There Are Reasonable Grounds to Believe That Crimes Against Humanity Have Been Committed: Law and Democracy Center Report

Based on the international criminal law standards, the experts of the Law and Democracy Center “Justice Hub” – Ms. Marieke de Hoon, Mr. Andrei Vasilyeu and Ms. Maria Kolesava-Hudzilina – have published the first detailed legal analysis of serious human rights violations committed by the Belarusian authorities between May 2020 and May 2023.

«This report aims to contribute to the international community’s ability and to support the Belarusian people in their hopes for an end to the violence, suppression and impunity, and in their fight for peace, democracy and justice. It was very difficult and painstaking work. The experts of our organization managed to collect an impressive list of evidence of the Lukashenka regime’s crimes and analyze it», — Dainius Zalimas, a head of «Justice Hub» says.

This report is dedicated to the main question: whether there are reasonable grounds to believe that crimes against humanity have been committed against the Belarusian population? Following in-depth legal analysis based on contextual and physical elements for crimes against humanity, the authors of the report concluded that the crimes against humanity were committed by Lukashenka and the Belarusian authorities which, include imprisonment, torture, murder, rape and other grave forms of sexual violence, enforced disappearance, persecution, and deportation.

Moreover, the report provides a comprehensive legal analysis of the options for ensuring accountability through the International Criminal Court, domestic courts (in Belarus and foreign states), a special tribunal for crimes against humanity in Belarus. The report notes the potential consequences of resorting to such international legal instruments and their shortcomings.

In the report, experts also highlighted the broad spectrum of potential perpetrators and the urgent need for further investigation in this area. In particular, they distinguished the key role of the prosecutors and judges in persecuting opposition-minded civilians on political grounds. According to the report, the list of potential perpetrators also includes judges of the Belarusian Constitutional Court, who confirmed the constitutionality of several repressive laws, thus providing legal justification for the repressions.

The report was prepared on the basis of materials previously collected by the Law and Democracy Center, publicly available data, and reports by other human rights organizations.

The Law and Democracy Center “Justice Hub” was founded in 2021 in Vilnius, Lithuania.
Its mission is to assist democratic reforms in Belarus and support victims of the Lukashenka regime in implementing the universal jurisdiction mechanism through assistance in filing cases with the Lithuanian prosecutor’s office.
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