The procedure of granting pardon is exercised by way of commutation of the death penalty to life imprisonment. The execution is stayed until the clemency application or materials of the refusal to apply for a pardon are considered.
Decision to grant a pardon or to deny it is made by the president of the state on the ground of the information prepared by the Commission for Pardons.
The President of Republic of Belarus considers the materials, concerning the persons who have not applied for a presidential pardon as well. The proposal to pardon the persons under sentence of death made by the Head of Supreme Court or Prosecutor General launches the procedure automatically regardless of availability of a clemency application.
Information concerning the number of people that have been pardoned remains confidential. It is known that only one death row prisoner was granted a pardon during all the years of Lukashenko’s presidency. The name of the prisoner has not been disclosed.
Legal foundation of procedure of granting pardon
The extracts from The Provisions on the Procedure of Granting Pardon to Convicts in the Republic of Belarus, Releasing the Individuals Providing Assistance in Solving Crimes and Dealing with their Consequences from Criminal Prosecution
3 (…) The President of Republic of Belarus considers, besides clemency applications:
materials concerning persons under sentence of death who have not applied for a pardon
proposals to pardon persons under sentence of death made by the Head of Supreme Court or Prosecutor General
7. The persons under sentence of death may apply for a presidential pardon to President of Republic of Belarus within ten days since they have been served a copy of the sentence or the cassational ruling. If a person sentenced to death does not apply for a presidential pardon by the time fixed or claims his reluctance to apply for a pardon, a special statement of fact is to be drawn in compliance with the set rules. The clemency application or the statement should be directed to President of Republic of Belarus not later than within 3 days since the day the clemency application was submitted or the statement was drawn.
8. Clemency applications of the people under sentence of death and the materials, specified in the part 3 of the paragraph 3 of this Provisions are preliminary considered by the Commission for Pardons of the President of the Republic of Belarus (hereinafter referred to as the Commission) before being sent to the President for consideration.
9. The Commission is confirmed by the President of the Republic of Belarus for his terms of office. It consists of the chairman, two deputy chairmen and members of the Commission. The Commission may invite representatives of state bodies, public associations or mass media to its sitting.
11. Clemency applications of the persons under sentence of death and the materials, concerning the refusal to apply for a pardon are considered preliminary by the Supreme Court and Prosecutor General's Office before they are considered by the Commission. The Supreme Court and Prosecutor General's Office submit the opinions with the synopsis of the court decision, circumstances of the committed offence, information about the identity of the prisoner as well as their substantive motions of each clemencyapplication or the materials, concerning the refusal to apply for a pardon.
Clemency applications, which contain references to the groundlessness of the conviction or the infringement of legality that require verification, are considered preliminary by the public prosecution bodies and courts for the verification in the order of supervision.
Decisions to grant a pardon or to deny such an appeal of the persons under sentence of death as well to pardon persons sentenced to life imprisonment, confinement or any other milder penalty are made in the form of decrees of the President.
Preparation of the materials concerning the appeals for pardon for consideration by the Commission and the President of the Republic of Belarus as well as the control of the timely implementation of the decrees of the President of the Republic of Belarus are entrusted to the Citizenship and pardons Department of the President's administration.
24. Information about the work of the Commission and decisions to pardon convicts, made by our head of the state, is regularly reported in the media.
Transparency of the procedure of granting pardon
According to the law, representatives of public associations or mass media can be admitted to the work of Commission. RHRPA “Belarusian Helsinki Committee” has been making such requests repeatedly, but none of them was complied with.