News for 20 May 2011
20.05.2011 More verdicts in 19 December 2010 trials
Judge Znaha Zhukouskaya of Minsk Frunzenski District Court pronounced verdicts to seven persons involved in the 19 December 2010 post-election events.
20.05.2011 The Human Rights Center Viasna’s evaluation of the trials in the criminal cases on the events of December 19, 2010
CONCLUSIONS: # The events of 19 December 2010 were the result of the unjust and undemocratic presidential election in Belarus, which were not recognized as compliant with the relevant international standards for free elections, and which were accompanied by numerous violations. # The march along Independence Avenue and the rally on Independence Square were peaceful, since the participants had peaceful intentions to express their views and protest in connection with these election. # Although the rally on Kastrychnitskaya Square and the march along Independence Avenue did cause some inconvenience for the city residents, nevertheless they did not pose any threat to the public order, life and health of citizens. # The behavior of some individuals who were especially active outside the Government House, were offending in their nature, but neither were stopped by the police, nor isolated. # The duration of the wrongdoing, the number of persons involved in it and the amount of damage do not suggest that there was a mass riot on Independence Square and, consequently, the participation of prosecuted persons in the riot. # The police reactions to disperse the peaceful assembly on Independence Square were completely disproportionate to the nature and were accompanied by ungrounded violence toward the demonstrators. # The preliminary investigation of the events of 19 December 2010 was accompanied by serious human rights violations, including: violation of the right to protection, violation of the presumption of innocence, the use of non-procedural actions, torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment that humiliate human dignity. # The trials were of predetermined character and accusatory in their nature. # These trials reiterated the full dependence of the judicial system in Belarus on the executive branch, while the pressure and the Ministry of Justice’s denial of licenses to a number of lawyers involved in the case indicate the absence of an independent institute of advocacy. # These circumstances indicate the convicts’ lack of access to a fair and independent trial. # The progress of the preliminary investigation and the trials in the criminal cases clearly demonstrates their political nature.