BHC’S STATEMENT ON THE SUPREME COURT’S DECISION ON THE LIQUIDATION

1.10.2021

The Supreme Court, represented by Judge Valentina Kulik, upheld the Ministry of Justice claim on the liquidation of the Belarusian Helsinki Committee. According to the Belarusian legislation, the decision is final and non-appealable.

The Belarusian Helsinki Committee is the oldest human rights organization in Belarus, it has been working since 1995. Among the founders of the BHC were such national leaders as Vasil Bykov, Svetlana Alexievich (winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2015), Rygor Baradulin, Radim Goretsky, Genadz Buravkin.

The court considered the documents from the criminal case, the verdict on which had not yet been rendered, as admissible evidence. The court refused to include amicus curiae prepared by experts from Poland and the Netherlands to the case. Also note that the claimant - the Ministry of Justice - ignored the appeal of the largest international organizations to withdraw the lawsuit. The letter of the UN Permanent Coordinator in Belarus was also disregarded.

In our view this court decision is unlawful  and we will try to overturn decision of the court both within the country (through the supervisory review procedure) and at the international level (in the UN Human Rights Committee).

The decision to liquidate the Belarusian Helsinki Committee had been taken against the background of mass and brutal repressions organized by the regime against Belarusian citizens, and, obviously, is a part of a large-scale campaign to eliminate civil society organizations. We had no particular illusions about the outcome of the liquidation claim. The biased nature of the trial, the unfounded conclusions of the court only confirmed the absence of an independent and fair trial in Belarus.

The crisis of human rights and the rule of law in our country makes the work of human rights defenders especially in demand. The court's decision to liquidate the BHC confirms this.

The BHC will continue its activities. Our more than 25 years of experience in monitoring and documenting human rights violations, expertise in the field of human rights, experience in legal assistance to victims of human rights violations, experience in promoting a human rights-based approach, experience in strengthening the capacity of civil society organizations are our country’s need.

We will continue to help people to protect their violated rights. The State and its bodies will continue to be in the focal point of our human rights monitoring and the requirements for human rights provision and protection. Specialists of state bodies, current and future, who are interested in creating a State based on the rule of law and respect for human rights, on respect for the opinion of every person, can always take advantage of our proposals on how to build such a State.

We will continue to provide business with expertise in the field of business and human rights  to help to build sustainable processes and comply with international standards.

The BHC will continue to work with lawyers and the legal community to promote and protect the ideals of the rule of law.

We are grateful to all partners, Belarusian and international NGOs, activists and volunteers of the BHC, our supporters who helped us to protect human rights.

In international practice, an organization is valued not for having a registration, but for its activities and values promoted. Therefore, we will continue to be professionals with a clear and verified position and will continue to work on creating a society in which human rights will not be an empty sound.