Crime and punishment: Medvedev’s alternative way

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has suggested that the courts should employ alternative means of punishment besides imprisonment.

“In our country there are a large number of people who pass through this system of punishment, resulting in imprisonment. We know how this affects their social values and chances for rehabilitation,” he said.

Medvedev expressed support for the idea to decriminalize 180 acts, in which he said would free the courts from carrying out “unusual and unnecessary judicial procedures”.

For this reason the president called for alternative means for punishment.

“We need to generalise the practice and prepare proposals for improvement in this sphere.”

The president made the comments during his address to the 7th congress of Russian judges.

At the meeting he also called for more transparency of the courts to improve confidence in the system.

“It is high time to draft a federal law, which would stipulate various methods of providing informational access to the work of the courts, including via the internet,” he said. “For the people it is important to have access to the court system and information about its activity.”

He also suggested that judges could receive indefinite terms: “We could consider the issue of either simplifying the procedure to reappoint judges after the end of their three-year term or give up the procedure and appoint them indefinitely.”

Medvedev also called for more free legal consultations for the poor as well as a more timely processing of civil cases.

On the international arena, he stressed that the international court in Strasbourg cannot become a substitute for the Russian judiciary.

“Generally,  I  agree  that  the  Strasbourg  Court, like any other international  court, for all our respect for it, cannot and must not be a substitute  to  the  Russian  judiciary,” he said. “For  that  our  judiciary  must be absolutely independent, and the courts must  be  so  effective that applications to international courts become reduced to a minimum.”

The last meeting of judges took place in 2004 at the 6th congress.

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