The authorities tore up the agreement between society and the state.
“The atrocities and violence demonstrated by the current authorities in Belarus are simply terrible and comparable only to the fascist regime in Germany in the 1930s,” said Hary Pahanyayla, head of the legal commission of the Belarusian Helsinki Committee (BHC) human rights public association, speaking in the European Parliament during the discussion of the situation in Belarus on october 16, the website naviny.by writes.
According to him, in terms of the level of violence, the Belarusian authorities today “exceeded Germany in 1933 twofold”. “The authorities have torn up the agreement between the society and the state, they do not ensure the observance of the rights of citizens, but at the same time they have given complete freedom to the power structures. In an attempt to retain power, the government is using the harshest and most criminal methods of fighting dissent,” Pahanyayla said.
The human rights activist recalled that as before, not a single case has been initiated on the use of violence by the security forces against the demonstrators, while 400 criminal cases have already been opened against the protesters.
“It just defies any comprehension,” stressed Pahanyayla. “In this situation, we are forced to ask the European Parliament and all the structures of the European Union to think over and make an appropriate decision on the search and application of legal instruments that we could use to prosecute both individual security officials and organizations.”
The representative of the BHC explained that it is about the possibility of “using universal criminal jurisdiction”. “This tool is embedded in many criminal and criminal procedural codes of the countries of Europe, the USA, Canada and other civilized countries that support the fight against crimes against humanity,” he said. “If there is political will, if there is a desire among the structures to which we are appealing today, create appropriate focal points for lawyers of those countries where it is possible to apply universal criminal jurisdiction, so that it can begin to operate.”
As an example, Pahanyayla noted that today about 200 Belarusian citizens, including victims of the brutality and violence of the security forces, are in Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine.
“Ukraine opened one of these cases, Poland and Lithuania are also considering options,” said the human rights activist. “We would like this work to move forward faster, so that we have a serious tool to fight the impunity of the Belarusian authorities.”
“What will it give? If we can start cases, according to which arrest warrants will be issued and transferred to Interpol, then this, to some extent, may entail a change in the situation in Belarus,” the human rights activist specified. “Many of the power bloc will understand that impunity is ending, that sooner or later they will be brought to trial and punished. Of course, I understand that organizational and material efforts are needed, but it's worth it.”
Today's hearings in the European Parliament are organized by the EP's Foreign Affairs Committee and the Human Rights Subcommittee in cooperation with the Delegation for Relations with Belarus and the Eastern Partnership Parliamentary Assembly (Euronest).