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Persecution of Lukashenka and his accomplices under universal jurisdiction in France

French lawyer Maho Vanson
French lawyer Maho Vanson

Persecution of Lukashenka and his accomplices under universal jurisdiction in France according to French lawyer

It happens that the crimes are obvious, but politics and bureaucracy interfere with punishing the perpetrators. The Belarusians know this very well. But Lukashenka has become so toxic that lawyers around the world are making efforts to bring him to justice, including under the principle of universal jurisdiction (UJ). Lawyer Maho Vanson spoke about this direction in France.

"Our law says: a person can be held accountable for acts of torture committed abroad if he is in France. The courts confirmed this, but indicated that:

  • the offender must be in France only during the prosecution — this is not required for the investigation;

  • the presence of an accomplice in France is sufficient".

"French law provides for Criminal Justice for crimes against humanity under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC). But the conditions for the use of UJ are more stringent than those under the UN Convention:

  • only the prosecutor's office can initiate a criminal case;

  • it is necessary to check whether any national jurisdiction has requested the extradition of the person;

  • the defendant must live in France;

  • the principle of double recognition of the crime must be respected".

"The fact that Belarus is not a party to the ICC or the Convention against Torture is not a problem: torture is also a crime under its legislation. The main difficulty in persecuting Lukashenka and his officials is that they move very little. The condition of being in France is not met, and this may lead to the French side abandoning its jurisdiction".

"But lately there has been a mobilization in France to discuss the blocking of the UJ in the laws. A number of human rights defenders, lawyers, politicians have already taken important steps. For example, Senator Jean-Pierre Sur introduced an amendment to remove obstacles to the Office of Justice, and it was supported by the French Coalition of the ICC".

"Yes, there is still resistance, mainly political, against the introduction of the UJ mechanism in France. We must constantly raise our voices and try to shake things up. Moreover, there is no doubt that from a political point of view, France's support for the Belarusian people is absolute".

On December 2, the Head of the NAM Pavel Latushka raised the issues of applying universal jurisdiction and recognizing the Lukashenka regime as terrorist at a meeting with the French special representative for Belarus, Ambassador Nicolas de Lacoste.


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