Belarus: rapporteur denounces the judgment sentencing Viktar Serhil to death

Titus Corlatean (Romania, SOC), General Rapporteur of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on the abolition of the death penalty, has denounced a judgment of the Brest Regional Court (Belarus) of 25 October sentencing to death Viktar Serhil in a trial concerning the murder of an eight-month-old girl.

“I express my sincere sympathy to all those affected by the crime”, he said. “This is the third capital punishment handed down this year, after the sentencing of Aliaksandr Asipovich in January and of Viktar Paulau in July. This verdict, although not final, is very disappointing because it shows that the Belarusian judiciary continues to apply the death penalty, despite some abolitionist signals in the political sphere, in particular those coming from members of the National Assembly,” added the general rapporteur.

“Regardless of the gravity of the offence and the public interest in imposing a proportionate sanction, European human rights standards prohibit the use of the death penalty in all circumstances. Therefore, I reiterate my call on the Belarusian authorities to introduce a moratorium on the death penalty, as a matter of urgency, and as a first step towards its full abolition. It is the only way forward to improve Belarus’s relations with the Council of Europe,” Mr Corlatean concluded.

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The judgment of the Brest Regional Court is not final and can be appealed to the Supreme Court.