17 OSCE members invoking Moscow Mechanism in relation to serious human rights violations in Belarus
Seventeen members of the OSCE have agreed to assign an independent team of investigators to probe election rigging and human rights abuses in Belarus stemming from August's ballot, Deutsche Welle said.
The team will investigate reports of persecution of political candidates, journalists and activists. It will also look into the use of force against peaceful protesters, illegal detention and torture.
The mission is expected to publish a report within two months.
"Basically, the mission is about holding the Belarussian authorities accountable for their gross violations of the right of the people of Belarus to have free and fair elections, fundamental freedoms and a well-functioning rule of law," said Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod in a statement.
The team may travel to Belarus under an OSCE norm established in 1991 called the Moscow Mechanism, which "provides the option of sending missions of experts to assist participating States in the resolution of a particular question or problem," as the OSCE's website puts it.
"In addition to establishing the facts and reporting on them, we encourage the mission of experts to offer recommendations and give advice to Belarus, to the OSCE, and to the international community on possible solutions to the concerns raised," a statement by the seventeen nations said.