Inter-Parliamentary Union reminds authorities about disappearance of Hanchar and Krasouski

2010 2010-05-05T17:00:01+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

The Governing Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union unanimously adopted the resolution on disappeared Belarusian opposition leaders.

The resolution adopted at an IPU session in Bangkok expresses concern about the course of investigation of disappearance of Viktar Hanchar and Anatol Krasouski.

The IPU reminds in the resolution: ‘The investigation into the disappearance, on 16 September 1999, of Mr. Viktar Hanchar and his friend Anatol Krasouski has yielded no result and the authorities have consistently refuted the conclusions of a report by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe into disappearances for allegedly political reasons in Belarus (Pourgourides report), which provided evidence linking senior officials to the disappearance of Hanchar and Krasouski,’ reports.

Taking into account the letter of the Belarusian authorities of January 6, 2010, which says that, according to the law in force, information on operational and investigative action on ongoing cases may not be disclosed until the end of the investigation, the Inter-Parliamentary Union notes:

‘ - Article 198 of the Code of Criminal Procedure prohibits the disclosure of data about preliminary investigations or inquiries; such data can only be disclosed with the permission of the investigator or the person responsible for the inquiry, only to the extent they consider appropriate. […] The injured parties are entitled to receive from the investigative body notification of decisions which affect their rights and interests; that, however, the investigator is entitled to instruct defense counsels and victims not to disclose information without his/her permission; according to the sources, this means that parties to a criminal case are entitled not only to participate in criminal prosecution (Article 128 of the Code of Criminal Procedure) but also to receive reliable information on the case if it affects their rights and legitimate interests;

- Mrs. Krasouskaya has declared her readiness to appear before the prosecutor in the presence of her lawyer; however, the authorities have prohibited her lawyer from assisting her, arguing that he is not a member of the Belarus Bar Association;

- According to Article 83, part 1, paragraph 4, of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the statute of limitations is 15 years from the date of commission of the crime’

Bearing in mind that Iryna and Valeryia Krasouskayas submitted a communication to the Human Rights Committee, the Inter-Parliamentary Union is concerned that the right of the families of Hanchar and Krasouski to be kept informed of the proceedings and procedural decisions is not respected.

The IPU considers that the secrecy surrounding the investigation into Hanchar’s and Krasouski’s disappearance prompts fears that no investigation is being conducted and that the case will be closed upon the expiry of the statute of limitations and calls on the parliament to use its oversight function to ensure that the investigative authorities are indeed complying with their duty.

We remind that vice speaker of the 13th Supreme Soviet of Belarus, the chairman of the Election Commission Viktar Hanchar and his friend, businessman and public leader Anatol Krasouski, a former Interior Ministry head Yury Zakharanka who joined the opposition, as well as a camera operator of the Russian ORT TV channel Zmitser Zavadski disappeared in Belarus in 1999-2000.

The world community constantly states the necessity to shed light on the fate of Belarusian oppositionists. The demands to establish the truth about their disappearances is contained in the resolutions of the UN Commission on Human Rights, of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and the OSCE.

A number of high-ranking officials in Belarus, in particular minister of internal affaires Uladzimir Navumau, head of the president’s administration Viktar Sheiman, former minister of internal affaires Yury Sivakou, and former commander of special task squad Dzmitry Paulichenka are banned from entry into the EU countries and the US, because they are suspected of involvement in abductions of the oppositionists.