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UN Human Rights Committee deplores Belarus execution

The United Nations Human Rights Committee is gravely concerned that Belarus has executed a person whose case was under consideration by the Committee. Sometime in recent days, Mr. Vladislav Kovalev was executed together with another person, both having been found guilty of bombings in the Minsk subway in 2011. Mr. Kovalev had petitioned the Committee claiming that his trial was unfair and that he had been forced to confess guilt. As is its normal practice, the Human Rights Committee had asked the Belarus authorities to stay the execution pending its consideration of the case. Such requests are binding as a matter of international law.

“The position of the Human Rights Committee is clear – Belarus has committed a grave breach of its legal obligations by executing Mr. Kovalev”, said Committee’s Chairperson, Ms. Zonke Zanele Majodina. “Furthermore, this is not the first time – in 2010 and 2011 it also executed persons whose cases were before the Committee. We deplore these flagrant violations of the human rights treaty obligations of Belarus.”

Notwithstanding the execution of Mr. Kovalev the Human Rights Committee will continue to consider his case.

Notes:

1. More information on the work of the UN Human Rights Committee:

http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrc/index.htm

2. On interim measures of protection, see rule 92 of the Committee’s rules of procedures:

http://daccess-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G12/400/67/PDF/G1240067.pdf?OpenElement

3. On the Committee’s consistent position on non-respect of interim measures, see for example, the decision in Communication No. 869/1999, Piandong v. the Philippines, Views adopted on 19 October 2000, paragraphs 5.1 – 5.4:

http://daccess-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/DER/G01/400/31/PDF/G0140031.pdf?OpenElement