Belarus’s president has condemned human rights abuses in response to protests against the government, lawyers say.
Ten Belarusians have called on a German prosecutor to open a case against President Alexander Lukashenko and Belarus’s security forces over allegations of aggression against the government.
The lawyers who brought the case to 10 people, now living all over Europe, cited international law that allows states to prosecute crimes, including war crimes and genocide, regardless of their actions.
Germany has been working hard to investigate similar cases linked to the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The lawyers said their clients had written more than 100 examples of “violence, systematic and other harassment” during the Belarusian government’s protests, which took place after Lukashenko won the presidential election last August and accused protesters of fraud.
“The current government is brutally oppressing its people by unfairly targeting people, politically harassing them and oppressing others,” he added.
The lawyers said all their clients were arrested and also referred to “fraudulent arrests, torture and ill-treatment” while in jail.
The Belarussian government has not commented on the matter.
Police have arrested thousands of people for participating in protests against Lukashenko.
Authorities identified the perpetrators as terrorists or violent activists with the help of the whites and said that what the security forces were doing was adequate and necessary.
Syrian story provides ‘priority’
Germany’s international sanctions law was adopted in February to find a criminal conviction for former members of Assad’s security forces for ending civilian abuse.
Referring to the case, lawyers representing 10 Belarusians representing the group said in their letter that the group wanted an independent investigation and a trial of those found guilty.
Syria’s actions showed that “if there is a will, it can,” said Onur Ozata, one of the lawyers.
Opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who is in solitary confinement in Lithuania, has received the letter.
“There will be no sanctions in Belarus, and today’s news is a clear example of this,” he said in a statement.
In March, the United Nations Human Rights Committee approved the establishment of a team of investigators to find evidence of violence and abuse of power in Belarus.
Yury Ambrazevich, Belarus’s ambassador to the UN in Geneva, described the move as “another attempt to disrupt domestic affairs in our country”.
Despite sanctions imposed by the European Union and the United States over the protests, Lukashenko’s government has remained firm on foreign pressure to change.
The 66-year-old leader, backed by his Russian counterpart, said he was opposed to the West-led change.