Prominent Eastern European lawyers. MT
Lawyer, academician, human rights activist
Ihar Rynkevich, born April 3, 1968, prominent
Belarusian legal and political expert, journalist and human rights
champion. Mr. Rynkevich is a member and the press secretary of the
Belarus Helsinki Commission since 1996 and Vice Chairman of the
Belarus Social Democratic Party. (BSDP).
Mr. Rynkevich is best known for his role as lead
defence counsel for
Kozulin, former Chairman of BSDP and one of the most prominent
Eastern-European human rights activist. Former president (rector) of
the Belarusian State University Kozulin, who holds a Ph.D. degree in
mathematics and pedagogy, ran for the office of President of Belarus
against the incumbent ruler Aleksandr Lukashenka in March 2006. Mr.
Kozulin accused Mr. Lukashenka of corruption and violations of human
rights. Several weeks before the election, on March 2, 2006, Kozulin
was beaten and incarcerated by the Belarusian police. He was charged
with "disorderly conduct" and "incitement to mass disorder" and
sentenced to five and a half years in prison. Amnesty International
declared Mr. Kozulin a prisoner of conscience. United States and
Western European nations have imposed sanctions on Lukashenka and
his top officials, for fraudulent elections and Kozulinís unlawful
incarceration. Mr. Rynkevich worked closely with the United
States Department of State, the members of the US Congress, the
Organization of Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and other
world democratic organization in the successful international
campaign to free Kozulin. Yielding to intense international
pressure, Belarusian dictator Lukashenka granted Kozulin
presidential pardon in August 2008.
Education. In 1992 Mr. Rynkevich graduated
from Grodno State University (Belarus) cum laude majoring in
history. In 1998, he graduated cum laude from Grodno State
University Law School. Member of Minsk Bar since 1999.
Public Life. Mr. Rynkevich commenced his
affiliation with the BSDP in 1991 as the Chairman of the BSDP
Central Oversight Commission. In 1992 he was elected member of the
Central Council and Executive Committee of BSDP, and in 1995 became
the BSDP press-secretary and lead election counsel. In 1995 Mr.
Rynkevich co-founded Belarusian Social Democratic Union and
engineered the amalgamation of the BSDP with the Party of the
Peopleís Consent (PPC).
Mr. Rynkevich is one of the founders of the
Belarus Press Association (BPA) and drafted the BPAís first by-laws.
From 1995 to 1997 he served as Executive Director of BPA.
Mr. Rynkevich served as the vice-president of the
Belarusian Media Legal Defence Centre (BMLD) in 1997-1998.
In 2001-2004 he worked closely with the
Belarusian Citizensí Legal Defence Centre, a prominent human rights
Mr. Rynkevich is one of the principal organizers
of the citizensí campaign "Belarus for the European Council" (BEC).
In 2007, Mr. Rynkevich founded Belarusian Public
Commission for Rehabilitation of the Victims of Political
Academics and Publications. From 1998 to
2006, Mr. Rynkevich taught as Associate Professor in the College of
Management and Entrepreneurship in Minsk. Mr. Rynkevich authored
numerous publications on the issues of legal framework of mass
media, criminal procedure and legal defence, and juridical-political
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