Representatives from the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Belarus, the General Prosecutor‘s Office, the Public Prosecutor´s Office and the Public Monitoring Commission at the Belarusian Ministry of Justice on the occasion of a study trip to Berlin on the penitentiary system in November 2018
Representatives from the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Belarus, the General Prosecutor‘s Office, the Public Prosecutor´s Office and the Public Monitoring Commission at the Belarusian Ministry of Justice on the occasion of a study trip to Berlin on the penitentiary system in November 2018

Strategic Framework

Legal Policy Starting Point

Cooperation between the IRZ and its various partners in Belarus was continued and even expanded slightly during the reporting year. Efforts to cooperate are greeted with considerable interest and openness. The release of the last political prisoners at the end of 2015 and the virtual absence of repression in connection with the presidential and parliamentary elections in 2015 and 2016, the completion without incident of the local elections in early 2018, as well as the role of Belarus in the Ukraine conflict, provide the foundation to build on the dialogue on issues concerning rule of law that have been maintained over recent years, even if deficits persist in regard to human rights, e.g. the right to demonstrate or in connection with the death penalty. Belarus reform efforts will be discussed, and practice-oriented conferences offered as part of this dialogue. Moreover, the IRZ contributes its expertise to the “Rule of Law and Access to Justice“ programme that UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) has initiated in Belarus; it seeks to use this framework together with the participation of numerous non-governmental organisations envisaged by UNDP as a contribution to improving the legislative process, strengthening access to the judiciary and in doing so enabling a greater degree of protection for human rights. However, it was not possible to continue the work in this UNDP project as planned during the reporting year due to intervention on the Belarusian side; the issue will remain on the agenda nevertheless.

Overall Concept

Cooperation with Belarusian partners, among them the Ministry of Justice, the Parliament, the Supreme Court, the National Center of Intellectual Property, the Bar and the Chamber of Notaries, continued and was strengthened in the reporting year. Aim of the IRZ is still to contribute its expertise to the aforementioned UNDP project, especially as it addresses two crucial aspects of the rule of law, namely a stronger legislative process and improved access to the judiciary, also because UNDP has envisaged the participation of various non-governmental organisations in the project.

Foci of Activity in 2018

Civil and Commercial Law

  • Conference with the National Center of Intellectual Property on trademark law and patent law in Minsk

Administration of Justice

  • Conference with the Supreme Court on the introduction of appeals in civil and commercial proceedings in Minsk
  • Conference with the Belarusian National Bar Association in cooperation with the German Federal Bar and with participation of representatives from Bar associations in Ukraine and the Russian Federation on the topics of lawyers‘ monopoly, mandatory representation and specialist lawyers in Minsk
  • Conference in cooperation with the Federal Chamber of Notaries and the Notary Chamber of Belarus on the topics of data protection, liability insurance, as well as the status of the notarial act and its probative force, with subsequent technical discussions in the Ministry of Justice in Minsk

Public Law

  • Conference in Minsk with the Upper House of the Belarusian Parliament on questions of regulatory impact assessment

Criminal Law and Penitentiary Law

  • Study trip to Berlin by representatives of the Belarusian Ministry of Justice, the General Prosecutor‘s Office and Public Monitoring Commission at the Belarusian Ministry of Justice in regard to observance of the rights of prisoners and general organisation of the penitentiary system

Outlook

The IRZ will continue its bilateral work with the above partners and will, where possible, expand its cooperation in the areas of protection of fundamental rights and administration of justice. It will also contribute to the UNDP project as far as the work on this project resumes and is continued. Moreover, exploratory discussions will be held with representatives of universities and non-governmental organisations to identify opportunities for cooperation that would involve junior lawyers in particular.