EU urges Belarus to move towards death penalty abolition
Address by Dirk Schuebel, head of the EU Delegation to Belarus, on the occasion of the European and World Day against the Death Penalty
"Dear Friends and Colleagues, today is the European and World Day against the Death Penalty.
The EU has a strong and and unequivocal opposition to the death penalty at all times and in all circumstances. We have long advocated for a global moratorium on the capital punishment as the abolition of the death penalty worldwide is an objective of the EU’s human rights policy. We therefore welcome the global trend where the number of countries that are still executing
people continues to fall. Last year, no executions took place in 176 countries, representing 91% of the UN member states.
We urge Belarus to move towards death penalty abolition, too. The increasing lack of justice and rule of law in the country is reason enough for the introduction of a moratorium – the space for arbitrariness and juridical errors is vast. Belarus remains the only country in Europe that applies the death penalty. It is true that the authorities have always provided scarce reporting on the
executions, however, recently the procedure have become even more secretive. Often, not even the convicts’ families are allowed to know whether and which of the death row inmates have been executed and which remain alive. It is still unclear whether Viktar Skrundzik, sentenced to death in March 2020, was executed this August or September as only ambiguous state TV reports hint at that. The relatives of another death row inmate, Viktar Paulau, think he was “most likely executed” by this June, but again, they received no official confirmation.
The world has put forward a dozen strong arguments against the capital punishment, so just like torture and slavery, it must be irreversibly removed from the justice systems of all societies, including, of course, Belarus."