strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_style_default::options() should be compatible with views_object::options() in /home/hrwatch-by/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_style_default.inc on line 24.

Statement #4 of the long-term International Monitoring Mission

February 21st, 2011
Minsk

“On the observance of the standards on openness and publicity of court proceedings while handling the criminal cases in regard to the participants of the events on December 19th, 2010”

Acting on behalf of the Committee on International Control over the Situation with Human Rights in Belarus (CIC), which unites representatives of national and international human rights organizations from the OSCE countries;
monitoring the overall situation with the observance of fundamental human rights in the Republic of Belarus, as well as the issues of defending human rights defenders and ensuring their professional activities;
emphasizing that human rights are subject to the direct and legitimate concern of the international civil society;
urging the government of the Republic of Belarus to follow the international obligations undertaken in the field of human rights;

the International Observation Mission,
building on the principle of publicity and openness of the court hearings as an essential element for the observance of the right to a fair trial in accordance with paragraph 1, article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, also enshrined in article 23 “Publicity of the Court Trial” of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Republic of Belarus;
emphasizing that the presence of journalists, observers from human rights organizations and interested public at the court hearings through higher transparency of the court system contributes to affirming the principle of the rule of law and strengthening the authority of justice and individual judges;
considering a high interest of the international community to the events following presidential elections in Belarus on December 19th, 2010 and the public significance of the trials of the participants of these events;
noting with regret that the openness and publicity of the court sessions on administrative cases in regard to the participants of December 19th, 2010 events, were not ensured;
at the same time noting that the court trial held on February 17th, 2011 on the criminal case of Vasily Parfenkov, one of the persons involved in the events of December 19th, 2010, was at least open

1. Expresses its intention to hold public monitoring of the trials of the participants of events following presidential elections on December 19th, 2010;
2. Strongly encourages the authorities of the Republic of Belarus, in particular, the Supreme Court of the Republic of Belarus, individual courts of general jurisdiction and courts’ administrations, which will handle the claims against the mentioned persons:
to grant the observers of the monitoring groups of the Mission free access into the premises of the courts and directly to the courtrooms during the hearings on criminal cases against the mentioned persons;
to conduct these hearings openly, granting access to courtrooms to international observers, media representatives, human rights organizations and the public;
to ensure the necessary conditions to the general public wishing to attend these trials, in particular, to hold hearings on the mentioned cases in the courtrooms with sufficient capacity to accommodate observers;
in a reasonable period of time, but not less than twenty-four hours prior to the hearings, to inform the interested parties about the time and place of hearings, in particular, by placing relevant information at the information boards in the court buildings where the hearings on the mentioned cases will be held, and giving this information on demand to journalists and observers from human rights organizations;
to publicly announce the decisions on the mentioned cases against all defendants with the publication of the decisions in the media;
to guarantee the observance of all the procedural norms in court proceedings on the mentioned cases in accordance with the national legislation and international obligations of the Republic of Belarus in this sphere.

The mission expresses its hope that the state of the Republic of Belarus is ready to demonstrate to the international community its commitment to democratic values and strict observance of the human rights obligations under the ratified international agreements, guaranteeing the accordance of the court trials of the participants of events following the presidential elections on December 19th, 2010, with the international standards of the right to fair trial, and granting the opportunity to conduct public monitoring of the mentioned trials.

Mission Representative in the Republic of Belarus
Konstantin Baranov,

Head of the Mission
Andrey Yurov

News of Belarus

Tough sentences announced to Brest antifascists

A verdict was delivered today in the case of Brest antifascists acused of participation in a group fight with neonazis which happened on May 8, 2013.

Antifascists were tried under the art. 339.3 (malicious group hooliganism) and 147.2 (malicious bodily harm). The case was qualified as malicious due to the fact of pepper spray usage in the fight.

Dzmitry Stsyashenka got 5 years of penal colony with reinforced regime (339.3) and 500 euro of damages to be paid to the injured nazis.

Exclusive: European Union moves to suspend sanctions on Belarus

The European Union is likely to lift some sanctions on Belarus, including its travel ban on President Alexander Lukashenko, after he freed a group of political prisoners last month, diplomatic sources say.

An arms embargo against the former Soviet republic would remain. But in an overture to the man the West calls Europe's "last dictator", diplomats are looking at suspending visa bans and asset freezes on most of around 200 people under sanctions for rights abuses, some since disputed elections in 2004.