legacy property of her son. She has two granddaughters and two great-grandchildren. They all depend on one piece of paper - an official recognition of Yury Zakharanka as dead. Our justice denied them in this already twice. In 2002, when the wife Volha Zakharanka addressed with such claim, and in August 2016, when it was Ulyana Ryhorauna who appealed to the court.

In March this year Ulyana Zakharanka, with our help, submitted a claim to the Human Rights Committee of the United Nations in connection with the refusal to obtain justice in the Republic of Belarus and the violations of her rights under Part 1 of Art. 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Literally in 2 months we received a message from the Committee about its registration. Based on our experience of interaction with the Committee’s team on petitions, we will ask for an emergency consideration of this complaint again in view of the advanced age of the applicant.

- What does Ulyana Zakharanka points at and asks for in her claim to the HRC UN?

- In the claim the applicant states there had been a violation of Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights – the right to a fair trial – with regard to her, by the Republic of Belarus. And it actually happened - no trial on the recognition of Yury Zakharanka dead was carried out. Here is the chronology of 93-year-old mother's struggle with the judiciary system:

On May 24, 2016 Ulyana Zakharanka appealed to the Kastrychnitski district court of Minsk to recognize her son Yury Zakharanka dead.

On May 30, 2016 the judge of the Kastrychnitski district court of Minsk in his office issued a resolution on the suspension of the proceedings.

On June 15, 2016 Ulyana Zakharanka complained about the mentioned resolution to the judicial board on civil cases of the Minsk City Court, which turned down the complaint by its resolution dated August 1, 2016.

On August 12, 2016 Ulyana Zakharanka and her lawyer appealed the resolution which had come in force to the presiding judge of the Minsk City Court, who refused to satisfy the appeal.

On October 7, 2016 the court resolutions were appealed by Ulyana Zakharanka’s lawyer to the head of the Supreme Court, who turned down the appeals.

Thus, all domestic opportunitites of the legal protection have been exhausted, and the state once again ignored its responsibilities for the protection of citizens' rights. The denial to consider the case on the deceased announcement is actually a denial of access to justice for Ulyana Zakharanka in the resolution of her civil rights. Such a denial cannot be justified by any objective and reasonable grounds.

In the complaint, Ulyana Zakharanka presumes that “...such positions of the courts are most likely predetermined by the position of Aliaksandr Lukashenka, who repeatedly stated that the missing poiticians were alive, hiding abroad. However, he gave no real evidence. Thus, on February 3, 2017 Lukashenka said at the “Big Talk” press-conference: “I think Vitya Hanchar or someone else was photographed in Germany. We got hold of this and started bombarding the Germans with questions – where do these photos come from? Where? We got no reply yet...” Also: “There are many different versions in the society. I am the most interested person, but I know nothing more. It’s not accepted to talk badly about the dead, if they left us, but I hope their traces will be revealed someplace.”

It should be noted that the version that the missing politicians were alive in Germany, was studied by the German Government in 2002. However, it was not confirmed.

Ulyana Zakharanka requests the Committee to recognize the duty of the State of the Republic of Belarus to provide effective remedies against the said violations, including immediate consideration of the case to declare Yury Zakharanka dead and pay her appropriate compensation, which should be no less than the amount that she could get from owning her own property if she had been granted such a right without undue delay..