Members of Human Rights Council apologise to experts in Yukos case

posted 10 Jun 2013, 05:18 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 10 Jun 2013, 05:19 ]
6 June 2013

Source: (info
”In connection with the situation surrounding Sergei Guriev and other experts brought in by the Council to take part in an independent inquiry into the second Yukos case, we consider it necessary to state the following. 

We apologise to all the Russian experts invited by us for the distress and humiliation caused to them by the actions of Russia's law enforcement agencies. Unlike these agencies, we have no doubts either about our good intentions in choosing these experts, nor about their honesty and competence. We would like to stress that the independent inquiry is not a procedural document giving rise to legal consequences, nor is it the conclusive verdict of civil society, but exclusively the result of the serious analytical work of those people who organised it and carried it out. A high-quality result is only possible if experts are given the opportunity to express their independent views without fear. Therein lies the essence of public oversight and agreement between civil society and the government. 

Civil society cannot but defend the ideas of public oversight of state institutions, and that means also the independence and free opinions of experts who take part in the work of government and public institutions: without this it is impossible to achieve transparency or government accountability to society. But only guarantees of the independence of such expertise give the moral right to involve the expert community in a professional analysis of issues of public significance and their solution . Otherwise there is no hope of having a responsible or meaningful discussion of them. 

Independent experts who contribute to ensuring that the solutions to issues that affect the life of society are of high quality should not be afraid of openly expressing their views. That is why we believe it is necessary to urgently set up a temporary working group into the so-called "experts’ case" and to invite members of the Council who have experience of working in the law enforcement agencies to take part in it. 

Concerning Sergei Guriev, we believe his decisions to be the free choice of a decent man who has decided not to compromise his core principles and personal dignity. Any actions by the authorities, however well-intentioned, should not diminish human dignity (Article 21 of the Russian Constitution) or lead to the creation of an atmosphere of fear, mistrust and suspicion in the country. That demeans everyone! 

The statement has been signed by: 

Svetlana Aivazova, Lev Ambinder, Evgeny Bobrov, Aleksandr Verkhovsky, Sergei Vorobyov, Elizaveta Glinka, Natalya Evdokimova, Ivan Zasursky, Kirill Kabanov, Igor Kalyapin, Sergei Karaganov, Irina Kirkora, Yuri Kostanov, Sergei Krivenko, Stanislav Kucher, Sergei Litovchenko, Elena Masyuk, Tamara Morshchakova, Leonid Nikitinsky, Leonid Parfenov, Igor Pastukhov, Mara Polyakova, Ella Polyakova, Vladimir Ryakhovsky, Nikolai Svanidze, Anita Soboleva, Elena Topoleva-Soldunova, Irina Khakamada, Sergei Tsyplenkov, Paul Chikov, Ilya Shablinsky, Lilia Shibanova, Igor Yurgens, Andrei Yurov 

Those against: 

Maria Bolshakova, Alexei Kozyrev, Raisa Lukutsova, Maksim Shevchenko