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On judicial practice regarding adoption cases

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Court/Judicial body: Plenum of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Belarus
Date: 20 December 2000 CRC
Provisions:  General reference to the CRC without specific articles cited
Other international provisions: UN Declaration of the Rights of the Child UN Declaration on Social and Legal Principles relating to the Protection and Welfare of Children, with Special Reference to Foster Placement and Adoption Nationally and Internationally
Domestic provisions: Constitution of the Republic of Belarus Family and Marriage Code Law “On the rights of the child” Council of Ministers statute on adoption and control over the living conditions and upbringing of children in the families of adoptive parents on the territory of the Republic of Belarus Council of Ministers statute on international adoption and international guardianship and custody Resolution

Case summary

Background: This resolution was prepared by the Plenum of the Supreme Court by virtue of the authority conferred on it by art. 51 of the Courts and Court System Code of the Republic of Belarus. According to art. 51, the Supreme Court’s Plenum considers materials relating to the judicial practice and statistics and provides judicial interpretation of the applicable legislation.

Issue and resolution: Adoption. The Court issued recommendations after reviewing judicial practice regarding child adoption with a view to achieving correct and uniform application of the relevant legislation in courts.

Court reasoning: After reviewing the judicial practice of the lower courts, the Supreme Court made the following observations and recommendations regarding adoption cases: Adoption proceedings require the compulsory participation of the adoptive parents, the representative of the guardianship and custody body, the public prosecutor and, in cases of international adoption, the representative of the national adoption centre. The courts can only decide on the merits of a case after obtaining an evaluation, by the guardianship and custody bodies, on the compatibility of the adoption with the child’s interests. Foreign citizens must obtain the permission of the Ministry of Education of Belarus for the adoption as well as the consent of a competent body in their State. Adoption proceedings must be conducted in a closed court. The consent of the biological parents is required for adoption. If the biological parents are under 18 years of age, the consent of their parents or legal guardians is required as well. The separation of siblings is permitted only if it is consistent with the best interest of the child and the adoptive parents do not insist on the secrecy of adoption and ensure the possibility of communication between the siblings. Adoptive children have the same rights and obligations in relation to their adoptive parents and other relatives as biological children. Adoption can be annulled on the grounds set forth by law. The court determines the legal consequences of the adoption annulment.

Excerpt citing CRC and other relevant human rights as in full-text resolution in Russian: “Если международным договором Республики Беларусь установлены иные правила, чем те, которые содержатся в законодательстве о браке и семье Республики Беларусь, то применяются правила международного договора (ч. 2 ст. 237 Кодекса Республики Беларусь о браке и семье). Судам иметь в виду, что Конвенция о правах ребенка, принятая Генеральной Ассамблеей ООН 20 ноября 1989 г., обладает для Республики Беларусь обязательной силой, поскольку ратифицирована Республикой Беларусь 1 октября 1990 г. Что касается Декларации прав ребенка, провозглашенной Генеральной Ассамблеей ООН 20 ноября 1959 г., и Декларации о социальных и правовых принципах, касающихся защиты и благополучия детей, особенно при передаче детей на воспитание и их усыновлении на национальном и международном уровнях, принятой Генеральной Ассамблеей ООН 3 декабря 1986 г., то они являются документами, декларирующими общепринятые принципы в рамках защиты прав детей.”

CRIN English translation: “If the provisions of an international agreement of the Republic of Belarus differ from those established by the family and marriage national legislation, international norms shall prevail (art. 237(2) of the Family and Marriage Code. The courts must take into account that the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child is binding on Belarus, as it was ratified by the Republic of Belarus on 1 October 1990. As to the UN Declaration of the Rights of the Child and UN Declaration on Social and Legal Principles relating to the Protection and Welfare of Children, with Special Reference to Foster Placement and Adoption Nationally and Internationally, they provide generally accepted principles in the area of the protection of children’s rights.”

CRIN comments:  CRIN believes this resolution is consistent with the CRC. The resolution recognises that the best interests of the child shall be the paramount consideration in cases of adoption, in accordance with Articles 3 and 21 of the CRC.

Citation:  Постановление Пленума Верховного Суда Республики Беларусь от 20 декабря 200 г. № 9 “О судебной практике по делам об усыновлении (удочерении)”

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