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Political Scientist Comments On Historical Trial Of Harauski: It's Just The Beginning

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Political Scientist Comments On Historical Trial Of Harauski: It's Just The Beginning
YURY HARAUSKI
PHOTO: DW

Lukashenka cannot avoid a special tribunal.

The trial of ex-SOBR special police fighter Yury Harauski started in St. Gallen, Switzerland, today on September 19. He admitted involvement in the kidnappings and murders of opponents of the Lukashenka regime. Human rights activists call the process historical.

The journalists from Charter97.org asked Belarusian political scientist Anatol Kotau about the unique trial of Harauski:

– Let's start with the fact that this is, indeed, the first real trial in cases of disappearances of Belarusian politicians of the '90s that happened more than 20 years ago. It will be fully objective and independent because it takes place not in a “Belarusian court”, but in a court of a third country. We can count on the fact that everything will be carried out as objectively, neutrally and impartially as possible.

This is the first trial on cases of disappearances in ‘90s, which will take place not on the pages of the media, not in the work of investigative journalists, but in a judicial body with hearing witnesses, studying evidence and passing a verdict.

In fact, the registration of the facts of Yury Harauski’s case is even more important than the verdict. In fact, a symbolic punishment was requested for him.

I would compare the importance of this process for Belarus with the process of the downed Boeing MH-17. Of great importance and significance for the future will be those facts and circumstances that will be recorded within the framework of the criminal process.

Moreover, the process itself creates legal grounds for at least calling as witnesses persons who may also have information on this case. These are former top officials of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the KGB, who performed their functions at that time. Some of them are not in Belarus, therefore, with a high degree of probability, you can count on the fact that the court will also hear them.

We can say that the initial collection of very serious evidence is underway, which will lay the foundation for more serious processes. For the first time, the court will register the IDs of those who are either involved in the kidnappings and murders of Belarusian politicians in the mid-90s or have information that can be used in the future. I mean, this is just the beginning.

– What do you think, can the court figure out this entire chain of orders in the Harauski case and prove that Lukashenka gave orders to eliminate his opponents?

– I doubt that this will be done within the framework of this particular process.

– Why?

– In order to unequivocally state that Lukashenka is behind all this, it is necessary to hear not only Harauski but also several key witnesses in the case. Their names will be announced during the process. These are those who occupied fairly high positions in the law enforcement agencies of Belarus at that time. They will provide missing pieces of the puzzle. After all, we are dealing with a real trial, not a fake one.

Most likely, it will be proven that it is the system of the Belarusian government (maybe without personalities) that is behind these abductions. This is, in general, enough to further develop the case not only within the framework of this court. As a result, there will be much more grounds for further criminal prosecution of those involved in these crimes, both within the framework of the International Criminal Court and within the framework of the special tribunal that will inevitably be created.

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