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Belarus: Former Chair Of Constitutional Court Discusses Resignation

Washington, 24 January 1997 (RFE/RL) -- Valery Tikhinya, the former head of the constitutional court of Belarus, said he resigned from the court last November in protest of what he called the illegality of a referendum about a new Belarus presidential constitution.

Tikhinya visited RFE/RL's Washington office for an interview today. He is in the United States for a week-long visit on the invitation of the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights -- a non-profit organization based in the U.S. and dedicated to protecting the human rights of the judicial community around the world.

During his interview, Tikhinya said that along with him, five others of the 12-member court also resigned in protest over what he called the "illegal actions" of the Belarus government. According to Tikhinya, the constitutional court in Belarus is no longer functional because it no longer has a quorum.

He also stated that Belarus now has two conflicting constitutions -- the one adopted in 1994 which was created legally; and the one adopted in 1996 which Tikhinya said "creates a dictatorship of one person with unlimited power."

When asked about the legality of a possible integration of Russia and Belarus into a confederation, Tikhinya said that according to both constitutions, such a confederation would be illegal.