Chair of Constitutional Court and deputy exit Venice Commission

posted 27 May 2013, 13:08 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 27 May 2013, 13:10 ]
24 May 2013 

Source: (info)
The chair of the Consitutional Court of Russia, Valery Zorkin, together with his deputy left the European (Venice) Commission for Democracy through Law, reports, citing Kommersant.

The Venice Commission on Constitutional Law of the Council of Europe consists of university professors and judges of higher courts appointed for four years by the governments of member states, who act as independent experts.

Zorkin himself explained his exit from the Commission in this way: "Our presence in the Commission was important, when in Europe there were a major series of reforms. Now this stage is completed and the workload at the Constitutional Court in terms of the amount of cases has increased. And increasingly there is a conflict when one has to speak to the Venice Commission about legal norms, which then subsequently come before the Constitutional Court for consideration, and this is prohibited by the law on the Constitutional Court".

In the opinion of experts interviewed by the newspaper, Russia has thus finally refused to follow the recommendations of the Venice Commission and is attempting to reduce their political status and authority, in response to criticism of Russian laws.

Vladimir Putin has appointed Talia Khabriyeva, the director of the Institute of Legislation and Comparative Law of the government of the Russian Federation, and her deputy Vladimir Lafitsky as new members of the European body.

The rotation symbolizes that Russia has finally abandoned the idea of following the recommendations of the Commission, Professor Grigroy Golosov of the European University of St. Petersburg noted. He stressed that Russia joined the Council of Europe in 1996, and the Venice Commission only six years later, but already in 2006-2007 recommendations by the Commission ceased to have importance for the Russian leadership. At that time, for example Moldova, Ukraine and even Azerbaijan with its even more authoritarian regime, at least appeared eager to implement decisions of the Venice Commission in order to keep up appearances in the eyes of the international community, while the Russian government does not care about this.