Vasil Yuzepchuk's case
Was sentenced to death by the Brest Regional Court on June 29, 2009.
October 2, 2009, the Judicial Board for Criminal Cases of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Belarus considered the cassation appeal of V. Yuzepchuk and S. Huchenka and left the verdict of the Brest Regional Court unchanged, thereby dismissing the appeal.
October 12, 2009 the individual communication of V. Yuzepchuk was registered at the United Nations Human Rights Committee. In accordance with the rules of procedure, the Human Rights Committee requested the government not to carry out the death sentence against V. Yuzepchuk until the complaint was considered on the merits.
However, in violation of the commitments, the sentence was carried out, allegedly on March 18, 2010.
October 20, 2007 the traffic police patrol service found A. Aranovich, who was in the state of alcoholic intoxication, and took him to the sobering-up station. When he was found, his money, wedding ring and mobile telephone were missing. The same day a SIM-card, registered in the name L. Yuzepchuk, was put in the telephone.
January 9, 2008 V. Yuzepchuk was detained and placed in temporary detention center at the Drahičyn District Police Department.
January 19, 2008 he was charged with the murder of elderly women in the Drahičyn district, committing burglaries in the Drahičyn district and a robbery in the Hrodna region.
The court found him guilty under part 2 of Art. 139 (murder with aggravating circumstances), and parts 2 and 3 of Art. 207 (robbery).
Significant violations during the investigation and the circumstances of the case that weren't considered by the court and/or influenced the verdict
- What concerns the episode concerning Aranovich and the stolen phone, it's worth noting that in his explanations of October 14, 2007 and his interrogation as victim on November 13, 2007 A. Aranovich pointed that he couldn't explain under what circumstances he had lost his belongings and money, referring to the heavy intoxication. He also pointed at the absence of facts of violence against him, and therefore stated about a theft. A year later, A. Aranovich identified Vasil Yuzepchuk by a photo and testified that he had been beaten. However, there weren't discovered any bodily injuries to confirm his words.
- V. Yuzepchuk repeatedly testified during the investigation and at the trial that the police repeatedly used violence against him, inflicted bodily injuries, he was subjected to tortures and ill-treatment – he said that he was starved and placed in the penal cell for long periods of time, as a punishment for the violations he hadn't committed, he was also forced to take unknown pills and alcohol that affected his psyche and the ability to adequately assess what was happening with him. He was also threatened that his friends and relatives would be put in jail. All this was done in order to force him to confess that he was guilty of murders, robberies and thefts which he, according to his words, hadn't committed, but had to give such testimonies under the influence of violence and ill-treatment by law enforcement officials. The infliction of bodily injuries to V. Yuzepchuk is confirmed by the conclusion of an expert who pointed that this injuries could be possibly inflicted at the time and in the circumstances specified by the defendant. There were also established the facts of calling the ambulance for V. Yuzepchuk during his detention in the detention center. The court dismissed these facts, referring to an inspection held by the prosecutor's office.
- During the inspection, officers of the prosecutor's office didn't request copies of any written materials, such as the register of calls of the ambulance, didn't question the medics regarding the V. Yuzepchuk's complaints about the state of health and the presence of injuries on his body. The recordings of the video surveillance cameras weren't studied, the fact of their destruction or absence wasn't considered, the documents regarding the persons who had visited V. Yuzepchuk in the temporary detention center and in the remand prison weren't studied. The staff of these penal institutions weren't asked whether there had been any undocumented visits of operations officers, investigators or other persons to him, taking into account that all visits to the accused must be registered. What concerns the facts that were set forth by V. Yuzepchuk, the witnesses of the use of threats and violence against him weren't interrogated, including his mother, Varvara Yuzepchuk who had seen and heard him being beaten and threatened at the Drahičyn District Police Department.
- The only direct evidence of Yuzepchuk's guilt are his confessions and the testimony of S. Huchenka, who made analogical statements about tortures with the requirement of the incrimination.
- During the court hearings, V. Yuzepchuk and his counsel made a motion for the interrogation of a witness, S. Yuzepchuk, who had testified about seeing some money in V. Yuzepchuk's hands. The court dismissed this motion, which means that Vasil Yuzepchuk was deprived of the opportunity to interrogate a witness who testified against him, though his testimony was read at the trial and was used for the accusative verdict. V. Yuzepchuk was also deprived of the opportunity to summon the witnesses that could confirm his alibi.
- According to conclusion №190 of the expert commission, V. Yuzepchuk had a mild mental retardation. He was Roma by ethnicity. Vasil Yuzepchuk was illiterate and could neither read nor write. He also didn't orient in the calendar dates, being unable to explain on what day and in what months some events happened – he could only say that something happened in summer or in winter.