ICCPR Case Digest

CCPR/C/125/D/2720/2016

Communication

2720/2016

Submission: 2013.06.05

View Adopted: 2019.03.29

Vitaly Amelkovich v. Belarus

Denied application for a peaceful protest in solidarity with political detainees, arbitrary restriction on the right to freedom of assembly and freedom of expression

Substantive Issues
  • Freedom of assembly
  • Freedom of expression
Relevant Articles
  • Article 19.2
  • Article 21
Full Text

Facts

The author is a Belarusian national who claims Belarus violated his rights under article 19(2) and 21 of the Covenant. The author submitted an application with domestic authorities to hold a peaceful assembly in Slutsk, to publically express their support for political detaintees in the country. Domestic authorities declined the application on the basis that there were no detainees in the country. The author appealed this decision, with higher courts declining on the same basis.

The author claimed that Belarus violated his right to freedom of expression and the right to peaceful assembly, noting that it remains unclear what the legitimate aim for restricting these rights is.

Merits

  • The Committee considered that on the information provided, the right to freedom of expression had been restricted arbitrarily, as the restriction did not fall under a permissible restriction - such as national security, public safety, or public order (ordre public). 
  • Similarly, the Committee found that the authors right to freedom of assembly was also violated on the basis that again, no restriction on the right is permissible unless it falls under an established limitation, which the burden of proving falls on the state party.

Recommendations

In accordance with article 2 (3) (a) of the Covenant, the State party is under an obligation to provide individuals whose Covenant rights have been violated 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:

  • (a) take appropriate steps to provide the author with adequate compensation; and
  • (b) take steps to prevent similar violations occurring in the future. In that connection, the Committee reiterates that the State party should revise its normative framework, consistent with its obligation under article 2 (2), with a view to ensuring that the rights under articles 19 (2) and 21 of the Covenant may be fully enjoyed in the State party.

Implementation

The Committee required Belarus to take all measures and update the Committee on progress made within 180 days, or 29 September 2019.

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