Memorial Evaluates Torshin’s Bill on the Priority of Russian over International Law

posted 7 Jul 2011, 11:55 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 7 Jul 2011, 11:59 ]
Source: (Info), 30/06/11

· European Court of Human Rights · The Courts   · Human Rights Defenders

On June 20, 2011, acting chair of the Council of the Federation A. P. Torshin introduced a bill to the State Duma entitled “Federal Constitutional Law. On Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation.”

Memorial Human Rights Centre expresses grave concern over this bill and the accompanying explanatory memorandum. There are several reasons for this concern.

The bill establishes that when the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) rules that a Russian law does not comply with the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, the judgment will be executed only after confirmation by the Constitutional Court of the provision in question. If the Constitutional Court finds that the Russian law is consistent with the Constitution, the ECtHR judgment will not be enforced.

In the accompanying explanatory memorandum, Torshin provides the following reasons for passing the bill: “The Constitution of the Russian Federation does not state that international treaties have priority over the Russian Constitution. When there is a conflict between an international treaty and a law, as well as other normative legal acts, the international treaty prevails. However, when an intergovernmental body rules that laws and regulations are inconsistent with the international treaty it is necessary to evaluate the situation in the context of the hierarchy of laws of the country.

However Torshin's bill is itself in contradiction with the approach he advocates. [Read more]