Aleksandr Lukashenko holds government session on further improvement of criminal law, criminal procedural law

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President of Belarus Aleksandr Lukashenko believes it is important to take measures to emancipate business initiative in Belarus in conditions of objective business risks. The Head of State made the statement at the government session held on 13 August to discuss further improvement of criminal law and criminal procedural law.

To achieve that, a draft law has been prepared on amending the criminal code, the criminal procedural code, the administrative violations code, and the execution procedure code of Belarus.

It is the most important bill developed in recent years to liberalize and humanize criminal law and criminal procedural law. The document has been prepared upon instruction of the President.

The bill contains serious innovations, in particular, it rules out the unlawfulness of actions in conditions of business risks, envisages the application of pretrial collaboration agreement, the introduction of criminal law redress. The draft law also decriminalizes individual actions of no great public danger and contains other essential changes in this sphere. There are plans to adjust several articles of the Criminal Code in favor of softer punishment, to optimize punishment periods, and introduce alternative kinds of answerability.

“There is no doubt that the decision to go through with these norms should be thoroughly discussed,” stressed the President.

Aleksandr Lukashenko pointed out that it was necessary to take into account consequences of the suggested measures and to clearly envisage the mechanism for their practical realization.

“We should be 100% confident that the optimization of criminal law instruments the draft envisages will not lead to the impunity of persons, who have committed actions, which are undoubtedly dangerous for the state, the society or our citizens,” said the head of state.

The President remarked that criminal prosecution bodies should have a set of instruments to fight corruption and other crimes sufficient to make punishment inevitable.

“On the other hand, the worked out measures should truly emancipate the business initiative in conditions of objective entrepreneurship risk. The criminal law should not be a scarecrow in eyes of economic operators, who act strictly within the law and are in no way related to criminals,” stressed Aleksandr Lukashenko.

“Guided by relevant norms, investigation bodies and courts should provide an adequate legal evaluation of committed actions,” said the head of state.

“It is very important for us today to make a precisely verified decision that would meet interests of our society and our country,” emphasized the President. “Any amendments to laws, statutes and regulations, the legislation as a whole should have definite reasons. The main reason is that we cannot do without these measures now. We should base our decisions exclusively on life situations. Hurrying things is out of the question. We have to take into account the situation we live in, the situation the state develops in, the society in which our people live”.

“Interests of the state and our people should be at the foundation of any changes, reforms, innovations, and so on,” noted Aleksandr Lukashenko.

It turned out during the session that juridical circles are divided over several suggested innovations, in particular, the pretrial collaboration agreement.

Developers of the document also suggest introducing the notions of economic risks and business risks, however, it is important to achieve a balance to rule out various kinds of abuse of office and corruption.

Several articles of the bill envisage fines instead of imprisonment and specify conditions that justify pledges.

The innovations will allow courts to more flexibly approach the choice of criminal law sanctions depending on the nature of every specific offense and the consequences it entails.

At the session it was decided that the bill will be forwarded for the parliament to discuss it together with representatives of juridical circles.