Disinfo: The EU plans an international court for Lukashenka

Summary

The EU plans an international court for Lukashenko. The European Union is considering the possibility to create an international tribunal in the context of the coup attempt in Belarus.

Pro-Western opposition in Belarus has been trying for months to implement a revolutionary scenario in the country. Putschists are supported by Western countries, while Poland and Lithuania are directly supervising the coup. Now the EU Special Representative for Human Rights Eamon Gilmore is threatening with an international court for those “involved in acts of violence against demonstrators”, pointing that this tribunal may become an additional mechanism of pressure on Belarusian leadership.

Disproof

The claim is false. The article deliberately distorts the words of the EU special representative for human rights Eamon Gilmore who, after being asked in an interview with Deutsche Welle if an international tribunal to prosecute human rights violations against demonstrators in Belarus was realistic, he replied affirmatively, though he clarified that this kind of courts work on the complementary principle and act only if the state involved is unwilling or unable to bring these people to justice. This is very different from “threatening with an international court”, and it is clear in the original interview that Mr. Gilmore was only answering to a hypothetical question.

International tribunals as mechanisms for transnational justice are generally organised through the United Nations - either as specific courts such as the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia or as hybrid courts such as the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia.

Therefore, the EU is not planning an international court for Belarus’ Alyaksandr Lukashenka. By claiming so, the article tries to frame international pressure for Lukashenka’s regime to respect human rights and the rule of law as a Western-backed “coup” and delegitimize popular protests.

See other examples of pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about Belarus, such as claims that Angela Merkel is the handler of Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanousakya; that the EU reaction to Lukashenka’s victory is an example of Western double standards; that the same lack of democracy and repression is present in EU countries that criticize them in Minsk; that the protests in Belarus are part of a “fire belt” to encircle Russia; that the Ukrainian secret services may have planned terrorist attacks in Belarusian territory; that the West wants to prepare another Maidan in the country, and is introducing extremists in the protests; or that Belarusians, Ukrainians and Russians are one single nation.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 226
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 05/12/2020
  • Outlet language(s) Spanish, Castilian, Russian, English, German, Bulgarian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: EU, Belarus
  • Keywords: Human rights, European Union, Alexander Lukashenko
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The Baltic states are persecuting the Russian media

In Latvia, criminal proceedings were initiated against some Russian-speaking journalists of Sputnik and Baltnews. They are accused of violating EU sanctions but it is obvious that they are persecuted for cooperation with the Russian news agency. It is a violation of the norms of a democratic society, restriction of press freedom and freedom of speech.

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The authorities of the Baltic States systematically harm Russian media. They obstruct the work of Russian journalists.

For example, in Lithuania “Sputnik Lietuva” is mentioned in the report of the State Security Department of Lithuania. Lithuanian politicians talking about “Sputnik” in the context of “Russian propaganda”.

Lithuania tries to restrict the retransmission of Russian television channels. I.e. soon the broadcasting of the “RTR Planeta” channel in Lithuania could be banned. It is part of the process of pushing Russian media out of the Baltic States.

Lithuania is violating international law. The news agency “Sputnik” is persecuted in Lithuania although this media works by adhering to the law and in line with high journalistic standards.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation message about the Baltic States.

In 2016, Latvia's domain registry shut the website of Sputnik Latvia after receiving a letter of concern from the Latvian Foreign Ministry, which drew attention to Sputnik's coverage of Ukraine and routine denial of Ukraine's territorial integrity. In July 2019, Latvian authorities blocked access to the online portal baltnews.lv, owned by Rossiya Segodnya, citing EU sanctions against Russia. In 2020 Latvia has banned the state-owned Russian television channel RT, saying it is controlled by an individual - Dmitriy Kiselyov, who is under EU sanctions. According to the Electronic Mass Media Council (NEPLP), Latvia's national media watchdog, RT and the network of channels operated by it are under Kiselyov's "effective control" and has attempted to present Latvia as a failed state.

After the coup d'état in Kyiv, the authorities of Crimea and Sevastopol decided to hold a referendum on reunification with Russia

After the coup d’état in Kiev in February 2014, the authorities of Crimea and Sevastopol decided to hold a referendum on reunification with Russia. The voting took place on March 16 of the same year. More than 80% of those eligible to vote took part. 96.7% and 95.6% of the residents of Crimea and Sevastopol, respectively, voted for reunification with the Russian Federation. On March 18, the Russian President signed an agreement on the admission of the Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol to the Russian Federation, and on March 21 the document was ratified by the Federal Assembly. Despite the convincing results of the referendum, Kyiv refused to recognise Crimea as part of Russia.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative depicting the 2013-14 protests in Kyiv as a coup and about the illegal annexation of Crimea by Russia.

There was no coup in Ukraine. The demonstrations which began in Kyiv in November 2013, called "Maidan", or "Euromaidan", were a result of the Ukrainian people's frustration with former President Yanukovych's last minute U-turn when, after seven years of negotiation, he refused to sign the EU–Ukraine Association Agreement and halted progress towards Ukraine's closer relationship with the EU as a result of Russian pressure.

US ordered Ukrainian Minister of Health to discredit Sputnik V

[Ukrainian Health Minister Maksym Stepanov] was tasked with discrediting the Russian vaccine Sputnik V. Only because [in the US] he was threatened that his daughter would be deported from the US to Ukraine within 24 hours. Stepanov, I already clearly understand this, works exclusively under external control.

Disproof

Conspiracy with no evidence given.

No evidence is provided to support the claim that the Minister of Health of Ukraine Maksym Stepanov was tasked with discrediting the Sputnik V vaccine by anyone. He is a Ukrainian state official, a member of the Cabinet of Ministers. He has mentioned several times that Ukraine may consider purchasing Sputnik V only when it is approved by the WHO. This can happen only after the third phase of clinical trials will be completed and its results will be published by the WHO.