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Resolution adopted unanimously by the IPU Council
at its 171st session (Geneva, 27 September 2002)

The Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union,

Referring to the outline of the case of Mr. Victor Gonchar, a member of the former Thirteenth Supreme Soviet of Belarus, as contained in the report of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians (CL/171/12(a)-R.1), and to the relevant resolution adopted at its 170th session (March 2002),

Taking account of a communication from the Chairman of the House of Representatives of the National Assembly, dated 10 September 2002, and of the information provided by the Chairman of the Standing Committee on Legislation, Judicial and Legal Issues at the hearing held with the Committee on the occasion of the Special Session of the Council,

Recalling that Mr. Gonchar, with a friend, Anatoly Krasovsky, disappeared on the evening of 16 September 1999 and that since then no trace has been found of them although, as the parliamentary authorities have repeatedly stated, special investigative efforts were being made to establish their fate and Parliament as a whole was closely monitoring the relevant investigation and, to that end, regularly questioning the competent authorities; considering in this respect, however, that no special monitoring committee has so far been set up, as suggested earlier by a member of the House of Representatives on the occasion of a session it held in the presence of President Lukashenko, who, according to the Chairman of the Standing Committee on Legislation, Judicial and Legal Issues, had welcomed the proposal,

Considering that, according to information provided by the parliamentary authorities in September 2002, the bloodstains found at the place of the disappearance of Mr. Gonchar and Mr. Krasovsky were undergoing genotypic testing and the preliminary investigation period had been extended to 20 October 2002,

Noting that the Ad Hoc Committee on Belarus of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), on the occasion of a visit to Belarus from 10 to 12 June 2002, stressed the need to elucidate the fate of the disappeared politicians, including Mr. Gonchar, and suggested the establishment of a commission of independent experts to that end,

  1. Thanks the parliamentary authorities for the information provided and for their consistent cooperation;

  2. Is deeply concerned that, three years after Mr. Gonchar's disappearance, the investigations have led nowhere despite all the special efforts which, according to the authorities, have been made;

  3. Affirms that "disappearances" are violations of international human rights, and recalls in this respect Article 1 of the "Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance", adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1992, which states that "Any act of enforced disappearance is an offence to human dignity. It is condemned as a denial of the purposes of the Charter of the United Nations and as a grave and flagrant violation of the human rights and fundamental freedoms proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights"; recalls also Article 13 of the Declaration, which calls for investigations to be carried out "as long as the fate of the victim of enforced disappearance remains unclarified";

  4. Consequently urges Parliament to give effective support to the PACE recommendation to set up a commission of independent experts as a means of progress towards elucidating Mr. Gonchar's fate;

  5. Also encourages Parliament to enhance its efforts in monitoring the investigation and to set up the parliamentary commission for this purpose;

  6. Requests the Secretary General to convey this resolution to the authorities, inviting them to keep the Committee informed of any developments;

  7. Requests the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians to continue examining this case and report to it at its next session (April 2003).
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