Initiating criminal proceedings against the Belarusian ruler Alexander G. Lukashenko for crimes against humanity pursuant to the Code of Crimes against International Law.

As authorised representatives acting on behalf of torture victims, the lawyers listed above have submitted to the Federal Prosecutor General in Karlsruhe a criminal complaint against Alexander G. Lukashenko and other Belarusian security officers.

Since 9 August 2020, Belarus has seen mass protests against electoral fraud in the presidential election. The Belarus state reacted with massive and unprecedented violence, systematic torture and other abuses. The incumbent government is severely oppressing its own population with a crackdown including arbitrary arrests, politically motivated criminal persecution and other forms of repression. These measures are aimed against the opposition and independent media as well as persons engaged in political or civil-society activities, but can also hit persons with no such involvement. UN human rights experts have documented as many as 450 cases of torture up to September. The actual figure is expected to be much higher.

The signatories know of more than 100 documented cases of state torture in Belarus. They have been specifically instructed by ten victims to file a criminal complaint with the Federal Prosecutor General against state-ordered systematic torture, seeking to effect investigations by the German judiciary. The clients will make themselves fully available for further investigations. All clients have reported of spurious arrests, torture and abuse during the days of their imprisonment. Furthermore, they were held in much too small cells or transport vehicles, and were physically abused, humiliated, threatened, insulted and degraded in other ways. Other torture methods included officers forming corridors and beating persons who had to pass through. Also, persons were forced to kneel with their hands tied behind their backs so that they could only use their heads as additional support in this position. This was accompanied by arbitrary beating, food and sleep deprivation, and refusal of medical treatment. Each of our clients has suffered severe health consequences. Overall, the treatment by the state can only be described as excessively brutal.

We expect from the Office of the Federal Prosecutor General that it applies its powers and prosecutes these crimes pursuant to the principle of universal jurisdiction, even if they have no direct relation to Germany.

Even if the offence was committed in a different country, and neither perpetrators nor victims are Germans, the perpetrators can be indicted and brought to trial in this country. Germany has shown with regard to Syria that such crimes against humanity can be prosecuted and punished. Only some weeks ago, a former intelligence agency officer of the Syrian regime named Eyad A. was on trial at the Higher Regional Court of Koblenz for torture and unlawful imprisonment, and was sentenced to four and a half years in prison (Case ref.: 1 StE 9/19).

Our clients expect from Germany that it also upholds universal human rights in the case of Belarus. They demand justice, namely an independent investigation and prosecution of these severe crimes. So far, this has not occurred in Belarus. Nor is it to be expected. The judiciary in Belarus is not independent. Neither Alexander G. Lukashenko nor members of his security apparatus who are embroiled in these systematic crimes face legal consequences for their inhumane acts.

Thus, the signatories have requested today that the Federal Prosecutor General immediately initiates extensive investigations against the President of Belarus and against all other perpetrators of torture.

Responsible under press law Onur U. Özata/ Roland Krause/ Mark Lupschitz/Benedikt Lux.

Kontakt unter 030/39494171 (Özata), [email protected]