Human rights expert comments on statement by Prosecutor General Vasilevich
On 21 January at a press-conference, dedicated to the recent facts of corruption among Belarusian officials, the General Prosecutor Ryhor Vasilevich said Belarus might abolish death penalty in case the country is admitted to the Council of Europe. Otherwise, Belarus will continue using the sentence as a preventive measure.
Human rights expert Valiantsin Stefanovich commented on the statement by the Prosecutor General: ‘Vasilevich’s statement is an evidence of the state’s policy concerning the abolition of capital punishment. The Belarusian government is ready to abolish death penalty as long as it is member of the Council of Europe. Thus, the Belarusian authorities show their pragmatic approach, failing to treat the matter in terms of universal humanistic values. Unfortunately, there has not been any public discussion on the issue.’
Belarusian human rights activists also stress the status of death penalty as a preventive measure. By doing this, the state popularizes the idea that capital punishment can really affect crime rate. The concept has been repeatedly condemned in numerous researches by a number of international human rights organizations, including the UN Human Rights Committee and Amnesty International. The fallaciousness of the proposition was also confirmed by the Belarusian Constitutional Court.