Wednesday, July 27, 2011

HRC Accuses Belarus of Violating Human Rights Obligations

The United Nations Human Rights Committee (HRC) has accused Belarus of violating its international agreements by executing two persons while their cases were still under review by the committee.

The HRC is charged with overseeing compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). It expressed “dismay” that the executions were the second such breach by Belarus in two years.

According to a press statement issued by the HRC, Oleg Grishkovtsov and Andrei Burdyko had alleged that they were subjected to torture at the pre-trial investigation stage and did not receive a fair trial. Media reports indicated the two were found guilty of premeditated murder, armed assault, arson, kidnapping of a minor, theft and robbery.

The committee had asked authorities in Belarus not to carry out the executions while their cases were under consideration. The exact date of the executions remains unknown but it is presumed that they took place between 13 and 19 July.

The HRC sent a letter to Belarus calling the executions a grave breach of the ICCPR. The letter further stated that under the covenant: “It is imperative that a death sentence be imposed only in full respect of the right to a fair trial. The imposition of a death sentence after a trial that did not meet the requirements for a fair trial amounts to a violation of articles 14 and 6 of the covenant."

According to the HRC, last year, Belarus executed two other persons while their cases were also under review.

Adapted from UN Press Release (cgb)

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