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21 April 2022, 12:49

Lukashenko: Belarusian defense attorneys must be under control and act in line with the law

Aleksandr Lukashenko
Aleksandr Lukashenko

MINSK, 21 April (BelTA) – Belarusian defense attorneys must be under control and act in line with the law. Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko made the statement as he heard out a report from Justice Minister Sergei Khomenko on 21 April, BelTA has learned.

Aleksandr Lukashenko said: “As far as I can understand the Justice Ministry controls the work of defense attorneys. Let's speak plainly: I hope you will also manage processes relating to the bar association. And the notarial system. Those are complicated structures, which were created by interested people in the past.”

The head of state explained why he has to actively interfere and control the work of the defense attorneys and the notarial system: “Some people tried to profiteer from it, primarily for their own gains. And it was in your time. You remember how I had to destroy this ‘gang' as I vulgarly put it back then. I don't think we've resolved all the issues over there.”

“Defense attorneys must be under control but should act in line with the law and should be genuine defense attorneys. A defense attorney has to do their job without fearing anything but at the same time we should understand that he or she is a person of the state. And their actions should be based on norms of the law instead of some cooked-up notions of the freedom of speech and other freedoms. We are already fed up with this freedom. Thank god, we saw what freedom is being brought to us here,” he said.

According to the Justice Ministry, as of early April Belarus had 1,836 defense attorneys in 184 legal advice offices. Legal services are provided by 1,323 self-employed businesspersons and 334 legal persons on the basis of licenses. In 2021 the Justice Ministry decided in favor of revoking the licenses of 47 destructively minded defense attorneys.

As a result of legislation changes the state role in regulating lawyer activity has been stepped up, law firms and individual defense attorneys have been phased out: the work of 393 lawyers, who worked on their own, and 97 law firms has been terminated.

A certification exam for persons offering legal services will be introduced soon as a mandatory condition for getting the license. According to the Justice Ministry, it will increase the responsibility of such people and will allow the ministry to promptly respond to possible destructive behavior.

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