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Ombudsmen propose limiting pre-trial detention

13 March 2013 

Source: (info)
Russia's Human Rights Ombudsman Vladimir Lukin and the Ombudsman for the Rights of Entrepreneurs Boris Titov are proposing that amendments be introduced to the Criminal Procedure Code designed to impose a time limit on pre-trial detention periods for those accused of having committed criminal offences. As RIA Novosti reports, this was announced by Titov at a news conference. "To make provision in the Criminal Procedure Code for a time limit on the detention of people accused of committing a crime, without any exceptions that allow the this period to be extended by a court decision," says the statement by Lukin and Titov to President Putin.

"Periods of detention of longer than 12 months can only be extended in exceptional cases with respect to people accused of committing the most serious crimes... up to 18 months," says the current Article 109 of the Criminal Procedure Code. "Subsequent extensions are not allowed. An accused person being held in custody should be released without delay." However, there are exceptions. The period can be extended to allow more time for a defendant and their legal representative to study the materials of the case, reports

The ombudsmen also propose amending Article 63 of the Criminal Procedure Code (the inadmissibility of a judge taking part for a second time in the consideration of a case). They believe that a clause should be added to prohibit judges from taking part in the consideration of a case on its merits if they previously took a decision to enforce pre-trial restrictions in the form of detention or extending the period of detention for someone accused of a crime.

Titov said that at the present time he had received around 700 complaints, and 40% of those are related to criminal prosecutions of business people. "For such complaints we carry out a legal assessment, which then forms the basis of our decision on whether to get involved in the case or not," he said.

Titov said that so far they had only been able to help a small number of businesspeople. However, 10-15% of complaints, which are related to administrative proceedings, are successfully resolved. In addition, he said, a large number of complaints are about cases that have nothing to do with business activities at all. "We don't take on those types of cases of course," he said.

Titov was appointed Ombudsman for Entrepreneurs' Rights by a presidential directive of 21 June. Putin said that the institution of the business ombudsman would have the right to defend the interests of entrepreneurs in court, suspend departmental regulations by a court decision and as a security measure apply to the court to have the operational actions of officials suspended.