2011 18/02

bhk-logoBHC: “The investigation of cases and their judicial examination leaves no possibilities for a real protection from ungrounded accusations. After the sentence of Vasil Parfenkov comes into force all future cases will follow this “accusation templates”.

On February 17, 2011 presided by the judge of Minsk Frunze district court Olga Komar a trial on the criminal case of Vasil Parfenkov accused in a crime under Part 2. Art. 293 of the Criminal Code (participation in mass disorders) took place. This is the first criminal case in a series of upcoming hearings on the events that took place at Independence Square in Minsk on December 19, 2010.

Vasil Parfenkov was convicted by the court as a participant of riots which involved destruction of property, and was sentenced to four years imprisonment in a penal colony.

The court found his guilt proved by the fact that he had pre-agreement with a group of unidentified persons directly involved in the destruction of property and excluded his participation in the armed resistance to the authorities.

The verdict set property damage of 14 million rubles, ie, about € 3,5 thousand (broken windows of the Government House and damage of green planting in Independence Square), which must be compensated by the convicted V. Parfenkov.

As evidence, the court examined the testimony of the accused who, in fact, did not admit the guilt in the alleged acts; the testimony of two witnesses, one of which confirmed the testimony of Parfenkov and another one, who refused to testify with reference to Art. 27 of the Constitution; a short video of events on Independence Square provided by the investigation, as well as written materials. The video shows that a person resembling Parfenkov pushes the wooden fence that barricaded the already broken doors of the Government House.

According to experts of RHRPA “Belarusian Helsinki Committee”, the study of these data didn’t prove both the guilt of Parfenkov, and also the criminal event – a riot, that is, actions of the disorderly crowd, followed by violence, pogroms, arson, property destruction, and armed resistance to the authorities. By implication of this Art.293 CC such actions constitute this offense.

Perhaps it is the lack of evidence which encourages the criminal prosecution of the case to provide a separate proceeding towards various participants of the action and to view these events fragmentarily. These acts have been committed contrary to the requirements of the CC Art.165 (allocation of a criminal case), and this greatly affected the comprehensiveness, completeness and objectivity of the circumstances investigation of the criminal case in court.

It should be remembered that in accordance with Part 1 of Art. 106 of Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus, after coming into effect the sentence on this criminal case would be obligatory to the body conducting the criminal proceedings on the criminal case concerning both set circumstances, and their legal evaluation. That is, a so-called principle of collateral estoppel works – obligation for all courts that are considering a case, to admit without verifying the facts and legal assessment of the previously recognized court decision which took legal effect.

The investigation of cases and their judicial examination leaves no possibilities for a real protection from ungrounded accusations. After the sentence of Vasil Parfenkov comes into force all future cases will follow this “accusation templates”.

In addition, the intervention of higher government officials into the investigation of this criminal case and the disinformation campaign about the events in the Independence Square started by state media, suggests a political motivation of the unreasonable sentence.

BHC again urges the Belarusian authorities to release all those detained on charges of rioting on the events of December 19, 2010, and to ensure respect for human rights guaranteed by the Belarusian legislation and international obligations of Belarus.

Quoted spring96.org
Prepared by Ales LETA,
Belarusian Legal Portal,
by.prava-by.info

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