EU does not recognise Belarusian state structures as terrorist organisations

The current tools of the EU do not allow recognizing the General Directorate for Combating Organized Crime and Corruption (GUBOPiK) and the riot police of Belarus as terrorist organizations

This was stated today, February 4, by the Head of the European Union Delegation in Belarus, Dirk Schuebel.

“As regards the recognition of the organisations you have mentioned as terrorist, the current EU instruments do not allow to do it on the level of the European Union. As entities representing a state, they do not meet the definition of a terrorist organisation that is subject to inclusion on the so-called European list of terrorists (CP931 terrorism sanctions regime). Nevertheless, I would stress that last year the European Union imposed sanctions on the heads of OMON units, as well as officers and commanders of other structures (SOBR, police, Alpha unit, Interior Ministry troops) who were involved in violent repressions against protesters”, –  he said, commenting on Svetlana Tikhanovskaya’s proposal to recognize the GUBOPIK and OMON as terrorist organisations.

“Let me also stress that sanctions are first and foremost a preventive tool of the EU and an incentive to change the behaviour of those they apply to. Nor can they be seen in isolation from other EU instruments. Sanctions are a part of the comprehensive approach towards Belarus, established by the EU Council Conclusions of 12 October 2020”, –  emphasized Schuebel.

At the same time, commenting on the possibility of imposing a fourth package of sanctions against Belarus, he said that “the EU countries may adopt additional restrictive measures, including against economic entities, if the situation in Belarus does not improve.”

“As for those against whom sanctions may be imposed, we are not entitled to comment on the ongoing discussions in the Council of the European Union. Once the decision on new sanctions is taken, the Council will publish it. At the same time, the Council may lift the restrictive measures, when significant progress in the field of human and civil rights is achieved in Belarus”, –  stressed the EU representative.

Recall that after the presidential election in Belarus, which took place on 9 August 2020, mass protests started in the country. The protesters demanded the resignation of Alexander Lukashenko. In response, the country’s authorities deployed large-scale arrests of their opponents. The EU countries did not recognise the results of the vote and in response to the actions of the official Minsk introduced three packages of sanctions against a number of Belarusian officials and companies. At the same time, former presidential candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya proposed that Brussels recognize GUBOPIK and OMON as terrorist organizations due to their tough actions against protesters.

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