FIDH Congress adopts resolution on the death penalty in Belarus
40th FIDH Congress – 2019 – Taiwan
RESOLUTION ABOUT THE DEATH PENALTY IN THE REPUBLIC OF BELARUS
Submitted by: the Human Rights Centre “Viasna” (REPUBLIC OF BELARUS)
The Republic of Belarus remains the only country in Europe and in the post-Soviet region to apply the death penalty in practice. Despite the tendency towards a significant decrease in the number of executions observed since 1999, between two and four people are executed annually in the country, while 12 crimes are punishable by the death penalty under the Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus.
Human rights defenders of Belarus have repeatedly noted numerous problems associated with the use of this type of punishment: the impossibility of appealing against the death sentences imposed by the Supreme Court of the Republic of Belarus, bans on receiving the bodies of executed prisoners and on disclosing their burial places.
Of particular concern is the use of the death penalty in the face of serious problems with the functioning of an independent judiciary and legal profession in the country, the use of torture and cruel and inhuman treatment, including during investigation, the absence of a national human rights institution, including mechanisms to prevent torture, failure of the Republic of Belarus to comply with international obligations arising from the ratification of the First Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights with regard to the implementation of executions, in spite of interim measures of protection of the UN HRC and failure to implement the Committee’s Views adopted in individual communications of citizens of Belarus, including those sentenced to death. It should be noted that the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus provides for the temporary nature of the death penalty and the possibility of its non-application as a result of a moratorium introduced by the country’s President or its complete abolition. Both Belarusian and international human rights organisations have repeatedly called on the Belarusian authorities to impose a moratorium on executions as the first step towards its abolition.
Certainly recognizing the death penalty as a cruel and inhuman, degrading type of punishment, we urge the authorities of Belarus to:
- immediately introduce a moratorium on the use of the death penalty in the Republic of Belarus as the first step towards its complete abolition;
- accede to the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, thus committing itself to the non-use of the death penalty under any circumstances.