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Belarus sets up commission for people wishing to return home

Tuesday, 24 January 2023

Belarus is putting together an interdepartmental commission to work with citizens wishing to return to their homeland, Belarusian Prosecutor General Andrei Shved told reporters, BelTA has learned.

"The decision has been made: an interdepartmental commission will be set up and headed by the Prosecutor General. The commission will include representatives of the public and government bodies, MPs. Those who want to return home but are wary of doing so will have the opportunity to apply (information will be posted in all media outlets) to the commission and get appropriate information regarding the presence or absence of any claims from the government to this particular person," Andrei Shved said.

The Prosecutor General stressed that the commission will work with each citizen individually. It is expected that the interdepartmental commission will start working soon: a corresponding draft presidential decree is being developed. The head of state instructed to prepare the document as soon as possible. It will be possible to apply to the commission in any convenient form. The president's main requirement is to give people a chance.

"Many people are not accused or charged with anything. But they have been, figuratively speaking, brainwashed heavily and have started to imagine things. Therefore, they should contact us and learn that they are facing no charges and can safely return home and live a peaceful life. It's one category of people. Another category includes people who suspect or know for sure that what they did was illegal. We will double-check all the information. If they indeed have committed crimes or are suspected of committing them, there are legal mechanisms to deal with them. If they repent what they did they can, for example, appeal for pardon. There are other ways. This is within the law," the head of the supervisory authority explained.

“Positive decisions will be made in regard to persons who did not commit crimes, who did not attack the constitutional order, who repented and really want to return home and live a peaceful life in our country. Even with regard to those who have committed crimes ad who have repented we will make decisions in every individual case (we have enough legal mechanisms). Everyone will be given a chance to return home and live peacefully. But, if a person committed a crime, a decision will be made in accordance with the law, as in any other legal state," Andrei Shved added.

As BelTA has reported, Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko hosted meeting to review the social and political situation and the crime rate in Belarus on 24 January. One of the topics was the work with citizens who left Belarus after the 2020 events but want to come back.

“Everyone who wants to mend their ways and make amends should have a chance for leniency. This applies only to those who deserve this forgiveness. Those who deliberately broke the law, endangered human lives, continue destructive activities against our country with the support of Western intelligence agencies will be held accountable. We have brought the law into line and toughened it quite a bit. After all, some of those who fled (they need to provide for themselves somehow) have been radicalized and now they rely on the use of force and the creation of illegal paramilitary formations. In this case there is no returning home and there will never be,” the president said.

“We need to figure out what people have really revised their views and want to live peacefully, study and work, and who do not. Yet, we should not lose sight of the fact that some of them might take advantage of our conciliatory gesture and inflict some damage. It is also in the interests of intelligence services of foreign states, especially our close-door neighbors who are mean-spirited towards us (they are acting worse than countries that are further away from our borders). Therefore, our task is to apply an individual approach to everyone and to take fair decisions,” the Belarusian leader demands.

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