Recent developments in Belarus show lack of progress towards Council of Europe standards:
In the light of these developments, the Political Affairs Committee, therefore, proposes that the Assembly put on hold its activities involving high-level contacts between the Assembly and the Belarusian authorities.
Joint statement by the Chair of the Committee of Ministers, Micheline Calmy-Rey, the President of the Parliamentary Assembly, Mevlüt Çavusoglu and the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Thorbjørn Jagland.
Strasbourg, 23.03.2010 - "The Council of Europe strongly condemns the execution of Andrei Zhuk and of Vasily Yuzepchuk in Belarus. Death penalty is barbaric and degrading, and this is why it has been abolished by the Council of Europe through Protocol 6 to the European Convention on Human Rights. The authorities of Belarus are the only remaining ones in Europe who execute people. The recent executions, if confirmed, are a serious setback to our aspiration to bringing Belarus closer to European values. The Council of Europe is ready to help Belarus to end its self-imposed isolation in Europe, but when it comes to the values of human rights and democracy, one cannot have it both ways. We therefore call for an immediate end to the use of the death penalty”.
Strasbourg, 24.03.2010 – The heads of three European parliamentary bodies dealing with Belarus have firmly condemned the execution of Andrei Zhuk and Vasily Yuzepchuk which, according to human rights organisations, took place in Belarus last week in complete secrecy and which has yet to be confirmed officially by the authorities.
The statement was made by Sinikka Hurskainen, Jacek Protasiewicz and Uta Zapf, who head the bodies dealing with Belarus for the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the European Parliament and the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly:
“The Belarusian authorities carried out the executions ignoring all appeals to for clemency and knowing that capital punishment represents an insurmountable obstacle for the development of political dialogue with the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and the European Parliament,” they said.
“The decision to execute Mr Zhuk and Mr Yuzepchuk was taken in blatant disregard of the fact that the UN Human Rights Committee was still considering individual applications on their cases and had called on the Belarusian government to suspend the enforcement of the penalty. Politically, this decision is also at odds with the initiative of setting up an ad hoc group in the Belarusian parliament to consider the issue of capital punishment in Belarus,” the parliamentarians added.
“In Europe, there is no place for the death penalty. The Belarusian authorities should be aware that there cannot be political dialogue without shared values,” they concluded.
Reporting Committee: Political Affairs Committee
Reference to Committee: Reference 3659 of 26 April 2010
Draft resolution unanimously adopted by the Committee on 27 April 2010
Members of the Committee : Mr Björn von Sydow (Chairperson), Mr Dariusz Lipiński (Vice-Chairperson) (alternate: Mrs Miroslawa Nykiel), Mr Konstantin Kosachev (Vice-Chairperson), Mr Michael Aastrup Jensen (Vice-Chairman), Mr Françis Agius (alternate: Mr Joseph Debono Grech), Mr Alexander Babakov (alternate: Mr Sergey Markov), Mr Viorel Badea, Mr Denis Badré, Mrs Theodora Bakoyannis, Mr Andris Bērzinš, Mr Erol Cebeci, Mr Lorenzo Cesa (alternate: Mrs Fiamma Nirenstein), Mr Titus Corlătean, Ms Anna Čurdová, Mr Hendrick Daems, Mr Pol van den Driessche, Ms Josette Durrieu, Mr Frank Fahey, Mr Piero Fassino, Mr Hans Franken, Mr György Frunda, Mr Jean-Charles Gardetto, Mr Marco Gatti (alternate: Mr Fiorenzo Stolfi), Mr Michaël Glos (alternate: Mr Karl-Georg Wellmann), Mr Andreas Gross, Mr Michael Hancock, Mr Davit Harutyunyan, Mr Norbert Haupert, Mr Joachim Hörster, Mrs Sinikka Hurskainen, Mr Tadeusz Iwiński, Mr Bakir Izetbegović, Mr Miloš Jevtić (alternate: Mr Milos Aligrudic), Mrs Birgen Keleş, Mr Jean-Pierre Kucheida, Ms Darja Lavtižar-Bebler, Mr Göran Lindblad, Mr Marian Lupu, Mr Gennaro Malgieri, Mr Dick Marty, Mr Frano Matušić (alternate: Mrs Marija Pejcinovic-Buric), Mr Silver Meikar, Mr Dragoljub Mićunović, Mr Jean-Claude Mignon, Mr Aydin Mirzazada (alternate: Mr Sabir Hajiyev), Mr Juan Moscoso del Prado Hernández, Ms Lilja Mósesdóttir, Mr Joāo Bosco Mota Amaral (alternate: Mr Jorge BacelarGouveia), Mrs Olga Nachtmannová, Mr Gebhard Negele, Mrs Miroslava Nemcova, Mr Zsolt Németh, Mr Fritz Neugebauer (alternate: Mr Franz Eduard Kühnel), Mr Aleksandar Nikoloski, Mrs Yuliya Novikova, Mr Maciej Orzechowski, Mr Johannes Pflug (alternate: Mr Andrej Hunko), Mr Ivan Popescu (alternate: Mrs Olha Herasym’iyuk), Mr Christos Pourgourides, Mr John Prescott (alternate: Mr John Austin), Mr Gabino Puche, Mr Lluis Maria de Puig, Mr Amadeu Rossell Tarradellas, Mr Ilir Rusmali, Mr Predrag Sekulić, Mr Samad Seyidov, Mr Leonid Slutsky (alternate: Mr Ziyad Sabsabi), Mr Petro Symonenko (alternate: Mr Serhiy Sobolev), Mr Zoltán Szabó, Mr Mehmet Tekelioğlu, Mr Han Ten Broeke, Mr Zhivko Todorov (alternate: Mr Krasimir Minchev), Lord Tomlinson, Mr Latchezar Toshev, Mr Petré Tsiskarishvili, Mr Mihai Tudose, Mr Ilyas Umakhanov (alternate: Mr Alexander Pochinok), Mr José Vera Jardim, Mr Luigi Vitali, Mr Konstantinos Vrettos, Mrs Katrin Werner, Mrs Karin S. Woldseth, Mr David Wilshire, Ms Gisela Wurm, Mr Emanuelis Zingueris.
Ex-officio: Mrs Anne Brasseur, Mr Tiny Kox, Mr Luca Volontè’
N.B. : The names of the members who took part in the meeting are printed in bold
Secretariat of the committee: Mrs Chatzivassiliou, Mr Ary, Mr Chevtchenko, Mrs Sirtori-Milner