Official inauguration of new building of Belarus' Supreme Court
The official inauguration of a new building of the Supreme Court took place in Minsk on 5 April. Belarus
President Aleksandr Lukashenko was joined by Supreme Court Chairman
Valentin Sukalo and Minsk Mayor Anatoly Sivak to cut the ribbon.
Lukashenko was given a tour of the new building of the Supreme Court,
saw its halls and offices. The Belarusian head of state is expected to
take part in a meeting to discuss the activity of general courts.
The Chairman of the Supreme Court updated the head of state on the novelties, including new technology.
“I wish you every success,” the President said.
major criterion which people use to assess the activity of courts is
social justice. It is not only a guarantee of people’s trust in courts
and justice, but also an important part of the ideology of the
Belarusian state, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he
attended a meeting at the new building of the Supreme Court to discuss
ways to improve the activity of general courts.
always say: people, people, people. I am doing this not for some kind
of populism. I do not need it. We really work for people. If we say that
the state is for the people, we must implement this formula. Social
justice is not only a guarantee of public confidence in justice, but
also the most important component of the ideology of the Belarusian
state. The demand for this justice is enormous, not only in the Slavic
states, but throughout the world,” the Belarusian leader stressed.
must be confident that they will find their rights and legitimate
interests protected in the court. This means that they will be heard and
that a well-reasoned decision will be taken regarding their life
situation. It is very important that people understand why the court
makes such a decision. People who come to court must trust in its
ability to establish the truth. Then they will not have to turn to the President for help,” said the head of state.
Lukashenko stressed that judges need to feel free in making decisions:
not to be afraid of prosecutors, not to depend on the opinion of
investigators, not to look to the local authorities. They must be guided
only by the law. The Belarusian leader said that no one can blame him,
even having certain levers and powers, for pressing judges in any case.
“My main function is, on the contrary, to protect you from any pressure
when court decisions are made. I know that such things happen. Those who
work here know my reaction,” said the head of state.
added that the President is also responsible for the appointment and
dismissal of judges. Moreover, the law enforcement agencies have never
detained judges or conducted criminal intelligence operations against
them without the knowledge of the head of state. “This has never
happened and will never happen. However, the President sometimes
receives certain complaints. I am informed by the law enforcement
agencies as well. When I see that the situation is serious and needs to
be dealt with, as I often say, multiply by two [in regard to the
responsibility for breaching the law]. It is unacceptable for judges who
guard the law to violate it,” said Alexander Lukashenko.
should always be in the center of your attention. Someone needs to
rethink the vision of their profession, be more attentive to people, and
sometimes put themselves in the shoes of those people. Only such a
court will be truly authoritative and fair. You cannot envisage
everything in the law. Here where judges must step forward with their
experience, honesty, decency and integrity,” the Belarusian leader said.
President said the most important task of the
judicial system is to build a strong personnel baseas. According to the
head of state, many issues in this area of expertise have already been
resolved. The prestige of the profession and the appeal of judicial jobs
rose; the state made sure that judicial employees have decent salaries.
is time to talk about the quality of the judicial staff. Their
educational level and high professionalism are essential for efficient
work of the judiciary. First of all, we need to dramatically revise the
approaches to judicial candidates. Candidates running for judicial
offices should have exceptionally high standards of morality, breadth of
knowledge and intelligence, as well as life experience. This is an
objective requirement of the modern-day society,” Aleksandr Lukashenko
Supreme Court should act strategically, stay ahead of the game, and
take the initiative. The President did not give his take on the minimum
age for becoming a judge. “It is up to you to make this decision. It is
rare, yet some 25-year olds are responsible, smart, and educated enough
to become judges. However, you should necessarily have certain life
experience if you have to take decisions that can change someone’s life.
The age by which one can acquire the necessary experience greatly
varies. Therefore, we need to think over the criteria for selecting
judicial candidates,” the head of state said.
