Belarus

Last updated on: 29 June 2012

Criminalisation of HIV transmission/exposure

Belarus
Whether Specific law enacted: 
-
Number of people prosecuted: 
1
Number of people convicted: 
1
Applicable law: 

Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus of 9 July 1999 N 275-З

Article 157.  Infecting with Human Immunodeficiency Virus

This is an HIV-specific law.

Both exposure and transmission are subject to prosecution.

Sentences range from a fine through to 15 years imprisonment.

Key wording in the law: 

Article 157. Infecting with Human Immunodeficiency Virus

1. Knowingly placing another person in danger of being infected with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV infection) - Shall be punished by fine or deprivation of freedom for a term up to three years.

2. Thoughtlessly or with indirect intention infecting another person with HIV infection by the person who knew that he has this illness - Shall be punished by deprivation of freedom for a term of from two up to seven years.

3. The act provided for by paragraph two of the present article committed with respect to two or more persons or with respect to a person known to be a minor, or with direct intention - Shall be punished by deprivation of freedom for a term from five up to thirteen years. Part 3 of Article 166 of the Criminal Code provides a punishment of imprisonment for 8 - 15 years where HIV infection occurs through an act of rape.

Part 3 of Article 167 of the Criminal Code also provides a punishment of imprisonment for 8 -15 years where HIV is transmitted negligently through 'forcible acts of a sexual nature'.

There is no relevant provision in the Code of Administrative violations. However the Code consists of the article 16.2 Concealment of Source of Venereal Disease or deviation from the inspection.

Discussion: 

From the information received (emails from our two respondents) it seems that the law in Belarus allows for prosecution of exposure and transmission. There has been at least one conviction.

However we have managed to find no other information other than an unofficial translation of a newspaper article.  In it, the journalist appears to indicate that despite the fact that the defendant disclosed her HIV positive status to her sexual partner the law does not permit an individual to consent. Consequently she was found guilty of transmitting the virus to her partner.

Survey respondents/Organisations working on HIV and the Law: 

 1) Regional Advisor for Community Mobilization and UN Cares: Anastasia Kamlyk Regional HIV/AIDS Programme for Europe and the CIS United Nations Development Programme based in Moscow.

2) UN Office on Drugs and Crime: Mikhail Golichenko Legal Officer UN Office on Drugs and Crime, Regional Office for Russia and Belarus based in Moscow. 

Other laws and policies with an impact on responses to HIV

Laws and regulations relating to entry, stay or residence in the country: 

There are no regulations concerning foreigners travelling to Belarus. People living with HIV and AIDS won't face any problems when entering the country. Those who stay for less than 3 months don't need to notify authorities if they are HIV-positive.

Entry or residency permits are granted to people living with HIV and AIDS. However, there are specific regulations targeting students: foreigners and stateless people studying in Belarus for more than 3 months have to undergo testing within 10 days of entering Belarus, and again after 6 months(maximum twice per year) Long term residents or students must obtain an HIV tests in Belarus and submit the results to the Department of Citizenship and Migration when applying for an extension. 

For updated information, please go to: www.hivrestrictions.org

Laws relating to same sex, sexual relations: 

Male to Male relationships: Legal

Punishments for male to male relationships:  No law

Female to Female Relationships: Legal

Age of consent:  Equal for heterosexuals and homosexuals

Marriage and Substitutes for Marriage: No law

For updated information, please go to: http:// ilga.org