The ICJ today expressed concern at continuing human rights violations in Belarus, in particular the conviction following unfair trials of oppositions members and a continuing pattern of arbitrary disbarments and other disciplinary proceedings against lawyers.
The statement reads as follows:
The ICJ is concerned at continuing human rights violations in Belarus, amidst the continued lack of cooperation with international mechanisms and procedures, including the UN Special Rapporteur on Belarus.
The ICJ draw’sthe Council’s attention to the recent conviction following an unfair trial of Maria Kolesnikova, a key opposition leader, and lawyer Maksim Znak, member of the Coordination Council for the Transfer of Power, on spurious national security charges.
This is part of a continuing pattern of arbitrary disbarments and other disciplinary proceedings against lawyers, including the recent disbarment of Dmitry Layevsky who represented Viktor Babariko, a former presidential candidate, Aleksey Telegin, Valery Zvyagintsev, Yekaterina Zheltonoga, Andrey Gashinsky, Andrey Mochalov, Mikhail Bondrachuk. The ability of a free and independent bar to carry out its work unimpeded is indispensable to protection of human rights and access to justice
The ICJ calls on the Council and Member states to address the human rights situation with a view to securing:
• The immediate release of Maria Kolesnikova, Maksim Znak and all others arbitrarily convicted;
• The dismissal of any charges against those who face prosecution as a result of exercise of their human rights, and provide effective remedies for human rights violations;
• Ensuring that they lawyers can exercise their professional duties without harassment, intimidation and other improper interference;
• The full cooperation of Belarus with international mechanisms, including the Special Rapporteur.
I thank you.”
Massimo Frigo, ICJ UN Representative, e: massimo.frigo(a)icj.org, t: +41797499949AdvocacyNon-legal submissions