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Belarusian law enforcement under fire for mishandling case against MZKT chief engineer

MINSK (BelTA) – Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko will hold a session with Belarusian law enforcement in the near future. The head of state made the statement at the meeting with Chairman of the Investigation Committee Ivan Noskevich on 13 August, BelTA informs.

“Plans have been made to meet with Belarusian law informant in the near future, maybe, next week, to discuss topical issues. I should say redundant delays in investigation processes were the last straw that made me plan this event, and this is a very concerning fact. Besides, I instructed the Operations and Analysis Center to inform be about the situation involving the chief engineer of Minsk Wheel Tractor Plant [MZKT trademark]. The investigation procedure lasted for more than four years, and nothing was proved in court,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

“I don’t understand how it is possible to apprehend a person, place him in a pretrial detention center (not even in prison, in a pretrial detention center, the difference is clear) and keep him there for four years. You keep this person behind the bars and let him go for failure of evidence. And, likely, for failure of investigation. I will ask the prosecutor general why he fails to supervise criminal investigation and compliance with the law,” the head of state stressed.

According to the head of state, the results of the criminal investigation into the activities of chief engineer of MZKT prompted him to hold a meeting with law enforcement. “It is not okay. People deserve normal attitude,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

The head of state asked Ivan Noskevich about the performance of the Investigation Committee in 2019 and about the investigation of notable criminal cases. “If you want to draw my attention to certain things, I will listen to you. But the most important criminal cases, including those I am keeping an eye on, are a priority. If these cases have already been in court, I will listen to your remarks concerning the performance of courts. I want to know because the president is directly in charge of the judicial branch,” the Belarusian leader concluded.

The chairman of the Investigation Committee remarked that the number of crimes increased by 8.3 % in Belarus in January-July 2019 over the same period of the previous year. “More criminal cases were opened as a result,” he said.

In January-July, the number of crime incident reports increased by 4 % over the same period of 2018. The number of criminal proceedings went up 12.3 % from 75,000 to 84,200. The number of finished cases increased by 3.5 %from 27,700 to 28,600. The number of convicted criminals went up 1.8 % as against 2018.

Speaking about the efficiency of investigation, the number of rehabilitating decisions by courts, including those made at the pre-trial stage, remains at the same level. Such decisions have been made in relation to 30 defendants in 2019.

The number of cases returned for reinvestigation by prosecutors increased by 76 to 427 in 2019.

A half of criminal cases was finished within a month thanks to the measures to facilitate pre-trial procedures. The share of cases which were investigated for more than two months increased from 13.5 % to 15.9 %.