Strasbourg, 30 January 1997 (RFE/RL) - The head of Russia's delegation to the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly says the Assembly's condemnation of Russia over executions is "untimely" and "counter-productive".
Speaking in Strasbourg today, Vladimir Lukin said yesterday's move would have what he called a "negative effect." The Assembly's condemnation was in response to Russia's failure to fulfill its pledge to the Council of Europe to end executions of death sentences. Lukin said that he personally was in favor of fulfilling Russia's pledge to end executions. The pledge was made when it became a member of the Council a year ago.
But he predicted that the Assembly's action yesterday would be counter-productive because in two weeks the Russian State Duma is due to consider instituting a moratorium on executions. He said that both the Duma and Russian public opinion "won't like" the Assembly's action. Lukin is Chairman of the Duma's Foreign Relations Committee.
Earlier today, in Moscow, Premier Viktor Chernomyrdin said that "Russia will honor (its) promise...to put a moratorium on the death penalty. But," Chernomyrdin added, "in recent cases where the death penalty has been carried out, capital punishment was necessary."