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About plans how to use universal jurisdiction mechanisms

Source: BELSAT
Source: BELSAT

Press release of the United Transitional Cabinet of Belarus of December 2, 2022

As the Italian jurist Cesare Beccaria wrote: "The inevitability of punishment, even moderate, always produces a stronger impression than the fear of being subjected to the most severe punishment if there is the hope of impunity”.

That is why the United Transitional Cabinet of Belarus aims to take all necessary and possible legal measures to ensure unavoidable and fair punishment for perpetrators of crimes against humanity, war crimes, and acts of international terrorism.

In this way, we will put legal pressure on the Lukashenko regime, which, in our opinion, will contribute:

  • Rejection of the individuals concerned for various reasons from further criminal activities, including on the border with the European Union.

  • Reduction of politically motivated repressions against citizens of Belarus and, possibly, a certain split in the ranks of the so-called siloviki.

  • Sabotage of criminal orders for direct participation of the Belarusian military in combat actions on the territory of Ukraine.

As of December 2022, more than 10 applications from at least 50 people in four countries have been filed to prosecute specific rank-and-file perpetrators of violence and torture, as well as their leaders. Files are being prepared in two more countries.

Based on the analysis of the problematic aspects of the application of universal jurisdiction mechanisms, the Cabinet has already sent proposals to a number of countries (the Czech Republic and Poland) for the authorized bodies (the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Parliament) to provide clarifications on how investigators and other bodies should take into account in their activities the specifics of the crisis in Belarus (for example, not to apply certain legal provisions obliging to interact with representatives of the Lukashenko regime). Amendments to the national legislation were suggested as the best solution.

Measures will be taken to conclude agreements between the United Transition Cabinet of Belarus and a number of countries (primarily Poland and Lithuania) on mutual legal assistance. This will give state agencies a legal opportunity to provide the Cabinet with basic information on relevant cases. Besides, such agreements can be extended to the sphere of protection of rights of refugees and other citizens of Belarus abroad (settlement of visa issues, etc.).

At the moment, applications are being prepared to declare suspects wanted (previously it was impossible due to the failure to pass certain procedural steps). This step is our main intermediate goal.

Creation of a joint investigation team with Poland, Lithuania, Germany, Sweden, Norway, the Czech Republic and Ukraine to investigate crimes of torture and violence against citizens of Belarus starting from 2020 has been found expedient.

The Cabinet is forming a working group of representatives of democratic structures, human rights defenders, lawyers, the main purpose of which will be to develop a strategy for further work towards universal jurisdiction.

We need the support of every lawyer, human rights activist, politician, journalist and every Belarusian who believes in the ideals of justice, fairness and inevitability of punishment.


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