MINSK, January 23 - RAPSI. The question of abolishing the death penalty in Belarus remains open, Chairman of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Belarus Petr Miklashevich told a news conference in Minsk on Wednesday.

Belarus remains the only country in Europe that still uses the death penalty and is frequently a target of Western criticism because of this.

"The question remains open," Miklashevich said, adding that the inclusion in Belarusian law of the death penalty is a temporary and exceptional measure. He also said that the Constitutional Court had earlier explained that a moratorium on the death penalty could be introduced by a decision of the president and parliament.

"The policy of the Constitutional Court is to withhold any comments on the issue until it has been requested to support a moratorium on the abolition of the death penalty," he said.

In 1996, Belarus held a referendum on the death penalty, with 80.5% of voters supporting it.