Belarus: ICJ alerts UN Human Rights Council about the situation of human rights and the legal profession

The ICJ today addressed the UN Human Rights Council in the Enhanced Interactive Dialogue on the Report of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the situation of human rights in Belarus in the context of the 2020 presidential election.

The statement reads as follows:

“Madam President,

The International Commission of Jurists welcomes  the High Commissioner’s report on the situation of human rights in Belarus (A/HRC/46/4).

The ICJ stresses the need to address the systemic issues underlying unfair trial, arbitrary detention, torture, other ill-treatment and enforced disappearance in Belarus.  In particular, it is crucial to ensure an independent judiciary and bar association.

Without comprehensive reforms to these institutions, there is little prospect of fair trial, or of effective remedies or accountability for the widespread human rights violations occurring after the 2020 election.

The ICJ is alarmed at recent arrests and disbarments of lawyers in connection with the protests.  Disbarred lawyers include Aleksandr Pylchenko as well as Liudmila Kazak, the fourth lawyer of Maria Kolesnikova, a detained opposition figure, to have suffered consequences as a result of their professional activities. Furthermore, criminal cases have been initiated against lawyers Ilya Saley and Maxim Znak.

We call on the Human Rights Council to establish a mechanism to collect and preserve evidence, identify perpetrators, and support accountability for gross human rights violations in Belarus.

The Council should further call on Belarus to

  • promptly and fully implement the High Commissioner’s recommendations;
  • co-operate with and facilitate access of the Special Rapporteur to the country;
  • uphold the independence of judges and lawyers, in accordance with international law and standards.

I thank you.”



Massimo Frigo, ICJ UN Representative, e: massimo.frigo(a), t: +41797499949


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