Above Strasbourg: what will the permit the COP to ignore the verdict of the ECHR


Precedent in COP

The constitutional court issued the first decision allowing Russia to fulfill the decisions of the Strasbourg court on human rights (ECHR). According to a law passed in December of 2015, Russia is allowed to recognize the enforceability of decisions of international courts, if they contradict the Russian Constitution.

First, a decision of the COP under the new law concerned the rulings of the ECHR in the case “Anchugov and Gladkov V. Russia”. The ECHR has decreed to grant suffrage to prisoners.

The constitutional court ruled that to fulfill this decision is not possible: a ban on participation in elections is set in the Russian Constitution, and no international court can’t demand to amend the Basic law. The judges drew attention to the fact that to optimize the system of penalties is possible: for example, translate a penal colony in the category of alternative sanctions. Then voice will come to all who are housed there.

The exception to the rule

A precedent for decisions in cases of ordinary citizens is the decision of the constitutional court will, I am sure the Deputy Director of the Centre of assistance to international protection of Valentin Moiseev. Such rulings of the ECHR, which would be directly contrary to the Constitution, still need to look for, says Moses, because the Constitution itself was drawn up on the basis of international norms and in fact establishes the same rights and freedoms that the Convention for the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms. “This is an exception to the rule”, — said Moiseev.

The COP decision will not entail a reduction of complaints to the ECHR, but will provoke the growth of appeals to the constitutional court itself to resolve not to do something or other decision, said the lawyer Timur Hucow. Moreover, such a validation scheme is applied for political Affairs and uncomfortable decisions, he said.

For example, under “test” the ECHR decision on the complaint of shareholders NK “YUKOS”. In July 2014, the Strasbourg court awarded the applicants a record amount of compensation in the amount of €1.86 billion and the reimbursement of all court costs of €300 thousand Then the court found violations in the company’s bankruptcy.

The Minister of justice Alexander Konovalov has repeatedly stated to journalists that he had “no confidence that Russia is going to perform”.

The deputies who initiated the law on the right of Russia to ignore the verdicts of Strasbourg, did not deny that the impetus for the initiative was exactly the case.

Moscow rejected the solution and the ECtHR judgments on claims of Ukraine against Russia because “the annexation of Crimea and Russian intervention in Donetsk and Lugansk,” if they are taken not in favor of the Russian side. Former Prime Minister of Ukraine Arseniy Yatsenyuk said that the amount of these two claims exceed a trillion rubles, which the Ukrainian side assesses the damage.

Also pending in the Strasbourg court are the appeals of the convict for the establishment of the extremist wing in the Crimean Director Oleg Sentsov and complaint pilots Hope Savchenko, convicted of firing of journalists VGTRK.

Dear justice

The number of those who appealed for protection to the Strasbourg court, in the last year started to decline: last year the number of complaints from Russia has decreased on 8% — in 2015, the court received 9,2 thousand of applications, the year before — 10 million (official statistics of the ECHR).

Meanwhile, last year high the judge had to consider 116 requests, satisfying them 109. In most cases the ECtHR found violations of articles 3 and 5 of the Convention — prohibition of torture and right to personal liberty and inviolability.

According to Hotova, this trend is not associated with the undermining of confidence in international institutions, and economic factors: the costs of litigation in the ECtHR can be thousands of euros. “In the conditions of crisis not everyone can afford to file a complaint there, besides the procedure of consideration of cases is very long”, — the lawyer specifies.

The decisions of the Strasbourg court may also take years. The Russian side regularly paid amount of compensation that is awarded by the ECHR, but applicants rarely seek effective review of their cases and the courts ‘ decisions.

Soon be fulfilled and the requirements of Strasbourg to make changes to the legislation. According to the monitoring of the Ministry of justice in August 2014, Russia has not fulfilled the requirements 11 of the ECHR.

For example, in detention centers is not resolved torturous conditions of detention (pilot ruling of the Strasbourg court “Ananyev and others”). By European standards per inmate must have 7 square meters, in Russia — 4 sq m, in the Russian prison is often per person and 2.5 square meters.

The Ministry of justice noted that not implemented the ECtHR judgments on a group of complaints “Timofeyev V. Russia” (2003), “Ilyushkin and others versus Russia” (2012), “Gerasimov and others V. Russia” (2014 year), which related to red tape in the performance of the state obligations “in kind” — the provision of housing, benefits and other government services.

The Reaction Of Europe

In Europe to the decision, the COP reacted cautiously. “Today’s decision of the constitutional court assumes that there is a way to fulfill the [ECtHR] and make changes in the legislation”, — is spoken in the comment of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe Thorbjorn Jagland. According to him, the COP invited the translation of the settlement colonies into the category of alternative penalties have already made the differentiation in the existing system and “easing restrictions on right to vote”. Jagland called upon to consider this question in the Russian Parliament.

In March, the Venice Commission published a report which assessed the competence of the constitutional court to nullify international decisions and called them incompatible with international legal obligations.

But no tools to force the Russian side to adhere to the decision of Strasbourg, the ECHR is not, of Moses indicates. Agree with him the lawyer Sergey Golubok. “There is only the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, which has one privilege: to put before the ECtHR the question of whether the decision is enforced,” explained Dove.

Press Secretary of the ECtHR Nina Salomon said that during the execution of ECtHR judgments is not the court itself, and the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.