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Ref. DC 140(2016)

Council of Europe’s anti-corruption group publishes summary of its report on Belarus, says faith in country’s commitment is undermined

Strasbourg, 02.09.2016 – Belarus has partly implemented only one out of the twenty pending recommendations on addressing corruption, with no progress registered on others, says the summary of the Interim compliance report by the Council of Europe’s Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) published on 1 September.

The Interim compliance report adopted in June 2015 covered the period since the adoption of the Evaluation report in June 2012 and assessed measures taken by the authorities of Belarus to comply with its recommendations. As with all previous reports, Belarus did not authorise the publication of the full report. Therefore, GRECO decided that only its summary would be made public.

The only area where progress has been recorded concerns the introduction of administrative liability of legal persons for money-laundering offences, GRECO says in its report. However, this only partly meets the requirements of the Criminal Law Convention on Corruption.

Regrettably, evidence-based comprehensive strategy and plan of action, as well as the independent mechanisms to combat corruption are still lacking; no initiatives have been taken to strengthen the independence either of the Prosecutor General’s Office or of the judiciary.

“Presidential immunity has not been limited to the term in office and the number of officials who benefit from specific procedures that limit the extent to which they can be investigated/prosecuted for corruption offences still goes beyond what is required in a democratic society,” the document reads.

GRECO is disappointed by the significant volume of irrelevant information submitted by the authorities, “which undermines faith in the country’s commitment to the process of mutual evaluation”. No concrete initiatives that could help achieve progress in the near future seem to be under way. “It looks as if the process of implementation of improvements has been halted,” GRECO says urging the authorities to take tangible steps to address the outstanding recommendations.

The Council of Europe’s anti-corruption group must conclude once again that the current very low level of compliance with the recommendations of the 2012 Joint First and Second Round Evaluation Report remains “globally unsatisfactory”.

Belarus is not a member of the Council of Europe, but a party to a number of the Council of Europe’s conventions, including the Civil Law Convention on Corruption, the Criminal Law Convention on Corruption and the Additional protocol to the latter. GRECO monitors the implementation of the organisation’s anti-corruption instruments by all the States Parties.

The Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) is a Council of Europe body that aims to improve the capacity of its members to fight corruption by monitoring their compliance with anti-corruption standards. It helps states to identify deficiencies in national anti-corruption policies, prompting the necessary legislative, institutional and practical reforms. Currently it comprises the 47 Council of Europe member states, Belarus and the United States of America.

Contact : Tatiana Baeva, Spokesperson/Media officer, Tel. +33 3 88 41 21 41