Aleksandr Lukashenko visits Investigation Committee of Belarus

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The foundation of the Investigation Committee in the country was the right decision. President of Belarus Aleksandr Lukashenko made the relevant statement as he visited the government agency on 14 June.

According to the President, human lives and health had been declared supreme values in Belarus. “It is the foundation of the national security. And law enforcement agencies play the key role in fulfilling this task. To improve the effectiveness of law enforcement agencies, the decision was made to create a universal independent body for preliminary investigations – the Investigation Committee,” he said.

The head of state said that the creation of the new agency was rushed, but nevertheless they managed to avoid errors while reforming the system of pretrial criminal proceedings and to overcome the negative tendency of worsening investigation quality.

The President said that the number of registered crimes is at its historic minimum in the last seven years. The number of registered crimes has fallen by 23% from 2011, 18% down in 2013. “The situation has led to the reduction of the overall number of initiated criminal cases, which partly owes to the principled approach of the Investigation Committee. The quality of investigation has improved as well as crime detection. Punishments are inevitable. The number of criminals, missing persons has been reduced,” the head of state said.

“Close attention should be paid to criminal cases involving the damage of state property by office holders. The same attitude should be practiced to palm greasing in the most important spheres of the society such as economy, state administration, healthcare, education, and other ones. Objective evaluation is necessary regardless of the rank of the perpetrator. Leniency is out of the question! Nobody is above the law,” the Belarusian President stressed.

Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed he has been paying more and more attention to fighting corruption recently, because the problem is once again rearing its head. “We cannot allow it, because while we may make any plans, corruption will destroy every living thing, all the endeavors if we don’t suppress it,” the President stressed. “Therefore, I primarily focus on fighting corruption manifestations. Officials and not low-ranking ones at that are in the thick of it. But if the head starts rotting, then the entire system will go down. This is why I talk about it more and more,” he added.

The head of state demanded that every case should be investigated for the sake of removing corruption consequences in addition to punishing the guilty. “The Belarusian society and I expect the Investigation Committee to investigate such cases as best as possible. The best and highly professional investigators should be employed,” the President remarked.

Aleksandr Lukashenko also emphasized that the development of the national economy and the country’s economic security are of primary importance now. Law enforcement agencies should take it into account. “Your efforts should guarantee that the policy for further liberalization of the economy should stay on course instead of falling into chaos ruled by representatives of the so-called shadow business. The concentration of efforts of all the law enforcement agencies has never been more important for the sake of fighting the most dangerous manifestations, primarily economic, organized, and corruption crimes,” the head of state said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko believes that it is necessary to focus on crimes that truly endanger the economic stability and security of the state, those that undermine the foundation of the Belarusian economy. “The inevitability of punishment should be the key principle in the operation of investigators and their supervisors,” the Belarusian President added.

“The performance evaluation of law enforcement agencies, including the Investigation Committee, should not be based only on statistical data. Instead we need a complex approach which will take into account the comprehensiveness of the measures taken. This will put an end to the unnecessary race for statistical indicators. The law enforcement agencies should abandon such evaluation practices once and for all,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

“You should remember that you are responsible for human lives. Do not do anything just for statistics’ sake. If you cannot solve a criminal case do not try to conceal anything there. It is better to admit that at this stage we cannot solve this criminal case. We do not need such contrived data just for appearances’ sake,” the head of state noted.

According to Aleksandr Lukashenko, law enforcement officials, including investigators, should comply not only with the letter of the law but also with the spirit of the law.

Aleksandr Lukashenko pointed out the need to establish effective cooperation between the Investigation Committee and other government agencies and the need for the Committee to get actively involved in the development of legal acts. “If there are gaps, they must be filled by amending the legislation. Legislation should be kept up to date. It is necessary to forestall crime reasons and conditions instead of acting upon crimes. To achieve that, the Investigation Committee and the prosecution should constantly monitor their operation. Personal ambitions of the heads of the agencies must not impede the cooperation,” the President said.

Mutual cooperation was discussed at the meeting of the head of state with officers of the Investigation Committee. Heads of other law enforcement agencies were also present. In particular, Aleksandr Lukashenko heard out the opinions of Prosecutor General Alexander Konyuk, Interior Minister Igor Shunevich, and Chairman of the Investigation Committee Valentin Shayev about how cooperation between agencies had been established in new conditions.

Valentin Shayev stressed that the decision to establish the Investigation Committee had been a timely one. It allowed crime investigators to unite efforts, interact with other law enforcement agencies and judicial authorities on equal terms. In turn, it positively influences the quality of crime investigation. “I am convinced that in the future investigation consolidation will allow improving the effectiveness of the work,” he said.

The Interior Minister and the Prosecutor General expressed similar opinions. They remarked that the Belarusian experience of detaching investigation into an independent body could be useful for other countries. Operative search activity has not been separated from investigation, the Interior Minister said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko remarked that the establishment of the Investigation Committee had been in essence a radical step made as part of the law enforcement system reformation. “Various proposals were made, but I’ve always preferred decisive steps. If we set out to make the Investigation Committee as a single powerful unit, then we should follow the way,” the President said.

The head of state underlined that he does not regret the decision. “We have not worsened the crime situation in the country. Crime control was and is high. It is up to you now,” the Belarusian head of state said. “Do not be complacent. It is necessary to further improve the operation of the Investigation Committee. The government has vested you with extraordinary powers and every officer has a special responsibility to the Belarusian nation”.

During the tour of the Investigation Committee the President got familiar with the physical infrastructure and working conditions. He examined a mobile forensic lab, specimens of uniform, visited the on-duty control center, and offices of the personnel.

In a solemn ceremony the head of state presented the Investigation Committee with a banner of its own and a merit certificate of the President of the Republic of Belarus. “It is difficult to imagine a more significant symbol for men in uniform than a banner. Through ages it has been a symbol of honor, courage, glory, a reminder of the holy duty to serve one’s motherland with dedication and protect the nation’s interest selflessly and without fear,” the President underlined.