ICCPR Case Digest

CCPR/C/124/D/2251/2013

Communication

2251/2013

Submission: 2010.06.16

View Adopted: 2018.10.15

Liubou Pranevich v. Belarus

Belarus Wrongly Arrests Journalist, Justice System Fails

Substantive Issues
  • Arbitrary detention
  • Fair trial
  • Freedom of expression
Relevant Articles
  • Article 14.1
  • Article 19.2
  • Article 9.1
Full Text

Facts

The author is a Belarusian national and a journalist for a Belarusian journalist's union magazine. She was covering a book presentation by a famed journalist, publicist, and activist at a bar hired by a political party. An hour into the event, 28 attendees including the author, were detained by police. The author and 15 others were charged with organizing or holding a public event outside of established procedure. The author was released three hours after detainment. All 28 were found guilty of charges and issued a warning as a form of administrative penalty. The author filed a complaint after the trial about a statement made by her arresting officer that was not reflected the transcript of the court proceedings. The officer said in court that although it was the first time the author had attracted police attention, journalists repeatedly wrote articles containing false reports about the police and it was possible that the author had also written such articles. The author appealed the decision to both regional and federal court to no avail.

Admissibility

The Committee noted the author’s claim that her rights under article 14 (1) of the Covenant have been violated, as the State party’s courts were not impartial and she was denied justice; her request to call the organizer of the public event (who was in detention at the time) as a witness was rejected by Moskovsky District Court without any grounds being provided. It noted that the State party had not responded to those allegations. However, in the absence of further detailed information, explanations or evidence in support of those claims on file, the Committee found these allegations insufficiently substantiated for the purposes of admissibility, and declared this part of the communication inadmissible under article 2 of the Optional Protocol.

The Committee considered that the author had sufficiently substantiated her claims under articles 9 (1) and 19 (2) of the Covenant for the purposes of admissibility. Accordingly, the Committee declared the communication admissible and proceeds with its consideration of the merits.

Merits

The Committee, acting under article 5 (4) of the Optional Protocol, is of the view that the facts before it disclosed a violation by the State party of the author’s rights under articles 9 (1) and 19 (2) of the Covenant.

Recommendations

Pursuant to article 2 (3) (a) of the Covenant, the State party is under an obligation to provide the author with an effective remedy.

This requires it to make full reparation to individuals whose Covenant rights have been violated.

Accordingly, the State party is obligated to, inter alia:

  • provide the author with adequate compensation.
  • The State party is also under an obligation to avoid similar violations of the Covenant in the future.

In that connection, the Committee reiterates that, in accordance with its obligation under article 2 (2) of the Covenant, the State party should:

  • review its legislation with a view to ensuring that the right to freedom of expression under article 19 of the Covenant, including freedom to seek, receive and impart information, may be fully enjoyed in the State party.

Implementation

Deadline for Implementation: April 2019

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