Friday, 24 June 2011

Russian courts will submit to Christ alone

Alexander Torshin, acting chairman of the Federation Council, will only pay attention to Europe when Jesus Christ is put in charge.

Fending off criticism of a law which he hopes would allow Russia to override the European Court of Human Rights at will, he made it clear that he was only willing to submit to one authority – and not one found in Strasbourg.

Only Jesus can tell Russia what to do

“The obligatory conclusion of the Constitutional Court is our reference point. The constitutional court is at the head of our court system. The European Court of Human Rights is not the sole guardian of truth. When Jesus Christ becomes head of the court, I will call back my bill,” Torshin said.

“I think that everything is in order here. No one is taking anything away from anyone. I just think that we should not be told how to construct our own laws,” he told Interfax.

He stressed that this bill is aimed at protecting Russia’s sovereignty, which was being “really violated.”

Human rights activists concerned

Earlier, human rights groups had expressed concern over the proposed bill that would allow courts to ignore European decisions if they contradict Russia’s constitution.

That could force Russia out of the Council of Europe.

Russia’s human rights commissioner Vladimir Lukin claimed he would look at the bill in detail on how it fits the “human rights declaration signed by us.”

Court rules against Russia again

In the meantime the Strasbourg court ruled that keeping information about socially active citizens and using “preventative” measures against them within the “guard control” program is illegal.

The complaint was filed by Nizhny Novgorod human rights activist Sergei Shimovolos in 2008. He claimed the police were following his movements and keeping track of his trips, often questioned him and even arrested him once.

Shimovolos was arrested in May 2007 before a “march of discontent” in Samara for no apparent reason. The activist could not prove his case in Russia’s courts, but applied to Strasbourg and won his case.

“The suspicion must have been caused by the fact that the claimant was a member of human rights organisation,” the court concluded, ruling Russia’s actions illegal.

The court ruled that a database on socially active people was a violation of human rights and freedoms. The database was created by an unpublished order of the Interior Ministry.

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