Surgan v. Belarus

Reference: CCPR/C/114/D/1969/2010

Decision Year: 2015.07.15

Related Articles:

  • Article 19.2 Article 19.3

Keywords:

  • Freedom of expression Right of peaceful assembly

Full Case:

Facts:

On 16 July 2009, the plaintiff was arrested and taken to the police station in Vitebsk for committing an offence under article 23.34 of the Belarus Code of Administrative Offences for organizing and holding mass events. The author was picketing on his own, trying to attach a flag on the bridge railing. On 11 August 2009, he was found guilty, charged with a fine of 175,000 and his flag was confiscated. His appeal was rejected. According to him, the courts failed to prove that he took part in a picket and he furthermore refutes the usage of the term “picket” since he was the only one in attendance. The author claims a violation of his rights under articles 19 (2), 21 and 26.

Committee’s Merits

In absence of a justification of the necessity to restrict the freedom of expression the facts reveal a violation of article 19 (2).

Committee's Admissibility

The Committee considers that the claims under article 21 are inadmissible ratione materiae because of the lack of relevant information. Similarly, the claims under article 26 are deemed unsubstantiated and thus inadmissible.

Recommendation

In accordance with article 2 (3) (a) of the Covenant, the State party is under an obligation to provide the author with an effective remedy,including adequate compensation.

The State party is also under an obligation to take steps to prevent similar violations in the future.

In this connection, the Committee reiterates that the State party should review its legislation, in particular, the Law on Mass Events of 30 December 1997, as it has been applied in the present case, with a view to ensuring that the rights under article 19 of the Covenant may be fully enjoyed in the State party. 

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