Belarusian analyst Andrey Eliseyev called the situation in his home country “the greatest disgrace”:
“The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe announced the launch of the so-called Moscow Mechanism for Belarus. And actually through an emergency procedure. It has been applied only for the fifth time in 30 years, and already again in Belarus. This is a unique and very, very shameful signal for the country. I will explain in more detail what it means and when it was applied.
The OSCE covers three broad areas of activity (often called dimensions): military-political, economic-environmental, and human. The latter refers to the sphere of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
Within the human dimension, OSCE states have agreed on mechanisms to track how countries are meeting their commitments. One of them is called Vienna, and the second, developing it, is Moscow. They are so called based on the cities where the OSCE countries approved them in 1989 and 1991, respectively. In general, these are conventional names for specific legal mechanisms, their essence is more important.
The essence of the Moscow Mechanism is that it gives the OSCE countries a legal opportunity to form special missions from among independent experts on the human rights situation in the OSCE countries. They impartially study the situation and offer specific recommendations for resolving the problem.
In general, it is assumed that the OSCE country itself, or rather, its authorities are interested in resolving problems in the field of human rights, because this is their responsibility under national legislation and within the framework of international law. As you know, in reality, some countries do not show such interest, but the Moscow Mechanism takes this into account.
There is actually an extraordinary scenario when, due to the seriousness of the situation, a mission is formed even without the consent / request of the OSCE country to which it concerns. It can be initiated by at least 10 OSCE countries.
The Moscow mechanism has been used less than 10 times in its entire 30-year history; among them - only a few times under the emergency procedure (without the consent of the country):
* 1992: mission in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina to investigate atrocities against unarmed civilians (supported by 12 OSCE countries);
* 2002-2003: mission to Turkmenistan on repressions after the allegedly unsuccessful attempt on the life of the ruler Niyazov (supported by 10 OSCE countries);
* 2011: mission on the situation in Belarus in connection with the repression after the presidential elections on December 19, 2010 (supported by 14 OSCE countries);
* 2018: mission on the situation in Chechnya (Russia) in connection with massive violations of human rights (supported by 16 OSCE countries);
* And now the OSCE has decided to initiate the Moscow Mechanism on Belarus again, now in connection with the rigging of elections, the killings and torture of civilians and massive repressions; this decision was supported by 17 OSCE countries.
The establishment by OSCE countries of a mission without the consent of the country itself, the situation in which is being investigated, is a rather exceptional phenomenon. In general, in international law, countries prefer not to stick their heads in even completely legal procedures that do not imply the consent of the country in question.
This happens on the rarest of occasions associated with the most severe violations of international human rights law. And in Belarus it has been applied for the second time (!), And never before has such a large number of OSCE countries supported the decision to launch the Moscow Mechanism.
Where will this all lead.
There is no particular doubt that, as in 2011, Belarus will refuse to cooperate with the mission and will not allow its leader to visit the country. Turkmenistan and Russia did the same. However, this will not prevent the head of the mission from preparing a large factual report with names-dates-events on the basis of communication with organizations and individuals who are outside Belarus, and communication with people in Belarus via the Internet.
The report of such an OSCE mission on the situation in Belarus in 2011 influenced the adoption of UN Human Rights Council Resolution 17/24, which ultimately led to the establishment of the UN Special Rapporteur on Belarus in 2012.
It can be expected that the head of the mission will assess the acts committed in Belarus as crimes against humanity, which are classified as especially grave crimes under international law, along with genocide, war crimes and aggression.
Naturally, Russia and China will block any attempts to create an International Tribunal for Belarus through a UN Security Council resolution. However, an authoritative report has the potential to play a role in achieving justice, taking into account crimes without a statute of limitations..."