New law returns liability for activities on behalf of unregistered organizations

On January 4, the National Legal Internet Portal published law 144-3 which re-establishes criminal responsibility for acting on behalf of unregistered organizations and administrative responsibility for collecting funds to pay fines. The law will come into force ten days after its publication, i.e., January 21.

The law also returns Article 193-1 to the Criminal Code (“Illegal organization of the activity of a public association, religious organization or foundation or participation in their activities”). Article 193-1 of the Criminal Code was eliminated at the end of 2018. Now it’s back.

According to Article 193-1, organizing or participating in the activities of a political party, other public association, religious organization, or foundation, for which the decision to liquidate them or suspend their activities has entered into force, will be punishable by a fine, arrest, or imprisonment for up to two years. The same punishment is envisaged for organizing the activity or participation in the activity of the entities which did not pass state registration. Article 193-1 shall be applied in the absence of signs of the crime specified in article 423-1 (“Failure to implement a decision on recognizing an organization or activity of an individual entrepreneur as extremist, on termination of a representative office of a foreign or international organization and (or) suspension of their activities”).

The article does not apply to organization and participation in activities if they aim to eliminate the violations that served as the basis for the state body’s decision to suspend activities. Also, the article does not apply to cases where the organization of activities and participation in them is associated with state registration.

Persons who have voluntarily stopped the actions stipulated by Article 193-1 and informed state bodies about it are discharged from criminal liability if their actions do not contain corpus delicti of another crime. At the same time, relief from criminal liability is not provided if the persons committed similar acts within two years after the voluntary termination of the actions.

Article 24.57 (“Illegal organization of the activity of a public association, religious organization or foundation or participation in their activity”) was excluded from the Code of Administrative Offences.

Article 24.23 of the Code of Administrative Violations was amended with Part 7, which provides administrative responsibility for collecting money or other assistance to reimburse the expenses of the persons brought to responsibility for violation of the order of organization or holding of mass events. This is followed by a fine of 5 to 30 basic units (currently 160-960 BYN) with confiscation of the object of an administrative offense for individuals. The penalty for legal entities will be up to 100% of the amount (value) of the object of an administrative crime with or without confiscation.