17 June 2021, Thursday, 11:54
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Nuremberg for Lukashenka: Several Hundreds of Top Officials to Face Justice

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Nuremberg for Lukashenka: Several Hundreds of Top Officials to Face Justice

The lawyer told about the future of the regime and its accomplices.

Lawyer Mikhail Kirilyuk, responsible for justice in the People's anti-crisis administration, told Radio Svaboda about the analogue of the Nuremberg trial for the Belarusian regime, who will be in the dock, how important the cases of crimes against humanity on the principle of universal jurisdiction are.

How will the Belarusian Tribunal differ from the Nuremberg one?

- Nuremberg is often mentioned in connection with the Belarusian circumstances, but still, the Nuremberg trials, the tribunals for the former Yugoslavia or Rwanda are tribunals after the war, war crimes and genocide. There is no de facto war in Belarus today, although many call that degree of legal default a civil war against its people. We have slightly different circumstances.

Why the Belarusians' complaint to the German Federal Prosecutor's Office matters

- We were in contact with the rulers who were preparing cases, with which we submitted to the Federal Prosecutor's Office of Germany, claiming that Aliaksandr Lukashenka had committed crimes against humanity. It was a large amount of material. Now it's up to the German attorney general to decide.

How Universal Jurisdiction Can Work

- Once, most countries of the world signed the Convention against torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Under the Convention, crimes against humanity, such as torture, are dangerous not only to individuals but also to international security, that the principle of territoriality is revoked. In a normal situation, each country investigates crimes on its territory; it is a common principle. If the matter concerns torture, this principle does not work. Any country has the right to open cases, summon people for interrogations, collect evidence. It doesn't matter whether German or Belarusian citizens were affected. The security of all countries matters, so every country has the right to take such measures.

Why does this apply directly to Belarus?

- Belarus has ratified this convention. Few countries in the world have not signed and ratified this convention. If you look at the Wikipedia page, almost the entire world map is green (countries that have ratified the convention are marked with this color). If it comes to fruition, those people whose names will be on the verdict can spend the rest of their lives hiding in countries like Somalia.

Why Lukashenka is specifically accused of crimes against humanity

- It's difficult to prove the connection between the orders issued, according to the German rulers, by Aliaksandr Lukashenka and the crimes committed by the Belarusian security forces. The connection is not obvious; there is no video footage of Aliaksandr Lukashenka giving such orders on camera or confessing to something. But if one looks from the legal point of view, the entire structure is built in the way that it is impossible to commit such things without the consent of the top official. There is a legal structure - the president is in charge of the Council of Ministers. He hires and fires; they answer to him. The Interior Ministry is totally under his control. He is also the supreme commander-in-chief. From a legal point of view, it's impossible to refuse here.

How the international tribunal over Aliaksandr Lukashenka's regime should look like

- The notion of a trial of the regime depends on the state of the justice system in new Belarus. The OSCE rapporteur believes that the justice system in Belarus is so ruined that it is reasonable to open an international tribunal. The Belarusian justice system can't pass sentences on these high-ranking security officials. The OSCE rapporteur suggests setting up an international tribunal.

An international tribunal under the aegis of the UN or consideration by the International Criminal Court

- There were statements that the international tribunal would be under the aegis of the United Nations. It may also happen in the International Criminal Court, if Belarus takes on the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court, as Belarus has not signed the Rome Statute so far. Therefore, these cases are not considered there. The new leadership of Belarus may do it.

How many people can be tried

- All international tribunals are not cheap and fast if one looks at historical examples. There will be trials of several dozen, perhaps several hundred high-ranking officials. All in all, thousands of people have been involved in these crimes. The Belarusians will have to solve the situation with trials. They will have to form a new parliament and a new judicial system, actively participate in public and political life to prevent this again and deal with the current situation.

What other options for the International Court of Justice exist

- The Belarusians must accept the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court. The second option is a tribunal under the aegis of the United Nations. The third option is an intermediate one, and it is universal jurisdiction. If there is evidence to prove the participation of specific individuals in torture who can be identified by some characteristics, one should initiate criminal proceedings against them in the countries that agree to do it, record the fact of the crime. It gives an opportunity to put a person on the international wanted list.

Who will be in the dock except for the leaders of the power bloc and the top officials?

- Thirty thousand people were arbitrarily detained. Every possible international organization, the UN, the OSCE, the Human Rights Committee and others recognize it. They all point out the sentences did not aim at protecting society but at political persecution. It's an official crime under the Criminal Code to impose a political sentence to prohibit a person express thoughts. If a person in uniform (a prison governor or warden) beats someone, it is a crime. All these cases must be investigated.