Head of Human Rights Council hopes Constitutional Court will rule 'foreign agent' law on NGOs unconstitutional

posted 16 Feb 2014, 23:51 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 16 Feb 2014, 23:56 ]
11 February 2014

Source: HRO.org (info)
The head of the Presidential Council on Human Rights, Mikhail Fedotov, has expressed his hope that the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation will find the law on NGOs as ‘foreign agents is in conflict with the fundamental law of the country.

In order to have an influence on legislative and judicial practice in Russia, the Council on Human Rights has proposed a number of initiatives, in particular, various forms of working jointly with legislators in drafting bills and participation in the procedure of appointing judges to office through an appointments’ commission. Among the proposals is an obligatory audio recording of trials and also a greater use of jury trials. Almost all of the recommendations proposed by the Human Rights Council have so far been rejected by the authorities.

But members of the Council have not lost hope of getting through to the powers that be, and they are helped by the Constitutional Court of Russia which has already ruled the new law on rallies unconstitutional, and which is planning in March to review the constitutionality of the law on ‘foreign agents’, Radio Svoboda reports.

Mikhail Fedotov is sure that in this case the Constitutional Court will be on their side. ‘There are two specific examples. The first is the newly restrictive law on rallies and demonstrations which was adopted in 2012. The Human Rights Council categorically opposed this bill, drawing attention to its shortcomings. As a result the matter came before the Constitutional Court, and the Constitutional Court almost entirely supported the Council’s position.

At the beginning of March of this year the Constitutional Court will review the law on so called “foreign agents”. I hope that our objections will again be taken into consideration. I cannot imagine that this law will be ruled to be constitutional. As a doctor of jurisprudence, I know of no legal grounds which would allow it to be shown to be constitutional.’

Earlier members of the Russian parliament and officials found no contradictions between the Russian Constitution and the law on non-profit organisations, Zaks.ru reports.

Translated by Elisabeth Wright