Today, the Council of Europe’s anti-corruption body, Group of States against Corruption (GRECO), has published summaries of two new monitoring reports on Belarus: the evaluation report on criminalisation of corruption and on transparency of political funding as well as the report on compliance with previous recommendations related to legal framework and practices of preventing and fighting corruption.
The ratification by Belarus of the Council of Europe’s Criminal Law Convention against Corruption has not triggered a proper revision of the Belarusian Criminal Code, GRECO says in the first report. Provisions on bribery are to be extended: the concepts of “offering”, “promising”, “requesting” and “accepting an offer or a promise” are to be introduced; material and non-material benefits as well as instances when the bribe is not intended for the public official him/herself but for a third person are to be covered; trading in influence and bribery of foreign arbitrators and of foreign jurors criminalised; and dual criminality requirement for bribery offences committed abroad abolished.
As for the transparency of political funding, GRECO notes that although 15 political parties with diverse ideologies have been registered in Belarus, they only play a marginal role in the country’s political and electoral process, and do not appear to exercise their essential democratic function in law or in practice. Instead, the county’s political model and electoral process rely on pro-government state-subsidised public associations, trade unions and “work collectives” of state enterprises. With no state funding and public support, parties in practice do not have any financial resources.