Belarus

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HIV Justice Network presents important new HIV criminalisation data today at AIDS 2016

21 Jul 2016
Today, at the International AIDS Conference in Durban, the HIV Justice Network and GNP+ will present important new data on HIV criminalisation based on updated research from our Advancing HIV Justice 2 report. Global Trends in HIV Criminalisation (Download the … More

EATG seeks to ensure that Europe-wide standards of up-to-date scientific evidence limit overly broad HIV criminalisation

28 Oct 2013
EATG’s new position paper on prosecutions for HIV non-disclosure, exposure and/or transmission published last week recommends that the criminal law should only be used in extremely rare and unusual cases where HIV is maliciously and intentionally transmitted and that Europe-wide … More

Last reviewed 01 June 2017

Country overview

Belarus passed an HIV-specific law in 1999 that criminalises any unprotected sex by an HIV-positive individual, even with a partner who consents, knowing that the person has HIV.  Article 157 of the Criminal Code of Belarus criminalises both HIV exposure and transmission. HIV exposure is punished with a fine or up to three years in prison. "Thoughtlessly or with indirect intention" transmitting HIV is punished with up to seven years' imprisonment. HIV transmission to two or more persons or a minor, or with direct intention is punished from five up to thirteen years.  A seven-year prison sentence is imposed if the sex does result in HIV transmission to one adult; if more than one adult has been infected or if the victim is a minor, this is increased to a 13-year sentence. There are reports of prosecutions available.

Specific laws

Specific law enacted Yes

Specific law criminalising HIV non disclosure, exposure, or transmission: Yes

Prosecuted using non-HIV specific laws: No

Prosecuted using both specific and non specific laws: No

Is non-disclosure actionable: No

Is exposure actionable: No

Is transmission actionable: No

Prosecutions

Number of prosecutions 20

Latest cases and news can be found at: http://www.hivjustice.net/site/cases/?casetype=-1&country=26&from-month=-1&from-year=-1&to-month=-1&to-year=-1

Convictions

Number of convictions 6

Latest cases and news can be found at: http://www.hivjustice.net/site/cases/?casetype=-1&country=26&from-month=-1&from-year=-1&to-month=-1&to-year=-1

Laws

Applicable laws

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 13 years imprisonment.

Applicable key wording

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.

Text in Russian: Уголовный Кодекс Республики Беларусь. Статья 157. Заражение вирусом иммунодефицита человека1. Заведомое поставление другого лица в опасность заражения вирусом иммунодефицита человека (ВИЧ-инфекцией) –наказывается штрафом или лишением свободы на срок до трех лет.
2. Заражение другого лица по легкомыслию или с косвенным умыслом ВИЧ-инфекцией лицом, знавшим о наличии у него этого заболевания, – наказывается лишением свободы на срок от двух до семи лет.
3. Действие, предусмотренное частью второй настоящей статьи, совершенное в отношении двух или более лиц, либо заведомо несовершеннолетнего, либо с прямым умыслом, - наказывается лишением свободы на срок от пяти до тринадцати лет.

Discussion

No changes since the last survey in 2004 and 2008 - all information correct and updated as of November 2016.

The law in Belarus allows for prosecution of HIV exposure and transmission. There has been at least 20 convictions, and 12 cases were documented based on the media reports. However, we have not been able to access the legal analysis of court rulings under the article 157.

Further reading

Advancing HIV Justice 2 Report - http://www.hivjustice.net/advancing2/




Cases

Overview

According to Advancing HIV Justice 2 Report, in 2013-2015 it's known of at least 20 prosecutions of people with HIV under the HIV-specific law. Based on the media reports, there are 15 cased of prosecutions and sentencing documented, both on charges of HIV exposure and transmission. In two cases, the court appears to be relying on phylogenetic analysis to 'prove' direction of transmission. There have been prosecutions against a male partner in an official marriage and a sex worker. For HIV transmission, It seems that the courts tended to rule 3-7 year terms in prisons for man and 3-4-year term and a fine for women.

Among them, there are six cases against women living with HIV. The five women who were prosecuted under HIV criminal laws were characterised in the media as frivolous women of easy virtue, alcohol abusers, and unable to take measures to prevent HIV transmission.

Latest cases and news in Belarus can be found at HIV Justice Network.

To date HJN  has documented 12 prosecutions, since the first prosecution in 2009. The last resported  onviction was in September 2016.

1.     First in 2009; it is known of at least 4 HIV criminalization cases in Grodno region before 2009. One charge was dismissed because of the death of the prosecuted man, aged 28.

2.     Between 2009 and 2013, there were 2 prosecusions.

3.     Between 2013 and 2016, there were 10 prosecutions

-       There were only HIV-related prosecutions.

-       All prosecutions were heterosexual sex–related, 6 men and 6 women were prosecuted; 

-       From known rulings for HIV transmission, a woman was sentensed to three years in prison; a man - to five-year imprisonment for HIV transmission to his wife; and another man to seven-year imprisonment for infecting more than two women.

-       There were prosecutions in Gomel region, Grodno region and Brest region.

-       Belarus courts have estimated that the ‘adequate’ compensation for HIV exposure adds from 3,560 Euros (7,35 mln Belarus rubles) to 5,818 Euros (12 mln Belarus rubles); and for contamination (infection) with HIV adds from approximately 14,545 Euros (30 mln Belarus rubles) up to 33,400 Euros (70 mln Belarus rubles).

Last reviewed 01 June 2017

Last reviewed 01 June 2017

Last reviewed 01 June 2017