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Russian Courts Ordered To Respect Strasbourg Rulings

Russia's Constitutional Court
Russia's Constitutional Court
MOSCOW -- Russia's Constitutional Court has issued a resolution declaring that rulings by the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg must serve as a basis for appeals on rulings passed by Russian courts, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

The review of the parts of the Russian Constitution pertaining to civil cases was made in response to three cases brought to the Strasbourg court by Russian citizens. In all three cases, the Strasbourg court concluded that, according to Article 6 of the international Convention on the Protection of Human Rights and Basic Freedoms, the plaintiffs' rights had been violated by Russian courts.

Following the findings of the Strasbourg court, the plaintiffs lodged appeals in Russian courts which were rejected on the grounds that there is no mention of the jurisdiction of rulings by the human rights court in the Russian Constitution.

The plaintiffs then turned to the Constitutional Court, which issued its resolution on Friday.

Retired Constitutional Court Judge Tamara Morshchakova told RFE/RL that the Constitutional Court's decision will have to be reinforced by the country's Supreme Court.

"I think our judges are very timid and in all cases act on their own initiative as little as possible," she said. "This is especially true in cases when a national court has already delivered a ruling which has come into force. And now they are supposed to review such decisions! In the Russian legal system this is impossible without a direct order from Russia's Supreme Court."