Viasna and BHC’s statement on execution of Zhuk and Yuzepchuk
Administration of pre-trial prison № 1 refused to take food, brought for Andrey Zhuk by his mother, and informed her, that death sentences, passed on her son and Vasilij Uzepchuk in summer, 2009, were carried out.
The authorities cynically ignored the demands of the Belarusian human rights defenders and The UN Human Rights Committee not to execute the condemned, while their appeals were considered in the Committee.
The official notifications by the courts, that passed the death sentences, about their implementation have not been sent to the relatives of the condemned so far, although it is provided for by the legislation.
Human rights defenders state, that the execution was carried out with the violation of national legislation and international obligations, ratified by Belarus.
The Republic of Belarus ratified The International Covenant on Civil and Political rights and the first Optional Protocol to it. Thereby, it recognised the competence of the Committee to consider individual appeals against the supposed violation of any rights, specified in the Covenant.
The Constitution of the Republic of Belarus guarantees compliance with the universally recognized principles of international law, as well as the rights and freedoms of the Belarusian citizens, specified in the Constitution, laws and provided for by the international obligations of the state (articles 8; 21). Criminal-executive code of the Republic of Belarus secures the priority of international treaties over the national legislation, which regulates the implementation of criminal punishments (article 3).
According to article 61 of the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus, any person has the right, in compliance with the international acts, ratified by Belarus, to address the international organizations in order to protect his/her rights and freedoms, after all the national remedies have already been used.
Both condemned used theirs right, guaranteed by the Constitution. Vasilij Uzepchuk and mother of Andrey Zhuk directed individual appeals to The UN Committee. The Belarusian State received a note from Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights about the registration of the individual appeals in the Committee, as well as the demand not to execute the condemned, while their appeals were under consideration in the Committee (the procedure is specified in Rule 92 of the Rules of Procedure of the Committee).
In spite of this, the Belarusian authorities carried out both sentences.
Human rights defenders condemn the execution of Vasilij Uzepchuk and Andrey Zhuk. We express grave concern about the fact, that the state shot its citizens, before the decision on the issue was made by The UN Human Rights Committee. It demonstrates the state’s contempt against the international procedures and guarantees of their implementation.
Human rights defenders recall ones again, that Belarus remains the only country in Europe, where death penalty is still being used.
Moreover, The UN Human Rights Committee amounts the procedure of execution in Belarus to inhuman treatment.
Human rights defenders demand, that the Belarusian authorities comply with the national legislation and its international obligations, that they respect human rights and the utmost value –the life of a human being.
Human rights defenders also demand, that the bodies of the executed are given to their parents, so that they could be buried in accordance with the existing traditions.
Human rights defenders continue to call on the introduction of moratorium on death penalty in Belarus as soon as possible.