09 December 2015, Wednesday On 9 December the Federation Council of the Russian legislature approved amendments to the Federal Law “On the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation", which for the first time in 17 years since Russia's ratification of the European Convention will allow Russia to legally ignore the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights.

The European Court considers complaints from individuals concerning human rights violations in the area of the right to life, the right to be free from torture, illegal detention, denial of a fair trial, freedom to practice one’s religion, and the right to freedom of expression, assembly and association.

If the Court finds a violation by the State, the Government is often obliged not only to pay monetary compensation, but also to restore the rights of the applicant and to prevent similar violations from occurring in the future.  

The new law says that at the request of the Ministry of Justice, the President or the Legislature, the Constitutional Court may decide the issue of whether a decision rendered by an intergovernmental body can be executed within Russia.

“The law allows the Constitutional Court to resolve the question of the possibility of execution of the ECtHR decision without a hearing, which in itself violates human rights, because the applicant cannot defend his position,” said Olga Gnezdilova, a lawyer with Russian Justice Initiative. "One must understand that the if the Constitutional Court decides to consider a case in private, or it decides that Russia cannot execute a judgment of the ECtHR, there will be nowhere to appeal this decision. In addition, the law does not contain any safeguards concerning the review of ECtHR judgments that entered into force before this new law entered into force. This is simply a mockery of the principles of law.”  

The Constitutional Court under the new law is empowered to decide on the question of implementation or non-implementation of the international judgment in whole or in part. If the Constitutional Court decides that a decision cannot be implemented, it would mean that the state authorities—such as investigators, courts, executive officers—would be unable to take any actions in pursuance of the execution of the ECtHR judgment.   

The new law comes into force on the day of its official publication.

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