Tyvanchuk v. Belarus, CCPR/C/122/D/2201/2012. The case addresses, among other issues, the permissibility of trying civilians accused in a military court of evading customs duties. Excerpt:
7.2 The Committee notes the authors’ allegation that, on 26 October 2004 and 5 August 2005, they were tried and found guilty under the Criminal Code by Minsk Military Court, following the decision by the President of the Supreme Court to transmit their case to a military court, even though none of them were military personnel. While the Covenant does not explicitly prohibit the trial of civilians in military courts, it does not provide for it either. The Committee notes that the trial of civilians in military courts raises serious problems as far as the equitable, impartial and independent administration of justice is concerned. Therefore, in order to guarantee the right to a fair trial, State parties have in general an obligation to take all measures necessary to prohibit the trial of civilians in military courts. In the present case, the State party has not contested the fact that the authors were civilian personnel. The Committee concludes that the trial and sentencing of the authors by a military court violated article 14 (1) of the Covenant. (Footnotes omitted; emphasis added.)
9. In accordance with article 2 (3) (a) of the Covenant, the State party is under an obligation to provide individuals whose Covenant rights have been violated with an effective remedy in the form of full reparation. Accordingly, the State party is obligated to, inter alia, provide the authors with adequate compensation. In the present case, the State party is under an obligation to, inter alia, quash the decisions of Minsk Military Court dated 26 October 2004 and 5 August 2005, and subsequent court decisions based on them, and provide the authors with a new trial, offering all the guarantees set out in article 14 of the Covenant. The State party is also under an obligation to take all steps necessary to prevent similar violations from occurring in the future.
10. Bearing in mind that, by becoming a party to the Optional Protocol, the State party has recognized the competence of the Committee to determine whether there has been a violation of the Covenant and that, pursuant to article 2 of the Covenant, the State party has undertaken to ensure to all individuals within its territory and subject to its jurisdiction the rights recognized in the Covenant and to provide an effective remedy when it has been determined that a violation has occurred, the Committee wishes to receive from the State party, within 180 days, information about the measures taken to give effect to the Committee’s Views. The State party is also requested to publish the present Views and to have them widely disseminated in the official languages of the State party.The case took the Committee over six years to adjudicate.