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Resolution adopted unanimously by the Governing Council
at its 177th session (Geneva, 19th October 2005)

The Governing Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union,

Referring to the case of Mr. Victor Gonchar, a member of the Thirteenth Supreme Soviet of Belarus, as outlined in the report of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians (CL/177/11(a) R.1), and to the resolution adopted at its 176th session (April 2005),

Taking account of the hearing the Committee held with Mr. Anatoly Solovyev, a member of the Belarusian delegation to the 113th Assembly,

Recalling the following: Mr. Gonchar and his friend Anatoly Krasovsky disappeared in September 1999. The investigations have so far been unavailing. Allegations have been made attributing Mr. Gonchar's disappearance to a special police unit under the command of Colonel Pavlichenko, who was arrested briefly in November 2000. A report on disappearances issued in February 2004 by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) concluded that no proper investigation had been carried out and that senior state officials, such as the Prosecutor General, Mr. Victor Sheyman (Secretary General of the Belarusian Security Council at the time of the murder) and Sports Minister Sivakov (Minister of the Interior at the time of the events) might have been involved in the disappearances of several opposition figures, including Mr. Gonchar. Mr. Sheyman has in the meantime been removed from his post as Prosecutor General and promoted to that of Adviser to President Lukashenko,

Considering that Mr. Solovyev provided the following information: Mr. Sivakov has also been removed from his post. The investigation is still under way. All available leads, including those suggested by foreign experts, have been investigated, unfortunately to no avail. There are leads suggesting that economic motives may have been behind Mr. Gonchar's and Mr. Krasovsky's disappearance, as Mr. Gonchar was heavily indebted because of his business in the Russian Federation, and Mr. Krasovsky had been summoned to court on a charge of tax evasion. There was no doubt that both had been kidnapped, but the motive of the kidnapping remained unclear. The PACE report, for its part, was based on unqualified information,

Considering further that Mr. Solovyev stressed that it was in the interest of his country to shed light on Mr. Gonchar's disappearance and that the competent authorities would make every effort to that end,

Recalling that the authorities have consistently referred to the case of Ms. Vinnikova, the former Director of the Belarus National Bank who disappeared in April 1999 and reappeared in December 1999 in the United Kingdom, to suggest that Mr. Gonchar might in fact be living abroad,

  1. Thanks Mr. Solovyev for the information he provided;

  2. Is dismayed that the investigation, which has now been under way for more than six years, has still made no progress; and earnestly hopes that the stated commitment of the authorities to shed light on Mr. Gonchar's and Mr. Krasovsky's disappearance will soon produce results;

  3. Notes that Mr. Sheyman has been removed from his post as Prosecutor General and that Mr. Sivakov no longer holds a State position; and reaffirms nevertheless that, so long as the Belarusian authorities do not fully investigate the evidence revealed in the PACE report or adduce other convincing evidence relating to Mr. Gonchar's disappearance, the suspicion mentioned in the report as to the possible role of State officials in his disappearance will remain fully justified;

  4. Points out with regard to the authorities' continuing reference to the plight of Ms. Vinnikova, that unlike her Mr. Gonchar has not reappeared; and is convinced that if he were living abroad, that fact would certainly have come to light in the almost six years that have elapsed since his disappearance, as indeed it did in Ms. Vinnikova's case, and much sooner;

  5. Reiterates its wish to ascertain whether the Belarusian Committee on State Security (KGB) has acted upon the petition which the relatives of the disappeared lodged last year, since it appears to have gathered important evidence in these cases, especially regarding the role played by Colonel Pavlichenko; and also reiterates its wish to be informed in this respect of the grounds for Colonel Pavlichenko's rapid release in November 2000;

  6. Remains convinced that, by monitoring the investigation, the parliament of Belarus would contribute to enhancing its effectiveness; and reiterates its wish to receive information about any measures taken to this effect;

  7. Requests the Secretary General to convey this resolution to the competent authorities and to the sources;

  8. Requests the Committee to continue examining this case and report to it at its next session, to be held during the 114th IPU Assembly (May 2006).

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