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Council of Europe to step up judicial cooperation with Belarus

Society 19.12.2017 | 12:43
Christos Giakoumopoulos
Christos Giakoumopoulos

MINSK, 19 December (BelTA) – The Council of Europe will intensify judicial cooperation with Belarus, Director General of Human Rights and Rule of Law of the Council of Europe Christos Giakoumopoulos told the media, BelTA informs.

Minsk is hosting an international conference headlined “Appeal in criminal law: reality, trends, and prospects” on 19 December. According to Christos Giakoumopoulos, the Council of Europe has been working on appeal-related issues in criminal law for quite a long time in many countries. He mentioned that some projects were carried out in Russia in 2011-2013. “This is an important subject for fair proceedings and administration of justice. This is why we hope that representatives of Belarus' judicial system will take an active part in the discussions,” Christos Giakoumopoulos remarked.

This is not the last issue-related event, he added. “We plan to boost cooperation with Belarusian courts of different levels. This conference may be considered a starting point in this interaction,” he stressed.

The topic of the conference is very important for prosecutors as a side of a court case, Belarusian Prosecutor General Alexander Konyuk underlined. The introduction of the institution of appeal into the criminal practice is a huge leap forward in human rights protection. While the cassation appeal envisages that the court of cassation interprets the relevant law, the regular appeal means that the higher court reviews the criminal case and calls witnesses, the complainant, and examines the proofs. This is a revolutionary step, the prosecutor general said.

The forum participants discuss appellation in the domestic criminal law, the role and tasks of the prosecutor at this stage of a criminal case, the competence of the appeal court, the experience of the Council of Europe member states in putting appellation into practice. According to Alexander Konyuk, Belarus is keen to explore the Council of Europe's experience in this field. “We have just got moving, this is why we need to gather and exchange experience,” he pointed out.

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