Fourteen articles of the Criminal Code provide for the death penalty, though none of it stipulates the death penalty as the only possible kind of punishment. From 2 to 9 persons are sentenced to death in Belarus annually during the last decade. The death penalty can not be imposed: persons who committed crimes before the age of eighteen years; women, men who have attained to the day of the verdict of sixty-five years.
The person sentenced to death may ask for pardon, i.e. to commute their death penalty for imprisonment for life, but it is known that only one death row prisoner was granted a pardon during all the years of Lukashenko’s presidency.
Death penalty in Belarus is traditionally cloaked in mystery. The body of the executed prisoner is not handed over to his relatives for burial; information about his burial site is not disclosed. The United Nations Human Rights Committee considered the current procedure inhuman toward the relatives of the executed prisoners as far back as 2003. The Committee demanded from the state to eliminate these infringements, but Belarus ignored its obligations.
According to the information provided by the Ministry of Justice of Republic of Belarus,326 people were sentenced to death in Belarus since 1990 to 2011 (the number of sentences that have taken effect) – according to the report of www. eurocenter.by.
The official website of the Ministry of Internal affairs provides the following information concerning the number of persons sentenced to death:
According to press account it is known that:
1999-2003 – “no more than 7 persons in a year” were executed (the statement was made by the minister of internal affairs Naumov in his interview to the newspaper Soviet Byelorussia in November, 2004)
2004 – 5 persons were executed (the statement was made by the minister of internal affairs Naumov in his interview to the newspaper Soviet Byelorussia in November, 2004)
2005 – 2 persons were sentenced to death (the number of executed prisoners remains obscure)
2006 – 9 persons were sentenced to death, 7 persons were sentenced to life imprisonment (the number of sentences imposed). These sentences would be executed during several years. The increase of the number of death penalties and life imprisonments was caused by the termination of a few voluminous cases concerning criminal groups and organizations which included up to 48 accused (notorious Morozov gang case) by the Supreme Court, Gomel regional court and military courts.
2009 – 2 persons were sentenced to death (A. Zhuk and V. Yuzepchuk). The offences had been committed independently. Both persons were executed in 2010.
2010 – 3 persons were sentenced to death: A. Burdyko and A. Gryshkovtsov (related offences), I. Mialik (his sentence came into force in 2011). Messrs. Burdyko and Gryshkovtsov were executed the same year.
2011 – 2 persons were sentenced to death: V. Kavaliow and D. Kanavalau (were executed). The sentence of I. Mialik came into force the same year thus some sources informed of 3 death sentences.
2012 – no death sentences were awarded.