Kirill Koroteev: On decisions of the Constitutional Court which, apparently for some judges, are 'not relevant'

posted 28 Jun 2015, 11:33 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 28 Jun 2015, 11:40 ]
22 June 2015

Source: (info)
Comments by Kirill Koroteev, lawyer 

While Russia's Constitutional Court is considering the question of how to avoid complying with the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), it does in fact find itself in the same situation as the Strasbourg court.

In February, during its hearing to consider complaints brought by some NGOs against the federal law 'On the Prosecutor's Office of the Russian Federation', the Constitutional Court ruled that the law needed revision since some of the provisions contained in it were unconstitutional. They also issued binding interpretations of some other provisions.

The Constitutional Court ruled that the cases brought against the applicant organisations should be reviewed. Everyone rejoiced, but for some reason I sighed bitterly. My predictions rarely come true, but in this case they did.

Judge Rubtsova of Zamoskvoretsky district court in Moscow has dismissed the idea of reviewing the case against Civic Assistance Committee saying: '[...] however, the [Constitutional] Court's statement is not relevant to the correct resolution of this case, which concerns Article 392 of the Code of Civil Procedure of the Russian Federation. This complaint is therefore rejected.' 

That means – if any sense at all can be made of Judge Rubtsova's words – that the ruling by the Constitutional Court of Russia about the unconstitutional nature of the law on prosecutors "is not relevant to the correct resolution of this case". Is not relevant!

Hey there, "extremely pliant" Chairman Zorkin! [Valery Zorkin is chair of the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation] Hey there! Are you listening? They say that you're not relevant!

Perhaps it's not that bad after all. To tell the truth, no one has died so far as a result of the ruling on the continued legal force of unconstitutional inspections by prosecutors (Greetings, Herr Kafka!).

But don't forget: the abolition of the death penalty in Russia depends not even on a decree of the Constitutional Court, but on one of its ‘definitions’. So, one day, another judge might just say, "This isn't relevant..."

Photo: Lawyer Kirill Koroteev with Svetlana Gannushkina, chair of Civic Assistance Committee and member of the board of the International Memorial Society. Photo courtesy of Radio Svoboda

Translation by Suzanne Eade Roberts