Putin Gives Russian Courts Power to Overrule International Human Rights Law

By Kelly Jirsa

Russian President Vladimir Putin addresses the audience at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia. REUTERS/Michael Klimentyev/Sputnik/Kremlin
Russian President Vladimir Putin addresses the audience at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia. REUTERS/Michael Klimentyev/Sputnik/Kremlin

In an alarming move, Russian President Vladimir Putin has passed a bill allowing the Constitutional Court of Russia the right to overrule decisions made by international human rights bodies, such as the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

The bill enables Russian courts to declare international human rights court rulings as “non-executable”. The bill also states that the Russian constitution takes legal precedence over international law.

In the newspaper “The Moscow Times”, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov claims that the bill does not contradict the European Convention on Human Rights and confirmed that Russia is still a member state of the convention.

The bill comes off the back of Russia losing a number of cases in the ECHR, with them being ordered to pay compensation. Russian analysts believe that the bill has been passed in an effort to relieve Russia of its obligation to pay out 1.9 billion Euros to Yukos Oil company shareholders. Last year the ECHR ruled that the Russian government was liable for unfair proceedings in its treatment of Yukos Oil Company on the issue of a tax assessment in 2000, which ultimately lead to the company’s bankruptcy and liquidation.

Despite Russia’s defensiveness of the ruling, siting the Yukos case as justification, the bill has far-reaching consequences for those seeking protection from human rights abuse.

In a statement to Reuters, the ECHR reported to have received 218 complaints against Russia in 2014 and found that 122 cases have violated Human Rights, including the deportation of Georgian citizens and the imprisonment of defendants in metal cages during court hearings.

 

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