Putin gives Russian Constitution priority over international court rulings

Russian President Vladimir Putin. © Aleksey Nikolskyi
President Vladimir Putin has signed into law the bill allowing the Constitutional Court to overrule the decisions of international courts if such decisions contradict the principle of supremacy of the Russian Constitution.

The new act published on the government website on Tuesday reads that the Constitutional Court will look into every decision of any intergovernmental body based on an international treaty and find if it matches the Russian Constitution and the rights and freedoms guaranteed by it. Upon such consideration the Constitutional Court can allow the decision to be executed in Russia, in full or in part, or ban its execution – also in full or in part. The ban would automatically cancel any national acts allowing the execution of the unconstitutional ruling.

READ MORE: Constitutional Court rules Russian law above European HR Court decisions

The law has been developed and drafted in order to fulfill the mid-July ruling of the Russian Constitutional Court reading that the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) must be individually approved and only carried out if they do not contradict basic Russian law.

In late 2013, the Russian Constitutional Court ruled that it had the right, but not an obligation to decide on the execution of contradictory ECHR decisions in Russia. The July decision expanded the supremacy of the Constitutional Court over foreign judiciaries and international treaties, and established the priority of the Constitution in general.