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15 Jan, 2020 14:06

Constitution & citizens’ rights to define the use of international law on Russian soil – Putin

Constitution & citizens’ rights to define the use of international law on Russian soil – Putin

Vladimir Putin has proposed a major amendment ensuring that provisions of international law can only be applied in Russia if they don’t come into conflict with the constitution or abuse rights and liberties of Russian citizens.

“I believe that the time has come to make some changes to the basic law of the country, which directly guarantees the priority of the Russian constitution in our legal environment,” President Putin said as he delivered his annual state-of-the-nation address on Wednesday.

In some cases, Russia’s governing document may be placed above international legislation, he explained.

This literally means the following: the requirements of international law and treaties, as well as decisions of international bodies, can act on the territory of Russia only to the extent that they do not entail restrictions on the rights and liberties of man and citizen, and do not contradict our constitution.

So far, the current constitution sets out that universal principles of international law as well as international agreements ratified by Russia are “an integral part of its legal system.” If provisions of such an agreement differ from those stipulated by Russian law, “then the rules of the international agreement shall be applied.”

While the proposal looks dramatic at a glance, the trend itself is not entirely new. Back in 2015, Putin enabled the Constitutional Court to scrutinize, allow or ban the execution of decisions by international bodies – provided that these challenge the supremacy of the basic law.

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Earlier that year, Russia’s Supreme Court ruled that no international treaty or agreement should prevail over national sovereignty.

Russia's constitution came into force on December 25, 1993 after being adopted in a nationwide referendum on December 12, 1993. That day is now a working holiday introduced to honor the milestone event.

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