23 January 2018, Tuesday, 20:52

Congressman Smith: Lukashenka must stand before the Hague court


The Belarusian ruler is guilty of crimes against humanity.

In order to change the situation with human rights in Belarus, world leaders should regularly draw attention to the state of things in the country, and Aliaksandr Lukashenka must stand before the International Criminal Court in the Hague for crimes against humanity, the head of the US Congress’ Helsinki Committee believes, the Voice of America reports.

Making a speech at the event on the occasion of the second anniversary of the brutal crackdown on the 30-thousand demonstration in the center of Minsk on 19 December 2010, an American congressman Christopher Smith stated that the United States should increase the support to the civil society in Belarus.

“In the light of increasing repressions it is absolutely necessary for the US’ government not to just keep supporting the civil society and human rights activists, but to increase this support. We also must take Lukashenka and his henchmen accountable for the way they treat political prisoners and the people fighting for free Belarus”, - the head of the US Congress’ Helsinki Committee stated.

The Belarusian delegation that arrived to participate in the hearings included the chairwoman of the Belarusian Association of Journalists Zana Litsvina, the president of the Belarusian Human Rights House Tatsiana Raviaka and the wife of the political prisoner (former head of the human rights center Viasna and also a vice-president of the International Human Rights Federation) Ales BialiatskiNatalia Pinchuk.

Talking about the situation in Belarus Zhana Litsvina regretfully stated that control over the society and pressure on free media increase in Belarus.

“I have to say today that the policy in Belarus remains the same, that the confrontation is of a tough nature and that in the past 18 years we have for the first time faced the situation when the domestic policies are aimed at only two priorities. First, it is toughening the control over the society; second, it is intensifying the work of the state propaganda machine”, - Litsvina stated.

Natalia Pinchuk agreed with such an assessment of the situation, having emphasized that the international community does not have a right to stay aside, but should in the contrary unite in their pressure on the Belarusian authorities in order for the latter to not only release but also rehabilitate the ones unlawfully convicted.

“The absence of any reaction leads to connivance and further worsening of the situation. In this sense, of course, it is very important to coordinate the positions of the European Union countries and the United States. It is possible to do only by joint efforts”, - the wife of the human rights activist noted.

At the same time the speakers pointed out that politicians in Europe have long begun showing “open tiredness” every time when a discussion concerns another set of human rights violations in Belarus.

“And it is not surprising. Recently I have found out the figure: since 1996 the European Parliament has adopted 114 resolutions on Belarus”, - Litsvina noted.

The Belarusian activists emphasized the toughened control over the Interned – the last remaining fore post of free media in Belarus. According to the speakers, the country’s leadership has adopted a number of legislative measures limiting the access to the politically undesirable web-sites.

“I would ask you to note that among the five web-sites, which are now in the black list, there is the web-page of the human rights center Viasna. However, I am reminding you that we are dealing with human rights protection; we do neither pornography, nor children traffic”, - the head of the Belarusian Human Rights House Tatsiana Raviaka pointed out.

The activists reminded of another ambiguous legislative initiative of the Belarusian authorities – the prosecution of the organizers of the so-called “silent protests”, which were caused by a rapid drop of the Belarusian rouble’s exchange rate last year. In summer 2011, according to the Belarusians, police detained around three thousand people who were innocently silent.