Aleksandr Lukashenko signs amendments to Criminal Procedure Code into law

    Head of state Aleksandr Lukashenko signed the amendments to the Criminal Procedure Code of the Republic of Belarus into law on 21 July.

    The law institutes special (in absentia) criminal proceedings against persons who are outside Belarus and who fail to appear before a body conducting criminal proceedings. The document lists crimes for which special proceedings may be launched. These include, in particular, an act of terrorism, genocide, mercenarism, treason, sabotage, setting up of an extremist unit or participation in it, mass riots, calls for sanctions.

    Taking into account law enforcement practice, the law improves the procedure for appealing against court decisions in criminal proceedings. To this end, the law introduces, along with the appeal stage, a cassation stage of judicial proceedings, with the complaints and protests to be considered in the presidiums of the regional and Minsk city courts. This will provide greater access to appeals tools for citizens who disagree with court rulings and will increase the effectiveness of the review process of the verdicts that have entered into force. In addition, it will now be possible to appeal against sentences handed down by the Supreme Court acting as a court of first instance.

    The amendments are aimed at ensuring the inevitability of punishment, improving access to judicial protection, ensuring the legality and stability of court decisions in criminal cases.