Russia, a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, has the right to initiate the investigation.
Andrei Sannikov, the leader of European Belarus civil campaign, writes about this on his blog on Echo of Moscow’s website.
The NTV investigation “Godbatka” remains the main subject for discussions both in Russia and Belarus for the last few days.
Journalists, politicians, and politologists are discussing if the film bears relation to the gas war and the Customs Union, if it is a means of political pressure on Minsk by Moscow, if it can be considered a sign of the end of Russia’s support of Lukashenka.
The discussions are long and detailed, but often omit the main characters of the film – the politicians and journalists abducted and killed in Belarus.
Nobody has asked: what was the end of the investigation?
Are they recognized dead? Were trials conducted? Were at least executors found? The main thing of us Belarusians in the film is turning to the theme of the disappeared persons.
Ti is said in our country: the Belarusian haven’t learnt anything new, we have already known this.
That’s not the point. The NTV film became an important event for the Belarusians not because the Russian TV finally started to tell the truth about Lukashenka, but because the film may launch an international investigation of disparateness of Lukashenka’s opponents.
Yury Zakharanka, Viktar Hanchar, and Anatol Krasouski were abducted in 1999, Zmitser Zavadski – in 2000. Every case is being investigated formally, but not in reality. There are no brave people in prosecutor’s offices to take the side of the law and oppose the authorities.
In 2004, PACE appointed a special rapporteur who was supposed to carry out a kind of international investigation.
His report again confirmed involvement of top officials in abductions and killings of oppositionists. The resolution was adopted by a majority vote. Even the Russian delegation voted in favour, though Russians usually defended Lukashenka, as if he was their baby, during debates on Belarus.
Europe’s position has changed since that time. The almighty realpolitik made the EU, Council of Europe, and OSCE forget about the disappeared persons and stop demanding investigation of the abductions. Russia has never turned attention to disappearances of politicians in Belarus. There was a tragedy in 2005 that didn’t formally have relation to Belarus: killing of Prime Minister of Lebanon Rafic Hariri. A day later, the United Nations Security Council adopted a resolution demanding to bring the guilty to justice, also an international investigative team was formed by the UN to carry out an independent investigation. In 2090, a special tribunal for Lebanon opened in The Hague in 2009.
It is a precedent, after all. Hariri is a former prime minister who joined the opposition.
Yury Zakharanka was a former interior minister. Viktar Hanchar was a vice speaker of the parliament. Both joined the opposition. The film also tells about involvement of the authorities in a mysterious death of parliament’s vice speaker Henadz Karpenka. The movie can rally launch the international investigation of abductions and killings of the Belarusian opposition members. Besides, Russia is a permanent member of the UN Security Council able to initiate and support the investigation.
It’s bad to be a victim of dictatorship, but being a victim of realpolitik is far worse.
The families of the missing persons have been knocking at all doors for ten years but hear in response: “Well, but only four people are missing…
Thousands of people disappeared in Iraq under the rule of Saddam, this is a different matter. You Belarusians do not have enough victims.” If you agree with the statement, if you agree the number of victims is small, imagine you were a widow who is told killing of her husband is a trifle against the background of the world revolution. If it were some thousands or at least some hundreds more of people killed on a supreme order, it would be topic for discussion.
So, it’s not so important for Belarus that Moscow has given the black spot to Lukashenka.
We expect Russia’s assistance not in changing the power but in investigation the disappearances. Moreover, the film release is apparently caused by new additional information about these high-profile cases, which have met the attempts of hushing up in the recent years.