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Sanctions or criminal prosecution?

NAM press secretary Artsiom Brukhan in an interview with Malanka

There are important differences between these two instruments of pressure:

  • Let's say that a law enforcement officer involved in torture is banned from entering the EU, but a criminal case has already been opened against him in one of the countries. It would be difficult to involve the suspect in procedural actions (to summon him for interrogation, for example), because there would be a justifiable reason for evasion — the entry ban.

  • The "sieve effect". The sanctions ban on border crossings is often imperfect in practice. An example of this is the story of the head of the Belarusian Football Federation, Bazanov, who was spotted on EU territory, although his name was on the stop list.

  • Sanctions are a political tool, and politics have the ability to change. Unlike sanctions restrictions, criminal prosecutions under universal jurisdiction have no statute of limitations and are not subject to cancellation.

Even one representative of the Lukashenko regime, wanted by Interpol, is an important incentive for European courts to strive to punish other perpetrators as well. And along with them — future criminals from different countries of the world, who torture their compatriots on behalf of the authorities.

At the cost of their own suffering and persistent struggle, the Belarusians fulfill an important function in international law — they create a precedent. This is important, because Lukashenko is not the last dictator in the world, and there is no guarantee that new ones will not appear in the future.


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