Local EU Statement on new death sentence in Belarus delivered during the 1359th meeting of the Committee of Ministers (5 November 2019)
1. The European Union deeply regrets that yet another death sentence was reported recently in Belarus, this time handed down to Mr Viktar Serhil by the Brest Regional Court, on 25 October. It is alarming that this is the third death sentence passed this year by a Belarusian court, after the sentencing of Aliaksandr Asipovich in January and of Viktar Paulau in July.
2. The EU reaffirms its strong and unequivocal opposition to the use of the death penalty at all times and under all circumstances. Capital punishment violates the inalienable right to life and is incompatible with human dignity. The death penalty does not serve as an effective deterrent to crime and makes any miscarriage of justice irreversible.
3. The EU and the Council of Europe share a common vision of a death penalty-free European continent. The EU welcomes the focus on the death penalty in the Council of Europe Action Plan for Belarus and calls on the Belarusian authorities to fully exploit the opportunities offered by the Action Plan in this regard.
4. We repeat our strong call on the authorities of Belarus to establish a formal moratorium on executions as a first step towards its abolition and to commute all pending death sentences. With this step Belarus would join the 160 countries in the world with no executions over the last 10 years and progress on the path towards rapprochement with the Council of Europe.
The following countries align with this statement: Albania, Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Republic of North Macedonia, Norway, San Marino, Serbia, Ukraine.