I am speaking on behalf of a group of countries, including the following members of the Council:
Belgium, Costa Rica, Italy, Norway, Spain, Switzerland, joined also by France, Iceland, Portugal.
We welcome the resolution on the Situation of Human Rights in Belarus, which established a mandate of a Special Rapporteur, and we supported it.
The resolution makes reference in operative paragraph 1 to the ‘violations of due process and fair trial safeguards’. It should be noted by this Council that we interpret this to include the deeply regrettable application of the death penalty in Belarus in violation of internationally recognized safeguards and human rights obligations.
Accordingly, it would be useful that the Special Rapporteur look into the application of the death penalty in Belarus in compliance with internationally recognized standards.
The secrecy surrounding the executions carried out and the high risk of imposition of the death penalty without right of appeal to a higher tribunal according to law is of particular concern, and we condemn the application of the death penalty in violation of internationally recognized standards.
Recent developments in Belarus this year with two executions after a court case which raised a number of questions underline the seriousness of the situation. The executions took place despite the fact that the case was pending before the United Nations Human Rights Committee. Belarus is the only European country that continues to carry out death penalties. We urge the Belarusian authorities to establish a moratorium, with a view to abolishing the death penalty.
In its further consideration of the human rights situation in Belarus, on the basis of the present resolution, the Human Rights Council should pay due attention to this matter.