THE PROSECUTION OF ALEXANDER LUKASHENKO,
THE LAST DICTATOR IN EUROPE
UPDATE: We wish to thank our global network of supporters in helping us to advance the objective of our legal campaign (part of a larger campaign by a coalition of NGOs and human rights organisations, including Free Belarus Now), which was to secure the release of political prisoners in Belarus. In light of this, the legal campaign has been suspended temporarily pending further developments. We will continue to work to support the campaign to bring about a free, fair and democratic Belarus.
On the 9th of March 2011 it was publicly announced that the legal team at McCue & Partners was preparing to prosecute Alexander Lukashenko, for the torture and other abuses of his political opponents.
On 27 September 2011, the Independent reported that the people of Belarus have produced a ‘Prosecution Kit’ that includes evidence of Lukashenko’s alleged crimes and from which a public or private prosecution can be made anywhere in the world. Through its global open source publication on the Internet, civil society, NGOs, private lawyers and governments worldwide now have immediate access to the materials necessary to seek Lukashenko’s arrest should he travel to their jurisdiction.
Heading a Belarusian/international coalition of leading lawyers, we have prepared a criminal case against Lukashenko on charges of torture and hostage taking. These are international crimes with universal jurisdiction. Courts not just in Belarus but all around the world may now seek to prosecute him.
McCue & Partners announces also that it will share a Prosecution Kit with lawyers and NGOs worldwide who wish to bring Lukashenko to justice. The Kit has been prepared by McCue & Partners and the Chair of the Bar Human Rights Committee, Mark Muller Q.C.
Wherever Lukashenko travels, he now faces the prospect of prosecution. The international community of nations and its organizations has so far failed to hold Lukashenko to account and to prevent further human rights abuses in Belarus. Only the E.U. and U.S. has managed to maintain an intermittent travel ban: lifting it when Lukashenko promises to reform only to re-impose it when he inevitably offends again. Unless Lukashenko is prepared to face justice, a de facto people’s travel ban has now been imposed by his victims and the people of Belarus.
By preparing this prosecution, his victims, their families and international civil society have ensured that impunity with respect to torture and electoral fraud in Europe will not stand in 21st Century. Just like his opponents, who live in constant fear for their safety and that of their families, Lukashenko must now look over his shoulder wherever he travels.
If Lukashenko should travel to the U.K. we confirm that we will seek a warrant for his arrest.
On behalf of our clients, his victims and their families, we also invite national governments and international civil society to make preparations in their own jurisdictions to arrest Lukashenko should he travel there.
Just as his victims have had to look over their shoulders in constant fear for their security and that of their families. Lukashenko now knows that wherever he goes he cannot evade justice.
If Lukashenko believes that he is innocent of the allegations against him then our clients invite him to travel to the U.K. to address them. Our clients would be willing to agree that the U.K. authorities grant an exception to the current EU travel ban to allow Lukashenko to travel to the U.K. to face justice.
Our clients have already assembled a large number of ‘prosecution partners’ from all over the world to join the team. Our partners include leading criminal and civil rights law firms throughout the world.
We will not share information on who we have already partnered, or will partner, with and thus in which jurisdictions prosecutions papers are ready to be filed. The campaign will not give Lukashenko either that courtesy or advantage, suffice to say, he can be assured that there are few places in the world where justice will not now be waiting for him.
Our clients invite any potential government, private law practice or NGO who wishes to become a prosecution partner to contact our firm to discuss matters further.
A complete Prosecution Kit can be made available on request to [email protected].
Click here to download the case summary (the case summary will be subject to update, please contact us if you wish to be informed when a new version is available).
Please join us and Lukashenko’s victims in ensuring that Lukashenko is brought to account for his gross violations of human rights and disregard for international law and standards. To date, our international organizations have failed to enforce these standards, bring Lukashenko to justice and end the suffering of the Belarusian people. This task now falls to national governments and international civil society.
We ask the world’s governments to consider the evidence contained in our prosecution file to decide on indicting Lukashenko for torture and other international crimes and to detain him should he travel to their jurisdictions.
We also ask civil society worldwide to make their governments aware of Lukashenko’s offences and petition them to review the prosecution file. If your government fails in its duty to enforce international human rights standards in failing to take no action against Lukashenko then remind it of its obligations. Most countries are signatories to and have ratified the United Nations Convention Against Torture. Article 5(2) requires them to prosecute anyone who has committed the offence of torture where the offender is present in any territory under its jurisdiction. Under Article 6(1) they are obliged to take him into custody or take other legal measures to ensure his presence for such time as is necessary to enable any criminal or extradition proceedings to be instituted. Please click here for a sample letter you can send to your relevant government authority.
If your government does not agree to take action against Lukashenko should he travel to your country, then you may be able to commence your own private prosecution where your country’s laws allow it.
Examples of country’s that allow for private prosecutions are the U.K., Russia and Canada. These are but a few. To facilitate the process for those who wish to join this effort to bring Lukashenko to justice, we are making available guides on how to commence a private prosecution in jurisdictions around the world.
To assist in this effort, we invite supporters of our clients to prepare a short guide on private prosecutions in their own jurisdiction. The more guides to individual jurisdictions that we can provide the easier for international civil society to commence its pursuit and prosecution of Lukashenko. Please submit your guides to [email protected] and join us in this open source collaboration.
Click here for a sample prosecution guide.
THE LEGAL TEAM
Jason McCue, Senior Partner, McCue & Partners
Matthew Jury, Partner, McCue & Partners
Mark Muller Q.C., Senior Counsel and Chair of the Bar Human Rights Committee
Ajanta Kaza, Counsel