You are here
Traffic police head would not fine Lukashenka
The controversial incident occurred during the opening of the Minsk Ring Road 2. The head of state decided to drive a Mercedes on the new road. The photos published by BELTA on October 6 clearly show that Lukashenka was driving without wearing a seatbelt. Channel Belarus 1 circulated pictures, showing the unfastened Lukashenka testing a new ring road. Traffic policeman Siarhei Baran rejected the query of a regular citizen filed to the Minsk rayon department of internal affairs.
Euroradio spoke with the very head of the Minsk rayon traffic police, who did not see grounds for an administrative proceeding against Aliaksandr Lukashenka:
"I wrote the answer on the basis of the main law of our country - the Constitution. Nothing extra. And if someone wants to interpret something in their own way, it's just their opinion. There are as many opinions as there are people. Every lawyer his their point of view. Please feel free to argue and discuss. If I am wrong about something, I will listen to your view and have my answer to it," explains his decision the head of traffic police.
Euroradio: Could you please name the exact article of the Constitution which says that the President can drive without a seat belt on?
Siarhei Baran: There is Constitution. It has an article. The same is written in the law "On the President." That's why I wrote "for lack of an administrative offense."
Article 79 of the Constitution and Article 7 of the law "On the President of the Republic of Belarus," have the same wording: "The president has immunity, and his honor and dignity are protected by law." But what does it have to do with the fact that the head of Belarus does not have to wear a seat belt?
We asked a former judge of the Constitutional Court Valer Fadzeyeu to review the situation:
"I cannot think of an article, which in this case makes the president not subject to the responsibility. On the contrary, the Constitution has the norm saying that everyone is equal before the law (Article 22). In this case, the President must be an example of how to not break the law. Moreover, the Road Traffic Regulations have been approved by his decree," says the lawyer.
We read the article 88 of the Constitution. It has to do with theoretical cases of the President committing treason or other high crimes. In such cases, the decision to lift the immunity off of the head of state is taken by the parliamentarians. With regard to administrative violations, no mechanisms are spelled out.
We turned to the Constitutional Court of Belarus. It did not refer to an article that allows the president not to use a seat belt when driving a car. They explained that under the law, the Constitutional Court supervises the constitutionality of normative legal acts in the state, and our question is related to law enforcement and is not within their competence.
A senior official working with the legislation expressed his personal opinion, why in the story of the Ring Road 2 Lukashenka may not be legally prosecuted. The opening of the second ring in this case can be compared with the ritual of laying the first stone of a building:
"Can we compare a symbolic stone with a construction project? Same here, the special event at the Ring Road 2 can hardly be considered happening in real road traffic."
But according to traffic regulations, only driving school instructor, passengers of special purpose vehicles, a taxi driver in town and those who have medical contraindications (various forms of dermatitis and pregnancy) do not have to wear a seatbelt. The president does not seem to be on this list.