Belarusian Opposition Party Takes Justice Ministry To Court

February 23, 2011
MINSK -- The Belarusian Supreme Court has suspended hearings into a lawsuit filed by the nonregistered opposition Christian Democratic Party of Belarus (BKD) against the Justice Ministry, RFE/RL's Belarus Service reports.
Vital Rymasheuski, co-chairman of the BKD organizational committee, told RFE/RL the party was demanding that the Justice Ministry's refusal to register the party be ruled illegal.
He said the Justice Ministry had refused to provide party leaders with a written explanation of why it refused to register the party.
But Rymasheuski said that "we are not sure if we are going to continue to participate in the hearings." He added that Justice Ministry officials "told us to bring a Xerox machine to the court and make copies of all the documents there."
Rymasheuski said the surname of one of the party's founders was misspelled when translated from Russian into Belarusian. For that reason, the Justice Ministry said, that person cannot be recognized as a co-founder of the party.
Rymasheuski said that in order to prove that co-founder's identity "we have to bring witnesses to the courtroom, but they live in remote villages and we are afraid we will be unable to bring them to Minsk by February 25."
The BKD has held three founding congresses and applied for official registration three times since 2007, but the Justice Ministry has refused to register it every time.
The court said on February 22 that the hearings -- which started this week -- would resume on February 25.