President emphasized the need to improve the professional level of
judges currently in office. With this in mind, the Institute of
Retraining of Judges was set up. “However, as far as I know, you are
dissatisfied with its work. Studies are often perfunctory. Training
programs are sometimes out of touch with the reality and future needs.
It is time to dramatically change the way this institute operates. We
need to invite the most educated, experienced and well-trained
specialists, practitioners and psychologists to work there,” the
head of state noted that in the course of reforming the court system
the Supreme Court was granted authority to decide on organizational
support, human resources, and physical infrastructure of Belarusian
courts. The Supreme Court is in charge of all aspects of their
operation. “I think no country has a system like that. I made the
decision because a court system has to be truly independent. We
shouldn’t tie it to some aspen pole to prevent it from getting away. I
don’t need it,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
head of state stressed: “The supreme judicial authority has to act
strategically, stay ahead of the game, and, most significantly, take the
initiative. It is very important for us.” Aleksandr Lukashenko
encouraged Belarusian judges to keep an eye on processes going on in the
society, particularly in the wake of their rulings in order to
determine what needs to be adjusted.
Lukashenko stressed: “Analytical work should also become a priority for
the Supreme Court. It is necessary to fully engage the powerful
intellectual potential the court has.”
of all, Aleksandr Lukashenko is convinced, all Belarusian courts should
follow unified approaches to enforcing the law. To accomplish the goal,
it is necessary to improve the performance of the Plenum and the
Presidium of the Supreme Court. Their views should shape the practice of
all the law enforcement agencies.
Lukashenko said he would like the new Palace of Justice to regularly
host events involving not only Belarusian judges but representatives of
other government agencies. This large-scale building was designed to
host such meetings, conferences, and roundtable sessions. “You see we’ve
built this palace with room to grow for a reason. I’ve rejected several
drafts. First of all, I wanted the building to resemble the Palace of
Independence. I wanted the same style. I wanted everything here to be
genuinely Belarusian,” the President explained.
head of state also reminded that the Supreme Court had recognized the
need to develop a uniform Civil Procedure Code. “But we’ve made no
headway into accomplishing this goal over the course of five years. It
is understandable that not only the judges should be involved in this
work. But since you were the ones to come up with the intuitive and
admitted it has to be done, then you should give a nudge to other
agencies or at least give me a tip,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said. He is
convinced it is time to step up efforts in order to finish the
development of the Civil Procedure Code soon.
President encouraged top officials of the Supreme Court to analyze what
was left unfulfilled in the course of the court system reform. The head
of state mentioned some of the gaps: “I know that mediation – the
opportunity for the sides to reach an amicable agreement before a court
ruling – is not very popular. It is an important thing. If it was
popular, you would have less work to do. The demand for court of
arbitration is low. Let’s try it at last.” Apart from that, according to
Aleksandr Lukashenko, Belarus needs a publicly available digital
databank of court rulings.
Lukashenko mentioned the country-wide anti-corruption campaign. “I
cannot say that corruption has made significant inroads into the
judicial system. However, paradoxically, judges deliver verdicts on
corruption cases and at the same time some of them break the law, too.
Over the past years, six colleagues of yours were convicted of
corruption. I cannot say that we have screened the entire system for
corruption, but some facts were revealed. You know that many more people
compromised their reputation and were fired for that,” the President
his words, it certainly puts the entire judiciary in a bad light;
though the absolute majority of judges are honest and hard-working
people. At the same time, Aleksandr Lukashenko believes that the
situation in the Belarusian judicial system is much better than that in a
number of other countries, including in the neighboring states.
action against corruption is a matter of honor for the very judicial
system. The reputation of the judicial personnel relies on their
integrity. People susceptible to wrongdoing, people with sticky fingers,
should be identified and got rid of fast, because it can only get
worse. In this regard I support the position of the Supreme Court
chairman who approaches some incidents even in a tougher way than the President [though I have zero tolerance against corruption]. And this is
right,” the Belarusian leader added.