PACE General Rapporteur condemns new death sentence in Belarus

Vladimir Vardanyan (Armenia, EPP/CD), General Rapporteur of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on the abolition of the death penalty, has condemned the handing down in Belarus of a death sentence on Viktar Skrundzik for the murder of two elderly people and an attempt to murder an elderly woman in January 2019.

“Whilst I have every sympathy for the victims and their families in this case, I am very disappointed by the judgment of the Minsk Regional Court, handing down a death sentence for a second time, following a retrial ordered by the Supreme Court in June 2020,” said Mr Vardanyan.

“It is regrettable that the judiciary continues to apply the death penalty, although according to reports a first package of legislative amendments removing it from the Criminal Code has already been approved by the National Assembly.

European human rights standards prohibit the use of capital punishment in all circumstances, regardless of the gravity of the offence. Therefore I urge the authorities to introduce a moratorium on the death penalty, as a matter of urgency, and to adopt as soon as possible the legislative amendments removing this sentence from the Belarussian criminal law system. I do believe that solving this issue would significantly improve relations between Belarus and the Council of Europe,” he concluded.

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Death verdics in Belarus since 1990