Putin Signs Law Which Will Allow Russia to Ignore International Human Rights Court Decisions

President Putin has signed a law that will allow the Constitutional Court of Russia to deem as unenforceable decisions from the International Courts including the European Court of Human Rights.

“This law will have far reaching consequences for the people who depend on the judgements of international human rights courts to get moral and financial redress. In the North Caucasus region of Russia for example, thousands of victims and their families have benefitted from the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights, having received compensation for extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, torture and other grave human rights abuses”, said Joanna Kurosz, Programme Director for Eurasia, Civil Rights Defenders.

The bill was only adopted in its first reading by the Russian parliament, the Duma, in early December and has already been fast tracked to the President for signing.  The Bill will allow for the Constitutional Court to decide whether or not it wishes to comply with judgements issued by the International human rights Courts.

“Although Russia has often not implemented key parts of previous judgements – such as making new investigations in accordance with rule of law standards and reforming the legal system so that the violation is not committed again – the state has paid out compensations to the victims. This and not least the moral redress that a ruling in an international court brings has been a source of closure and justice for those whose rights have been violated,” said Joanna Kurosz

The European Court of Human Rights receives thousands of cases from Russia on an annual basis and has compelled the country to pay out millions of Euro in compensation to victims and their families. Many cases are still pending with the prospect of Russia having to pay out billions in additional. compensation.

However as a signatory of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties the enacted bill will not discharge Russia from its legal obligations when it comes to implementing the rulings of international human rights bodies that have been established by treaties.

“The last vestiges of human rights mechanisms are quickly evaporating in Russia and Civil Rights Defenders calls on EU leaders and other representatives of the international community to put pressure on Russia to immediately annul this draconian law. It undermines the international human rights system and makes people in Russia even more exposed to human rights abuses than previously,” said Joanna Kurosz.