Investigation of Belarusian opposition leaders’ murders demanded in Geneva
16:17, — Politics
A meeting of ICAED (International Coalition Against Enforced Disappearances) members was held in Geneva on March 24-28.
The Coalition unites 42 organisations all over the world. Among them are influential organisations like Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the International Federation for Human Rights. Members of the Coalition representing Belarus are “We Remember” Foundation, Zmitser Zavadski’s Foundation, Charter’97 and the European Belarus Civil Campaign.
Iryna Krasouskaya, a widow of Anatoly Krasouski, a businessman and public leader abducted in Belarus, and a coordinator of European Belarus civil campaign Uladzimir Kobets, represented Belarus at the meeting in Geneva.
The meeting of the ICAED was attended by Emmanuel Decaux, President of the UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances. At the meeting Belarusian activists discussed prospects of criminal prosecution of Belarusian officials, who are suspects in enforced disappearances and politically motivated assassinations in Belarus, charter97.org reporter informs.
Criminal prosecution of the highest officials in Belarus can be based upon a document made up by Christos Pourgourides, a PACE special rapporteur on Belarus.
In his address to the meeting of the ICAED Uladzimir Kobets told about the fate of Belarussian opposition leaders Yury Zakharanka, Viktar Hanchar, Anatoly Krasouski, and a journalist Zmitser Zavadski who had disappeared without traces.
“Since Alyaksandr Lukashenka was elected a president of Belarus in 1994, all civil rights and freedoms are harshly and consistently suppressed. The most prominent opponents of Lukashenka are neutralized in a most brutal manner. They are thrown into prisons, tortured, forced to leave the country. In 1999-2000 the most popular politicians, Yury Zakharanka, Viktar Hanchar, a businessman Anatoly Krasouski and a journalist Zmitser Zavadski were kidnapped and murdered.
In all these cases the official investigation had no effect, but the overall picture of the crimes was reconstructed thanks to courageous actions of civil society activists and opposition, human rights activists and journalists.
One of the key documents was a report by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe’s special rapporteur Christos Pourgourides, published in 2004. The special rapporteur had come to a conclusion that high-ranking Belarusian officials were a party to the disappearances.
The UN Committee on Human Rights has decided to grant appeals of family members, and to lay Belarus under obligation to carry out investigation cases, publish the results, and bring guilty party to justice, to pay indemnity to victims’ relatives. These decisions are not enforced, and would not be enforced under the current regime.
We highly appreciate the contribution of the ICAED to the struggle against enforced disappearances, but we should admit today we are in the beginning of a long road, and there are many ways to further the goals of the coalition.
One of such ways is persecution of the guilty in the countries where the legislation allows for universal jurisdiction. We believe that this policy could make it possible to restore justice in many disappearances’ cases, and should be applied to the cases of Belarusian disappeared,” Uladzimir Kobets said addressing the ICAED session.