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11 January 2024, 11:10

Lukashenko discusses fairness of punishment for criminal offenses

MINSK, 11 January (BelTA) – Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko raised the issue of fairness of punishment for criminal offenses at a meeting to discuss criminal legislation on 11 January, BelTA has learned.

“We keep insisting that the work of government agencies and public institutions must be based on the principle of justice. This also applies to criminal law. Justice must permeate the entire criminal law system and its implementation,” the head of state emphasized.

Yet, is this how things really are, the president asked. He noted that the crime situation in the country is normal and there are no emergencies. The crime situation in Belarus during the New Year holidays is a case in point. In the run-up to the New Year, the head of state heard out reports from the heads of law enforcement and security agencies. The president explained later that he did this for a reason: “It was a signal to the society that the president heard out everyone and the ministers promised me, especially the minister of internal affairs, that there would be total order in the country, and so it happened. There were only nine offenses and not a single serious one.”

“In other words, people hear, people understand. We just need to take it up a notch and step up preventive work. It is not enough just to give a warning to a person; we should [take] action to bring home to people that any crime or offense will inevitably entail punishment,” Aleksandr Lukashenko remarked.
 
The head of state noted that on his instructions the Belarus President Administration examined a number of articles of the Criminal Code and their application. “A number of questions arise in this regard, so we need to have a look at the whole process and analyse what kind of people we detain and convict. Is their punishment commensurate with the severity of a crime and the danger that these people pose to society?” Aleksandr Lukashenko asked.
 
“To put it simply: we need to be more careful when assigning punishments, especially in court,” the president emphasized. “For the majority of Belarusians, appearing in court is already a heavy enough punishment. Therefore, we need to deliberate carefully before we bring people to justice through the judiciary system,” the president said.
 
“According to your information, only half of more than 40,000 designated places are at capacity, and this percentage is decreasing all the time. This is a good trend,” noted Aleksandr Lukashenko.
 
According to the president, it is necessary to carefully examine what kind of cases and against who are referred to court, and use the outcomes of this study to review the legislation. “I think we have a lot of work ahead in this regard. We need to revise the Criminal Code, maybe other codes, too. Moreover, the crime situation in the country is okay. Thus, we need to do this,” said the head of state.
 
At the same time, more attention should be paid to employment matters, Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized. “Even if we announce an amnesty and pardon a person, he/she must get a job,” the head of state said outlining an important requirement. According to him, local authorities should also play a role in ensuring that this requirement is strictly fulfilled. “This is the kind of work that the respective authorities are sometimes reluctant to do, but it needs to be done. We have a lot of unemployed people. At the same time, some companies complain of being understaffed,” the president noted. He recalled that the employment situation was discussed more than once at the state level. However, problems remain in some regions. “Some communities have made little headway in this matter,” noted Aleksandr Lukashenko. According to him, it is necessary to revisit the situation and scrutinize the existing problems once again.
 
“I want to make it clear for district and municipal authorities (they know exactly who works and who doesn’t in respective districts). If people have jobs, the crime situation will further improve tremendously,” the head of state emphasized.
 
Returning to the key topic of the meeting, the president emphasized the need to take into account the identity of the accused when deciding on punishment. “Criminals differ. Some are seasoned, repeat offenders, others stumble accidentally. The question is: did we take this into account in law enforcement? Does the Criminal Code always give you the opportunity to individualize punishment?” the head of state asked addressing the participants of the meeting, first of all, representatives of the judicial system.
 
“I know that the heads of law enforcement and judicial bodies that are present here have different opinions. Well, good. There is something to discuss,” said Aleksandr Lukashenko. 

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