Elena Lukianova, a member of the Public Chamber of Russia and a law professor at Moscow State University, has expressed concern regarding the guilty verdict brought against the academic philologist Andrei Kutuzov by a Justice of the Peace in Tyumen district on 14 March 2011.
In her report to the Agora Human Rights Association
, she called into question the legality of expert evidence given at trials by the FSB that has served as the basis for many guilty verdicts.
At the centre of Elena Lukianova’s analysis was FSB Order No. 60 of 31 January 2002 “Concerning the Regulations Governing Expert Advisory Departments within the Federal Security Service [FSB].” Elena Lukianova points out that this document, which concerns human rights and regulates the giving of evidence in court by official experts, has been published only on the FSB’s official site. She points out that regulations governing the giving of expert evidence cannot be lawful unless published in accordance with established procedures. Simply placing a regulation of this kind on the official website of an executive government body cannot be considered its official publication. Elena Lukianova emphasises that “unpublished regulations cannot be law since they have not entered into force.” She also states that a Presidential Order contains an exhaustive list of all places where executive government bodies may publish their regulations. The official FSB website is not on this list.
“In the last few years,” Elena Lukianova said, “increasingly in a whole series of criminal cases, especially those that are commonly considered to be based on trumped-up charges, opinions by FSB experts are appearing as evidence. Such evidence is very difficult to fight in the courts. Although this has been a problem for some time, no one thought of testing the legality of such evidence. Olga Natapova, a defence attorney, has been the first person to question the legality of the regulations governing the FSB’s official experts.
On 14 March, a Justice of the Peace of the Central Administrative District of Tyumen Region sentenced Andrei Kutuzov, a philologist and professor at Tyumen State University, to a two-year sentence suspended for three years for “public calls to extremist actions” for allegedly disseminating a leaflet entitled “Shoot the cops.” Andrei Kutuzov intends to appeal the court’s decision. Elena Lukianova’s report might become one more reason for the court decision to be overturned.
Elena Lukianova’s report can be read on the website of the Agora Human Rights Association here