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Resolution adopted unanimously by the IPU Governing Council at its 182nd session
(Cape Town, 18 April 2008)

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/182/12(b)-R.1), and to the resolution adopted at its 181st session (October 2007),

Recalling the following: Mr. Gonchar, an outspoken opponent to President Lukashenko, disappeared in September 1999 together with a friend, Mr. Krasovsky, and their fate has not been elucidated to date; the Belarusian authorities have consistently refuted the conclusions of the Council of Europe's Special Rapporteur on Disappearances for allegedly political reasons in Belarus, Mr. C. Pourgourides, that "steps were taken at the highest level of the State actively to cover up the true background of the disappearances, and to suspect that senior State officials may themselves be involved in these disappearances"; Mr. Pourgourides had gathered evidence, including a handwritten document from the then Police Chief, General Lapatik, whose authenticity the Belarusian authorities have acknowledged, in which he accuses Mr. V. Sheyman, then Secretary of the Belarusian Security Council, to have ordered the killing of Mr. Zakharenko, a former Minister of the Interior, and that the order was carried out by a special task force (SOBR unit) under the command of Colonel Pavlichenko with the assistance of the then Minister of the Interior, Mr. Sivakov, who provided Colonel Pavlichenko with the official execution pistol temporarily removed from SIZO-1 prison, and that the same method was used in the execution of Mr. Gonchar and Mr. Krasovsky,

Recalling more particularly that, in the resolution it adopted in October 2007, it requested the authorities to clarify certain issues in this regard1 as it was confident that the responses would go a long way towards uncovering the truth in this case,

Noting that a member of the Belarusian delegation to the 118th Assembly (April 2008), Mr. Aleksandr Arkhipov, provided the Committee with a document in Russian said to contain the requested clarifications,

Recalling further that Mrs. Krasovsky has strongly refuted indications by the Belarusian authorities that economic motives may be behind Mr. Gonchar's and Mr. Krasovsky's disappearance; considering in this respect that in October 2007 Mrs. Krasovskaya was summoned by the current investigator in this case and agreed to see him in the presence of her counsel, Mr. Garry Pogonyailo; that the investigator refused to have Mr. Pogonyailo present, stating that he was not a member of the Belarusian Bar Association; noting that Mr. Pogonyailo had represented Mrs. Krasovskaya in 2002 in this case, that he is currently the legal representative of the family of disappeared journalist Mr. Zavadsky, and that there is reportedly no provision in Belarusian law requiring counsel to be a member of the Belarusian Bar Association; that Mrs. Krasovskaya has stated her readiness to appear before the investigator in the presence of her counsel, Mr. Pogonyailo,

  1. Thanks the Belarusian delegation and in particular Mr. Arkhipov for the document provided, which, it hopes, will indeed clarify the issues in question;

  2. Decides, pending translation of the document in question, to revert to this case at its next session (October 2008);

  3. Is nevertheless surprised that the investigator in this case has barred Mrs. Krasovskaya's counsel, Mr. Pogonyailo, from assisting her, as is her right and as he had previously done, and would appreciate receiving clarification in this respect as such a decision can only delay investigative efforts and consequently seems counterproductive;

  4. Requests the Secretary General to inform the authorities and sources accordingly and also requests the Committee to continue examining this case and report to it at its next session, to be held on the occasion of the 119th Assembly of the IPU (Geneva, October 2008).

  1. The fact that the official execution pistol was twice signed out in the name of the then Minister of the Interior, Mr. Sivakov, and that the timing coincides with the disappearances of Mr. Gonchar, Mr. Krasovsky and Mr. Zakharenko; that Mr. Sivakov gave an explanation for only the first signing-out, namely for purposes of conducting a comparative study of death penalty execution methods in different European countries (although no European country was applying the death penalty) and provided none for the second signing-out, apart from "coincidence";
  2. The fact that no comparison was apparently made of the red paint found at the crime scene with that of the red car driven by the suspect named by the then Police Chief, General Lapatik, namely, Colonel Pavlichenko, and that no ballistics analysis was reportedly carried out;
  3. The fact that Colonel Pavlichenko was arrested on the basis of a warrant signed by the then KGB Chief, Mr. Matskevitch, and sanctioned by the then Prosecutor General Bozhelko, and remanded in custody for 30 days "taking into consideration that D.V. Pavlichenko and his criminal group may commit further crimes of particular violence", but freed shortly after his arrest;
  4. The fact that KGB Chief Matskevitch, Prosecutor Bozhelko and Police Chief Lapatik were dismissed from their posts or retired at or around the time when General Lapatik levelled accusations at Mr. Sheyman and Mr. Sivakov and when KGB Chief and Prosecutor General Bozhelko ordered the arrest of Colonel Pavlichenko;
  5. The fact that Mr. Sheyman was appointed Prosecutor General and thereby placed in charge of investigating accusations made by Police Chief Lapatik against him and that he was only removed from that post in November 2004.

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