Jean-Louis Laurens: ‘The abolition of the death penalty requires the political will of the country’s leaders’
‘Of course, the Special Guest status is very important, but its absence is not an obstacle to the cooperation between the Council of Europe and Belarus in various fields,’ said Jean-Louis Laurens, Council of Europe's Director General of Democracy and Political Affairs, during his visit to Minsk, six months after PACE named the abolition of or the declaration of a moratorium on the death penalty as the key condition for the restoration of the country’s Special Guest status in the Council of Europe.
‘The political will of the country’s leaders is what’s needed here. For me it is first of all a matter of morals. I primarily take into account the fact that the death penalty is the only kind of punishment which cannot be reversed. Belarus should not abolish the death penalty for Strasbourg’s sake, but for the country’s sake. A referendum on the issue is not at all necessary,’ said Mr. Laurens.