Russia should ‘exclude international norms’ from its laws top investigator urges

Chairman of the Investigative Committee Alexander Bastrykin (RIA Novosti / Sergey Guneev)
The head of Russia’s top federal investigation agency has said that Russia should follow the examples of Western nations and exclude the norms of international law from its legislation.

I scanned through the constitutions of all 43 European nations and most of them do not include the generally accepted norms in their national legal systems,” Aleksandr Bastrykin told participants at the St. Petersburg Law Forum. He also emphasized that while the United States had signed only three of 10 major international conventions on human rights, it still claimed it was protecting these rights all over the world.

Bastrykin also elaborated on his recent suggestion to change the Russian Constitution, so as to exclude it from recognizing the precedence of international laws. He said it was wrong to take it as a suggestion to stop executing signed international agreements. “I only said that the generally accepted norms of international law should not be included in the national legal system. This principle works in many states,” the official noted.

Another principle of law Russia could borrow from foreign nations is criminal responsibility for legal entities, the head of the Investigative Committee told the forum’s participants. However, he said he wasn’t suggesting prison terms for businessmen but stricter rules concerning material compensation for damages.

READ MORE: Top investigator seeks primacy of Russian law

Bastrykin suggested legally fixing the primacy of Russian law in the Constitution in late April this year in an extensive interview with government daily Rossiiskaya Gazeta. He also blamed Boris Yeltsin’s US advisers for including the principle of the superiority of international law over domestic in Russian legislation. Bastrykin proposed this move could be construed as legislative sabotage against Russia.