Updated at 22:06,23-05-2018

Head of OSCE Office leaves Belarus September 10


Hans Jochen Schmidt doesn’t comment on his early leave. The head of the OSCE Office in Minsk leaves Belarus on September 10.

"I plan to stay here till this Thursday," Schmidt told Interfax.

As we have informed earlier, the OSCE Permanent Council in Vienne continue to investigate the case of Hans Jochen Schmidt. Several complaints were sent to the OSCE against the current head of the OSCE Office in Minsk. The complaints were sent by representatives of "Young Front" and the United Democratic Forces.

A new deputy head of the Office, Kazakh diplomat Zhandos Asanov, will be introduced in the OSCE Office in Minsk on September 8.

We remind that professor of Passau University Martin Finke (Germany) visited Belarus on June 8–10. He studied the case of the entrepreneurs from Vaukavysk in secrecy. The expert, who came incognito, concluded the case of political prisoner Mikalai Autukhovich didn’t have any violations. The conclusion was sent to embassies of European countries, accredited in Minsk.

As it turned out later, the visit of German expert Martin Finke to Minsk was initiated by Hans Jochen Schmidt. The very fact of this visit was revealed after the expert had finished studying the case of Mikalai Autukhovich. Human rights activists note Martin Finke didn’t meet with the person under investigation and his lawyer during his visit to Belarus.

It should be noticed that the activity of the OSCE Office in Minsk has unambiguous estimation. Belarusian democratic politicians believe the current OSCE Office mandate is not enough to work in Belarus effectively.

Oppositionists were also indignant at "ambiguous" statements made by the Minsk OSCE Office head.

Hans Jochen Schmidt told in an interview to BelaPAN that "fundamental radical changes" mustn’t have been demanded from the Belarusian government. He also noted focusing only on human rights contradicts the OSCE’s interests.