30 September 2022, Friday, 11:58
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MEP: Lukashenka's Clique Should Know They Will Be Arrested

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MEP: Lukashenka's Clique Should Know They Will Be Arrested
VIOLA VON CRAMON-TAUBADEL

They will sit in the dock at the International Court of Justice.

How will Europe react to Lukashenka and Putin's war games? Should we expect new sanctions against the Belarusian regime? Will the European Parliament support a lawsuit against the usurper?

German MEP Viola von Cramon spoke about that in her interview with Charter97.org.

- Would you consider sanctions which the EU has imposed against Lukashenka regime to be sufficient?

- Now we see that at least the sanctions are fully in place. We'll see now that Lithuanians close their Klaipėda port. We still have to work on oil refinery products to get them banned from Estonian ports — this is still not happening. So this would need to be included in the next sanctions package.

It took some time, for example, for the Norwegian company Yara to stop buying potash from BelarusKali. We see that Belarus has quite a competitive position on those goods where there's an oligopoly globally, and we have to make sure we include all the strategic goods in the next package and no exemptions with European Union member states, but also with the affiliated states such as EFTA, such as Norway.

On top, we are also asking for more financial sanctions on banks. We know that Raiffeisen Bank is extremely involved. We know that many of the political elite from Belarus is extremely fortunate and put their money through either offshore but also through Raiffeisen Bank accounts. This needs to be ensured that there are no loopholes, there are no exemptions.

This will really not target the overall population in Belarus but rather those individuals who support Lukashenka with system of force, who are responsible for those cruel tortures. And this needs to be ensured that there are no exemptions anymore.

- Do you see European parliament at some point could support complaint against Lukashenka with the court in Hague?

- Yes, absolutely. It is the right approach. It's good that Poland started. We have a debate already for quite some time here together with the Human Rights (DROI) and Foreign Affairs (AFET) committees of the European Parliament and people who work on Belarus. But of course we have to enlarge that, we have to raise awareness and each and every country should open kind of a case and indictment. This needs to be done really publicly as a support for the people of Belarus, so they see, we support their case, that it's not just Poland, but it's almost all countries in the European Union that care about that and make sure that this guy has no legitimization.

In Germany, for example, we have now the Syrian case against people who were part of the torturing system and in the intelligence and security system in Syria. I think we have to do the same with Belarus, starting from Lukashenka, but not just stopping there, but having all of his clique, his entourage.

People who are involved in the state apparatus and the institutions of power need to know: in the end they will be arrested. They will sit in the dock at the International Court. And this must be in our interest: not to have the Lynch justice but to have proper rule of law prosecution against them.

- What the EU will do with respect to Lukashenka in case if he actually supports the full-scale invasion in Ukraine by Russian forces?

- You cannot decouple this from Putin's attitude towards the European Union. Lukashenka is just a puppet of Putin. He is himself a criminal, but now he is a hostage Putin, his is completely in the hands of Putin. We see now not just a few Russian soldiers, but around 30,000. So, Belarus is not independent anymore, it's a military base of the Russian Federation.

He has committed crimes against humanity. He is responsible. He is the one why we had to put the sanctions, but now he's even posing military threat or he is the one who allows military threat against his neighbor Ukraine.

Our Ukrainian partners told us, there's a huge concern that already now the Russian security forces, let's say, "little green man", already are penetrating through these open borders from Belarus to Ukraine. Already now. And so Belarus is a real threat in that respect to Ukraine, even if Kyiv is very reluctant to speak about that out loud. But, there's a huge concern that Lukashenka works actually on behalf of Putin now.

- Are they already trying to probe the Ukrainian border?

- There is a lot of speculation whether Putin will go for a full-fledged attack or war, will it be from one or another side. But what is obviously clear is that Putin will not decrease the pressure and he will not abolish the intimidation.

So how is he going to do this if there is not a full-fledged military attack? Hybrid operations, all kinds of KGB classical style provocations, disinformation and so on. And from there, our people are pretty sure that different "intermediate people" have already started coming from the Belarusian side into Ukraine. You cannot prove that, but it's a high probability.

- The West is very clear on the very strong sanctions against Putin in case there will be full-scale invasion of Ukraine. So far, we have almost zero such statements with regard to Lukashenka.

- No, it's the opposite. Come on. We have just statements against Putin, we have no sanctions in place, but against Lukashenka there's a lot of sanctions and there's a lot of rhetoric. That's clearly not fair, that's not true. There's a lot of clear sanctions against Lukashenka from the Council, from the Commissioner, but also from the Parliament. And this has been proven many times.

The main actor here is not Lukashenka, the main actor is Putin. Lukashenka just leases out his soil. He is not in a sovereign state anymore. This what matters. You have to question the government of Belarus - you can not call it a government — the puppets, "Is it already Russian Federation territory or you still have something to say?"

He actually publicly supported that [threat] to the neighbor who has not done anything against: Ukraine has never threatened Belarus, has never treated them badly. They still have financial and economical cooperation, so there's no need for Lukashenka to blame Ukraine. This is something you have to question.

But if he allows this military attack from the Belarusian soil, this would make a difference.

- Will the European Union react if Russian troops will stay in Belarus?

- This is a clear violation of the sovereignty of the state territory, state borders. That's almost like an occupation of a neighboring country, Even if Lukashenka allows that to happen — nevertheless, 30,000 troops outside of the Russian Federation is a violation of different international treaties and this will raise a lot of concern because it's coming closer and closer to the EU border.

- It seems important to appreciate that people of Belarus are against the militaristic games of Putin-Lukashenka and continue their fight for freedom. Which words of support would you say to the people who fight for democracy in our country?

- I would like to reassure our support, our solidarity. I personally admire the people of Belarus for their bravery, for the courage, for their extreme discipline for being still peaceful, for patience, for putting together the forces for raising awareness and supporting their political prisoners.

So many people are tortured and nevertheless, they don't give up. They still was, they will continue fighting and we are definitely with them. You see my flag it's always here [points to a big white-red-white flag hanging on the wall].

There's a lot of support in the European societies. There are many people compassionate for the people of Belarus. And, as we always say, at one point it will pay off.

I would just encourage you: stay brave, stay patient, raise your voice to whatever you can, don't give up and try to be as in a cocoon, try to forget what's around you and protect yourself until the time will come when the Lukashenka regime will fall.