MFA: International rules met in death convict’s case
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has replied to Andrei Paluda, coordinator of the campaign “Human Rights Defenders Against the Death Penalty in Belarus”, who earlier notified the MFA about the registration of an individual communication submitted to the United Nations Human Rights Committee on behalf of Siarhei Ivanou, a resident of Rečyca sentenced to death in March 2015.
The human rights activist stressed that, in accordance with the Committee’s Rules of Procedure, the state should not execute the death sentence, pending consideration of the convict’s complaint by the Committee.
The Ministry said in its reply signed by Deputy Minister Valiantsin Rybakou that it informed the Supreme Court, the Prosecutor General’s Office and the Ministry of Interior about the registration of the complaint. Andrei Paluda says that it is for the first time that he has received such a reply from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“In a letter to the above authorities, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs emphasized the legal practice of the Committee, its Rules of Procedure, including in relation to persons sentenced to death,” said the MFA.
Andrei Paluda has also received replies from the Prosecutor General’s Office and the Interior Ministry. They refused to consider his petition, citing the fact that the human rights defender failed to submit a power of attorney for the right to represent Siarhei Ivanou.
“Siarhei Ivanou issued a power of attorney in my name. According to the authorization procedure, it should have been registered with the Department of Corrections. Representatives of the Department assured Ivanou and his counsel that the document would be sent to me personally. However, as time passed, they did not do it. And after the counsel’s news request, she was informed that the Department did not know such international bodies as the Human Rights Committee. The power of attorney also pointed out that I had the right to represent Ivanou in other international bodies. It turns out that, on the one hand, the Department of Corrections and the Ministry of Interior refuse to obtain a power of attorney, while, on the other hand, they say that without the power of attorney I cannot act on behalf of Siarhei Ivanou,” said the human rights activist.
Andrei Paluda hopes that after the Ministry of Foreign Affairs informed the competent authorities all international rules will be met in respect of Siarhei Ivanov, namely, that the death penalty will not be enforced until his communication is considered by the UN Human Rights Committee.
On March 18, the Homieĺ Regional Court sentenced Siarhei Ivanou, 21, to death on charges of murdering and raping a 19-year-old girl.
Besides murder charges committed with special cruelty and conjugated with sexual assault (Part 2, Art. 139 of the Criminal Code), the death convict was accused of malicious hooliganism (Part 2, Art. 339 of the Criminal Code), robbery (Part 2, Art. 206), inflicting serious bodily injuries (para. 7, Part 2, Art. 147), theft (Part 2, Art. 205), other acts of sexual nature (Part 3, Art. 167).