Germany’s Attorney General receives complaint against Belarus’ top security officials for crimes against humanity

Illustrative photo: STRINGER / Reuters / Forum

The European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) together with the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) have filed a criminal complaint with the Attorney General in Germany against six named, high-ranking members of the Belarusian security apparatus for crimes against humanity, reports.

The criminal complaint summarises information regarding the crimes committed by the security authorities in Belarus since August 9, 2020, including mass detentions, torture, disappearances, sexual violence, and political persecution. Given that these are international crimes, the attacks can be prosecuted in Germany under the principle of universal jurisdiction, the anti-torture watchdog stressed.

“We expect the initiation of preliminary proceedings by the Federal Prosecutor General against those responsible, as there is no foreseeable investigation into these violations of international law in Belarus itself. Those affected must be able to exercise their rights, and Germany should take a leading role in this. The securing of evidence should also bolster a European approach toward the criminal prosecution, as well as measures within the UN framework”, explains Andreas Schueller, Program Director International Crimes and Accountability.

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In turn, OMCT Secretary General Gerald Staberock notes that there is ‘clear evidence’ that torture was used intentionally and that it was widespread and systematic, thus reaching the threshold of crimes against humanity.

“This was confirmed by various international investigations, including by the Moscow Mechanism of the OSCE. Our own reporting has demonstrated that Belarus has taken no action to punish these crimes, whose perpetrators enjoy 100% impunity”, he said.

The criminal complaint is in alignment with other legal steps taken by ECCHR to bring those responsible for crimes against humanity to justice under the principle of universal jurisdiction; similar charges regarding human rights crimes in Syria culminated in an arrest warrant and the first-ever trial on Syrian state torture worldwide, OMCT press service added.

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