Estonia has allocated €30,000 for the development of an International Accountability Platform for Belarus to collect and preserve evidence of human rights abuses in the country in relation to the 2020 presidential election.
The platform is backed by 18 countries: Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Eva-Maria Liimets said the situation in Belarus has not improved.
"The authorities of Belarus have ignored international calls for an end to violence in the country and a dialogue with the Belarusian people. Serious human rights violations continue," the minister said. "Estonia supports the establishment of IAPB because all those violating human rights should be held to account – the aim of the platform is to collect and preserve evidence for criminal investigations and justice."
The creation of the platform follows the recommendations of Professor Wolfgang Benedek in his report on Belarus in the framework of the OSCE's Moscow Mechanism.
The platform is a joint venture centered around the NGOs Dignity (Copenhagen), Redress (London), Viasna (Minsk) and the International Committee for Investigation of Torture (Minsk), which are supported by a group of likeminded states.
The aim is to gather and preserve information and evidence, which can be used as a basis for criminal investigations and prosecutions with a view to holding perpetrators accountable for their crimes.
The platform will not replace a possible future UN mechanism; instead, it will 'fill a gap' by collecting and preserving evidence until such UN mechanism is possibly established.
Editor: Helen Wright