Updated at 22:06,23-05-2018

Constitutional Court backs three controversial bills


The Constitutional Court of Belarus has found that controversial draft laws that would extend the powers of the Committee for State Security (KGB), introduce additional restrictions on street protests and tighten penalties for political and civil society groups receiving foreign aid are in full conformity with the constitution.

In a statement on its website, the Constitutional Court said that it had examined the bills as part of "mandatory preliminary supervision".

The Court added that it had clarified some of the draft laws' provisions.

In late October, 26 NGOs petitioned the Constitutional Court to examine the bills for their compliance with the country’s constitution.

They warned that the pieces of legislation run counter to OSCE standards, as well as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, apart from being in violation of the country’s constitution.

The bills would pave the way for infringements on the citizens’ constitutional rights and freedoms, the groups stressed.

The petitioners included, among others, the Belarusian Helsinki Committee, the Law Transformation Center, Alyaksandr Milinkevich’s Movement for Freedom, the Mahilyow Human Rights Center and the Ecodom environmental group.