ICCPR Case Digest

CCPR/C/126/D/2495/2014

Communication

2495/2014

Submission: 2014.06.14

View Adopted: 2019.07.25

Mikhail Zhuravlev v. Belarus

Apprehension and conviction for distributing Russian newspaper, violation of the right to freedom of expression and to impart information

Substantive Issues
  • Fair trial
  • Freedom of expression
Relevant Articles
  • Article 14.1
  • Article 19.2
  • Article 2.1
Full Text

Facts

The author is a Belarusian national who claims the state party has violated his rights under articles 2(1), 5(1), 14(1) and 19(2) of the Covenant when apprehending the author as he was distributing a news paper. The author was charged and convicted under domestic prohibitions for the distribution of a foreign publication (Russian registered newspaper).

The author alleged this violates his right to freedom to impart information and freedom of expression. The author also alleged that the domestic prohibitions are in violation of a state party's obligation to ensure the Covenant is reflected in domestic legislation. 

Merits

The Committee found that any limitation to the freedoms of opinion and expression are only permissible to the extent that they are provided by law and only if they are necessary (a) for respect of the rights and reputation of others; or (b) for the protection of national security or public order (ordre public), or of public health or morals. In this case, the Committee found a violation of article 19(2) as the limitation did not pursue a legitimate aim. 

Recommendations

Pursuant to article 2 (3) (a) of the Covenant, the Committee required Belarus to provide the author with an effective remedy, including to make full reparation to the author. Accordingly, the Committee required Belarus to: 

  • take appropriate steps to reimburse the current value of the fine and any legal costs incurred by the author in relation to the domestic proceedings.
  • take all steps necessary to prevent similar violations from occurring in the future.

Implementation

The Committee required Belarus to take all aforementioned measures and update the Committee on progress made within 180 days, or 25 February 2020.

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