Moscow mechanism of OSCE
Resolutions and reports on Belarus produced by the most respected bodies in the legal world, the UN Human Rights Council and the OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe), are an important supporting material for the future court case on crimes in Belarus. These documents will be attached to the dossier filed with the ICC. In the process of investigating the situation, the Court can take them into account along with other information and evidence, and later can refer to them in the ruling.
Of particular importance for the Belarus case is the OSCE Rapporteur’s Report under the Moscow Mechanism on Alleged Human Rights Violations related to the Presidential Elections of 9 August 2020 in Belarus, released on Nov 5, 2020, as the result of thorough investigation of alleged human rights violations in a post-election Belarus. The articles 3.-4. in section III. Recommendations to the International Community of the Report suggest:
“3. Establish an independent international body for the in-depth investigation of human rights violations in the context of the presidential elections with the help of forensic experts;
4. Bring perpetrators of torture and inhuman treatment among the Belarusian security forces and their responsible superiors to justice wherever possible;”
We believe that the approach to bring Aleksander Lukashenka and his accomplices to criminal justice described here should be seen as one of the practical ways to implement these recommendations.
Preparation of dossier materials for the ICC
We must not forget that preparation of materials for the court plays an equally important role in the success of a court case against A. Lukashenko and his accomplices. The lawyers of the Netherlands-based international humanitarian and criminal law consulting firm Global Rights Compliance (GRC) see challenges not only in filing such a court case, but, if it is accepted for further investigations, also in the process of documenting and systematizing crime evidence. The bulk of the evidence base should consist of factual data on those massive crimes against humanity that were committed by the illegitimate President and his partners in the alleged crime in the government as part of the suppression of the protest movement after the elections of August 9, 2020 in Belarus, as well as similar crimes in the past years of Lukashenka’s rule.
The importance of preparing such data in the required volume and format required by the ICC’s standards cannot be overestimated. This will require significant, painstaking work, but without it, it will not be possible to succeed in the court case in any meaningful degree. Having the desire to bring perpetrators of crimes against humanity to international criminal responsibility and the willingness to work purposefully to collect data will not be enough, however. To prepare evidence that would hold in a court of justice, it is essential to also have the necessary knowledge and technology to collect such data, and unfortunately at the moment Belarusian human rights defenders have neither. We call on all organizations and all individuals who have the opportunity and intention to prepare such materials, to coordinate their activities with international structures created to help progressive Belarus in prosecuting the perpetrators, and also to send their human rights defenders to online training courses on data collection on international crimes, regularly organized by experts ат GRC.
In addition to evidence of crimes against humanity, for the success in the court case against Aleksander Lukashenka in the ICC a very important role will be played by the collection of evidence about the crimes he committed to seize and retain power in an unconstitutional way in 1996, involving the possible murder of people who were Lukashenka’s opponents during the twenty six years of his rule. Materials about these alleged crimes will serve as a context for investigating the reasons why repressions against the civilian population on such a scale became possible in the historically peaceful country of Belarus.
No crime shall be left without investigation, and no criminal shall escape punishment. Restitution to victims shall be provided by the successor government following the restoration of the constitutional order in Belarus.