“Access to Justice for Women Victims of Violence”
within the PGG Project
“Strengthening Access to Justice for Women Victims of Violence
in the Six Eastern Partnership Countries”
(Strasbourg, 18-19 October 2018)
Deputy director of the Institute for re-training and qualification upgrading of judges, prosecutors and legal professionals
at the Belarusian State University
Dear participants of the regional conference “Access to Justice for Women Victims of Violence”!
On behalf of the Institute for re-training and qualification upgrading of judges, prosecutors and legal professionals at the Belarusian State University I would like to welcome this high and representative assembly.
Today’s conference in all respects is a landmark event.
Exchange of views on existing problems and the development of further actions in this area in this format is, of course, topical.
Joint projects on specific issues of judicial practice are an important form of inter-state dialogue.
Such projects support the development of relations between the representatives of the judicial systems of various states, as well as intra-national public relations.
Moreover such projects should be seen as a kind of bridge between the judicial systems of various countries.
Such a bridge is required just because people go through it and communicate with each other.
This, in turn, contributes to the convergence of the national legal and judicial systems.
The project and the conference are focused on two key concepts: the right to access to justice and the right of women victims of violence.
Access to justice including the right to a fair trial is a human right and an integral element of the rule of law.
Ensuring access to justice is a rather difficult task.
A doubly difficult task – ensuring access to justice for women, due to risk of gender inequality in society.
A triple difficult task – ensuring access to justice for women victims of violence, due to risk of gender inequality in society and extreme vulnerability of victims of violence.
Any violence is an indicator that is extremely negative for society.
Violence against women and domestic violence are phenomena whose danger is obvious not only to victims, but also to the whole society.
Indeed, if a man is capable of committing violence against his close person, will he stop in the use of violence against someone else's to him?
Will there be any obstacle in front of him if he decides to commit violence against many people?
That is why it is important to create an effective national system to counter domestic violence.
And international efforts to promote and protect human rights and freedoms should be aimed at strengthening the measures that the state is undertaking at the national level.
The human rights standards in this sphere developed by States and be applied due to international legal obligations are an important basis on which the road leading to fifth goal of sustainable development is built.
On this road, the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (Istanbul Convention) is, in a way, an important road sign, which prescribes the appropriate directions for action to the states.
As we can see on examples of Eastern Partnership countries the implementation of the standards of the Istanbul Convention into national legal systems can take various forms.
Many issues in the field of preventing and combating domestic violence have been resolved in the Law of the Republic of Belarus 2014 “On the basics of crime prevention activities”.
Much remains to be decided.
This is evidenced by a broad public discussion of the draft concept of Law “On Counteracting Domestic Violence”.
But if we want to build a society with equal opportunities for all, ensuring access to justice for women victims of violence in accordance with international standards, including the standards of the Istanbul Convention, should be considered as an essential component necessary that this task must be solved.