The Belarusians will demand international investigation of the cases of disappeared opposition leaders at a street action in Minsk on August 16.
civil campaign, Stanislau Shushkevich, the chairman of the Belarusian Social Democratic Hramada, Anatol Lyabedzka, the head of the United Civil Party, Syarhei Kalyakin, the chairman of the Fair World Party, Ryhor Kostuseu, deputy head of the BPF party, and Viktar Ivashkevich, the head of the BPF Minsk branch.
An application for holding a rally and meeting under a slogan “We demand international investigation of cases of disappeared persons!” on August 16, the Day of Belarusian Solidarity, was filed to the Minsk city executive committee. The action is expected to start in front of Academy of Sciences at 6 pm, then a march to Freedom Square is planned.
The application reminds that the Russian NTV showed the fill “Godbatka” in the programme “Chrezvychainoe Proisshestvie” on July 4, 2010. The movie directly tells about involvement of Alyaksandr Lukashenka in abductions and killings of vice speaker of the Supreme Council of Belarus Viktar Hanchar, former interior minister General Yury Zakharanka, journalist Zmitser Zavadski, businessman and public figure Anatol Krasouski.
The documentary was shown two weeks ago, but the Belarusian authorities haven’t expressed an official reaction.
“It’s a shocking and inadmissible fact when the official authorities of Belarus are keeping silence about the scandalous programme on one of the biggest TV channels of the neighbouring country. This silence makes irreparable harm to the international image of the Republic of Belarus and confidence of the people of Belarus in the government. We cannot keep silence any longer!” the application says.
The Belarusian democrats demand the General Prosecutor’s Office to initiate a criminal case in connection with the NTV film “Godbatka” and bring to responsibility:
– either the NTV staff on an accusation of defamation;
– Or Alyaksandr Lukashenka on an accusation of organizing, aiding and abetting murders of two and more persons “in connection with performing professional activities or public duties with an aim of covering up a crime or creating conditions to commit it, on the motives of political and ideological feud”.
The opposition leaders note the Belarusian authorities have failed to investigate these high-profile cases since Hanchar, Zakharanka, Zavadski, and Krasouski disappeared 11 years ago. In their view, the NTV documentary may mean new information about the disappeared opposition leaders has appeared.
The politicians demand to carry out an international investigation of these cases under the United Nations auspices and organizing hearing on the cases in international organizations.
“We have a real chance to progress in investigating the cases of disappearances in Belarus. In 2005, an international commission for investigation of the killing of former Lebanese PM Rafik Hariri was created under the UN auspices. Former top executives disappeared in Belarus in 1999. 11 years have passed, but nothing has been done. We are going to address the UN and demand carrying out an international investigation of these cases. The facts we saw on the Russian TV should be used in this investigation,” Andrei Sannikov, the leader of the European Belarus civil campaign said.
“After the film was shown, we have applied to the General Prosecutor’s Office for initiating a criminal case over the movie itself. But Vasilevich hasn’t answered. We are going to apply to the United Nations and the European Parliament asking to hold special parliamentary hearing on the crimes in Belarus. This issue is especially important in the run up to the presidential elections. If the UN and the European Parliament turn to the question, it will guarantee security of democratic candidates for presidency,” leader of the United Civil Party Anatol Lyabedzka thinks.
“We have repeatedly raised a question of political disappearances in Belarus. Russia kept silence until Lukashenka has launched information war on Russia and its leadership. This creates additional opportunities to shed light on the events. The NTV documentary means that Russia has additional information about the cases, has enough materials and can assist in the international investigation,” said Syarhei Kalyakin, the leaders of the Fair World party.
BPF deputy head Ryhor Kostuseu reminded that “Godbatka 2” would be aired today on NTV.
“I absolutely agree with my colleagues. An investigation should be launched in the country and afraid. I think we can do it. We have started preparing the necessary documents.”
According to Stanislau Shushkevich, the first head of independent Belarus, only an international investigation can say where the opposition leaders disappeared.
“Everyone understands who gains from this. But the Russian television made me believe even stronger that the Belarusian high-ranked officials were involved in these events. I’d like to note that we have talented pro-governmental political technologists. They are trying to stir up anti-Russian sentiments in Belarus. But they cannot deceive me. We cannot be enemies with Russia. We are neighbours. Lukashenka can’t be considered a guarantor of Belarus’s independence. A person who doesn’t know what Belarusianness is, doesn’t know what Francysk Skaryna Award is, doesn’t know Belarusian history, opposes the Belarusian language, support only his toadies cannot guarantee independence. The Ukrainians said “we are not trash”. We are not trash either. Such a head of state as Lukashenka can’t lead to real independence, Belarusianness and really goad relations with Russia,” the head of the Belarusian Social Democratic Hramada said.
Viktar Ivashkevich, one of the BPF party leaders, called on the Belarusians to take to streets with a slogan “We demand international investigation of cases of disappeared persons!” at 6 pm. on August 16.
“In a situation when the sponsor and main ally of the regime is in the state of information war, when Lukashenka’s financial pyramid may collapse in the nearest time, only leisure and cowardice of democrats can save the dictatorial regime. We urge all people who want to live in a free democratic country to take to streets with us and express their position. There are three factors able to start changes in the country: courage and determination, courage and determination, and again courage and determination,” Viktar Ivashkevich said.