For the first time in St. Petersburg
The constitutional court Thursday for the first time considered the question of the enforcement of a decision of the European court of human rights. The authorities claimed that Strasbourg had exceeded his authority, demanding that Russia granted suffrage to prisoners.
A request to the COP requested the Ministry of justice. The office was asked to accept the impossible execution of the decision of the European court of human rights in the case “Anchugov and Gladkov V. Russia”. In July 2015, the constitutional court established that if the decision of the ECHR is contrary to the law of the country, it may not be fulfilled.
The Deputy Minister Georgy Matyushkin persuaded the judges of the constitutional court, the Strasbourg court criticized the Russian Constitution, and this is a direct “violation of sovereignty”. And the Constitution prohibits the right to elect and be elected to those who are serving sentences in places of deprivation of freedom (part 3 article 32 of the Constitution).
A right or privilege
Sergey Anchugov and Mr Gladkov were sentenced to death for a series of serious crimes: murder, robbery, fraud. But capital punishment to each of them was commuted to 15 years imprisonment. While serving his sentence, they could not vote in presidential elections and deputies of the state Duma. Both prisoners had submitted complaints to the ECHR, which in 2013 recognized their rights have been violated and demanded that the Russian side has eliminated the violations.
At the session of the constitutional court of the convicts and their lawyers argued that the participation in the elections is not seen as a right of citizens, but as their privilege.
“People with dual citizenship, in fact a foreigner has more rights than a citizen of Russia, being in imprisonment places”, — said Anchugov.
The plaintiffs claimed that it is restricting the rights of a huge number of people — in places of deprivation of liberty serve their sentence more than 526 thousand people (statistics of the Federal penitentiary service as of 1 March).
The applicants were supported by the representative of the Council on human rights under the President Ilya shablinsky. He offered to introduce a differentiated approach and allow the people to vote, for example, those who are contained in prisons. It is not necessary to change the Constitution, just reinterpret, persuaded the judges shablinsky.
The involvement of criminals
Representatives of the state Duma, the Federation Council, President, government, Prosecutor General and Central electoral Commission opposed the execution of the ECtHR judgment. They insisted that voting in elections prisoners call the criminals to influence the formation of authorities.
“Prisoners’ rights are not violated, and they do not need to recover”, — noted the representative of the “lower house” of Parliament Dmitry Vyatkin.
“We’re talking about such concepts as power and criminality. The Constitution prohibits the participation of criminals in the formation of the government. From my point of view, this position should be maintained”, — supported him the representative of the Federation Council Alexey Aleksandrov.
“Were there attempts to discuss in the Duma, how can you do this decision? Have you been searching for ways to solve it, or you [based on the decision of the COP] all rejected,” he asked the judge Gadis Gadzhiyev.
“The state Duma such actions were not carried out, as the Duma another function. The authority to execute the ECHR’s decision is justice,” retorted Vyatkin.
All the authorities pointed out that to grant the prisoner refuses and Britain, which also violated the decision of the Strasbourg court in the case of John Hertza who killed the hostess of the apartment, where he had rented a room.
After hearing the parties, high judges has left in a consultative room for decision making. As a rule, the COP takes about a month.