The Prosecutor General's Office refused to consider the BHC* request about the burnt Paulovichy village

In early December, the story of the burned village on an emergency basis in the Vitsebsk region gained considerable attention. The BHC* applied to the Prosecutor General of Vitsebsk region with a request to check this fact. However, The Prosecutor General's Office confined itself to vague generalities that the BHC has no authority for such an appeal.

Here's how this incident in Paulovichy was written about in the newspaper “Narodnaya Volia”:

"On the outskirts of Vitsebsk ...a village was burnt. The authorities say that everything was in conformity with the law and that formally since 1992 this village has not existed, because the people were given city apartments and the land was given to "Vitsebskenergo" for the planned construction of a heating plant.

At the same time, people threw themselves under the bulldozers and excavators, "These are our homes, our possessions, our gardens. Give us at least a month for packing.

They were not given time. Everything that was not taken was just burnt..."

Chairman of the legal commission of the “BHC”* Harry Pahanyayla prepared a brief summary of the case.

Here are some excerpts from this summary:

"It is possible that some people have illegally occupied the abandoned houses in the village Paulovichy and lived there until now. In this case, all these people living together, including minors, could be evicted by the court order without providing them any alternative accommodation (Article 41 of the HC).

It should be taken into consideration that all property-related legal disputes are resolved in court, and the authorities were obliged to explain and help those people to resolve such disputes by archiving a mutual agreement or under a court decision."

The Belarusian Helsinki Committee applied to the Prosecutor General of Vitsebsk region with a request to hold the prosecutor's investigation of the fact of property destruction in the village Paulovichy.

In its response the Prosecutor General's Office said that "there are no grounds for considering your arguments", because "there is no information that any of the villagers from Paulovichy appealed to the RHRPA "Belarusian Helsinki Committee" for assistance in protecting their violated rights or that this public association is acting as a representative of these citizens."

Now the human rights activists have complained against such a response the Prosecutor General to the State Control Committee and the Administration of the President.

As Harry Pahanyayla noticed, "such a resolution is an example of a formal attitude towards the case, violates the rights of the public association for authorized humanitarian activities in defense of the public interest, as well as the requirements of the Law "On the Prosecutor General's Office of the Republic of Belarus."

According to this law, "verifications of the legislative execution are conducted on the basis of reports and other data on violations of the law, which require actions of the Prosecutor General." The law does not restrict by whom and on what basis the appeal was directed. Any person in order to ensure the rule of law may apply to all officials with powers to exercise an appropriate control.

*The National Human Rights Public Association “Belarusian Helsinki Committee”. In this and other texts as BHC and Belarusian Helsinki Committee.