According to lawyers, the Belarusian president was accused of crimes against humanity in response to anti-government protests.
Ten Belarusians have called on the German federal prosecutor to open a criminal investigation against President Alexander Lukashenko and Belarusian security agents for alleged crimes against humanity during the crackdown on anti-government protests.
Lawyers who filed the case for the ten people, who now live across Europe, cited laws of universal jurisdiction that allow countries to prosecute crimes against humanity, including war crimes and genocide, regardless of where they are. they committed.
Germany has been particularly active in the search for such cases related to the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Lawyers said their clients had documented more than 100 examples of “violence, systematic torture and other abuses” during the Belarusian government’s crackdown on protests, which erupted after Lukashenko won the presidential election last August. , according to which the opposition claimed that it was manipulated.
“The current government severely oppresses its own population with repression that includes arbitrary arrests, politically motivated persecution and other forms of repression,” they added.
Lawyers said all of their clients had been jailed and reported cases of “false arrests, torture and abuse” while in custody.
The Belarusian government did not immediately comment on the case.
Police have arrested thousands of people for taking part in protests against Lukashenko.
Authorities characterized participants as Western-backed criminals or violent revolutionaries and described the actions of police agencies as appropriate and necessary.
The Syrian case provides a “precedent”
Germany’s universal jurisdiction laws were used in February to obtain a guilty verdict against a former member of Assad’s security services for inciting the torture of civilians.
Citing the case, lawyers representing the ten Belarusians said in their case that the group was seeking an independent investigation and prosecution of those found guilty.
The Syrian precedent showed that “if there is the will of the police agencies, they can do it,” said Onur Ozata, one of the lawyers.
Opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who is in self-imposed exile in Lithuania, welcomed the legal presentation.
“There will never be impunity in Belarus, and today’s news is a clear example,” he said in a statement.
In March, the top human rights body of the United Nations agreed to set up a team of investigators to gather evidence on the alleged excessive use of force and torture by the Belarusian authorities.
Yury Ambrazevich, the Belarusian ambassador to the UN in Geneva, described the move as “another attempt to interfere in the internal affairs of our state.”
Although the European Union and the United States suffered sanctions for their response to the protests, the Lukashenko government has stood firm against foreign pressure to change course.
The 66-year-old leader, backed by ally Russia, has claimed to have resisted a West-led revolution.