Protects everyone’s right to life: UN Special Rapporteurs addressed Belarusian authorities
The Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions and the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus addressed the Belarusian authorities about the amendments to the Criminal Code expanding the use of the death penalty in Belarus within the UN special procedures. The corresponding communication was posted on the website of the UN Office for Human Rights.
The Special Rapporteurs requested to “explain how the revised criminal code, especially as far as the provision of the death penalty for the crime of high treason is concerned, would be compatible with Belarus’ international human rights obligations, particularly in relation to the protection of the right to life, set forth in the International Covenant on Civil and political Rights”.
They called on Belarus to suspend the entry into force of the revised Criminal Code.
In addition, the special rapporteurs reiterated their call to consider establishing an official moratorium on all executions as a first step towards fully abolishing the death penalty in the country.
The communication is dated March 22, 2023. However, on March 25, 2023, amendments to the Criminal Code of Belarus entered into force, providing for the expansion of the death penalty for state officials and military personnel convicted of high treason.
The Republic of Belarus is the only country in Europe that applies the death penalty. We are particularly concerned about the possibility of the death penalty being used as a mechanism of political repression and intimidation to stifle freedom of expression and open dissent against the current government.