The conference "Public opinion and death penalty in Belarus" was held in Minsk
The conference "Public opinion and death penalty in Belarus" was held on August 27, 2019 in Minsk. It was organized by the National Assembly of the Republic of Belarus together with the Council of Europe with the support of the Council of Europe Information point in Minsk.
This event was held in accordance with paragraph 36 of the National human rights plan for 2016-2019, approved by the Council of Ministers in order to comprehensively address international trends in the use of the death penalty and public attitude to this topic, as well as within the framework of the Council of Europe Action Plan for Belarus for 2019-2021 (project "Strengthening the right to a fair trial in Belarusian criminal justice").
The conference was attended by approximately 70 participants: Belarusian parliamentarians, representatives of the Council of Europe, international experts, state authorities, civil society and the academic community.
The conference was opened by Mr Andrei Naumovich, member of the Permanent Commission of the House of Representatives on Human Rights, National Relations and the Media, Head of the Working Group of the National Assembly of the Republic of Belarus on the Study of the Issue of the Death Penalty as a Penal Instrument applied in the Republic of Belarus.
Welcoming speech was also made by Ms Tatiana Termacic, Head of Co-ordination and International Co-operation Division of the Directorate General of Human Rights and Rule of Law of the Council of Europe, and Mr Andrei Bushilo, Head of the Directorate-General for Europe and Northern America of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus.
Reports on the issues of the Council of Europe’s role in the creation in a “death-penalty free zone” (Ms Tatiana Termacic), the role of parliaments in the abolition of death penalty (Mr Titus Corlatean, a member of PACE (Romania), PACE General Rapporteur on the abolition of the death penalty, and Mr Alexander Markevich, a member of the Working Group of the National Assembly of the Republic of Belarus on the Study of the Issue of the Death Penalty as a Penal Instrument applied in the Republic of Belarus, Deputy Chairperson of the Standing Commission of the House of Representatives on Law), study of the experience of the European Court of Human Rights in the issue of death penalty (Ms Nona Tsotsoria, Judge of the European Court of Human Rights elected in respect of Georgia (2008-2018)) were presented to the participants in the main part of the conference.
The conference ended with a discussion panel.
Practical workshop “Reporting on criminal trials causing significant interest in the society” was held in the afternoon. It was attended by the Russian expert, Director of the Mass Media Defence Centre Ms Galina Arapova and about 20 Belarusian representatives (representatives of the media, press services of courts, prosecutors’ offices, Investigative Committee, Ministry of Information and Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Belarus).
The legal and ethical principles of media coverage of criminal trial, the need for journalists to respect the presumption of innocence, balance between the right to information on the functioning of the justice system and the right to protection of private life of victims of crimes, criminals and their relatives were discussed within the framework of the seminar.