Posted: 06.02.2023 16:04:00

Valentin Sukalo commented on the results of judicial reform

Thanks to the judicial and legal reform carried out in Belarus, justice has become more efficient and modern – as Chairman of the Supreme Court Valentin Sukalo told journalists after his report to the President


Valentin Sukalo noted that the Belarusian judicial system is not standing still, but is being improved. The third stage of the judicial and legal reform has been completed and it is already possible to sum up its results. What did it give?

“First of all, of course, the organisation of the work of the courts has improved. This is indisputable,” stressed Valentin Sukalo. “When we introduced the audio recording of court sessions (and now we will conduct video recording as well), the trials have become completely different: less conflicting and stricter. They more closely comply with the law, with participants in the process restraining themselves. There were practically no complaints about the behaviour of judges, about violations of the rules of the trial. This has made justice both public and at the same time more conciliatory, less conflicting.”

According to Valentin Sukalo, the digitalisation of the judicial system has also brought its results, enabling Minsk to control the organisation of the work of each district court, “Our AIS system enables us to track the progress of each case in each of the 142 district courts. We immediately see the efficiency of each court for a certain period, even for one day. We have reduced the number of adjournments, breaks, and rescheduling of court hearings by almost 40 percent. That is, justice has become more economical, efficient, and modern.”

The Chairman of the Supreme Court also drew attention to the fact that the number of justified complaints about the organisation of the work of courts has more than halved.

“These are the first indicators of the work of judicial reform. It is tangible,” said Valentin Sukalo. “Perhaps, the quality of justice is improving a little more slowly than we would like, but here it is connected with the introduction of new forms of legal proceedings, i.e., the transition to an appeal and the introduction of an additional stage of judicial cassation. This requires, of course, more adaptation. But on the way to this, the quality of the work of the appellate instances is already seriously improving. It means that today the appellate instances – without returning the case for a new trial – actually complete justice themselves, making a decision. This also significantly accelerates the process of justice, making it more modern, understandable and economical.”

Speaking about problematic issues, Valentin Sukalo cited the following figures, “Not many court decisions are disputed through the appeal procedure: only 20 percent of sentences in criminal justice, 12 percent of decisions in economic justice, 5 percent – in civil disputes, and only 1 percent – in administrative cases. Thus, the bulk of cases remain out of sight of higher courts. They also require additional verification. For this, such as a stage as cassation consideration is being introduced, i.e., after the decisions come into force, they can also be checked in the cassation procedure.”