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1 Feb, 2021 17:23

Putin orders officials to prepare plans for creation of Russian Court of Human Rights as possible alternative to pan-European ECHR

Putin orders officials to prepare plans for creation of Russian Court of Human Rights as possible alternative to pan-European ECHR

Russian President Vladimir Putin has instructed the country's Supreme Court and the Ministry of Justice to assess the feasibility of creating a national court of human rights. He first expressed interest in the idea last year.

As things stand, Russia is a party to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), a body that is part of the Council of Europe. Membership of the court has been costly for Moscow, and in 2019 alone, the Ministry of Justice spent more than 1.1 billion rubles ($14 million) on 1,240 judgments.

An order published on the Kremlin website gives the Supreme Court, Russia's highest judicial body, and the Ministry of Justice until June 1 to submit proposals for creating a national institution to judge human rights cases.

The idea was first floated on December 10 by Evgeny Myslovsky, a member of the country's Presidential Human Rights Council.

“Your idea of creating a Russian court for human rights needs to be worked out,” Putin replied. “This institution would require funding and systemic changes. But in principle, the idea itself is correct.”

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As Moscow is a party to the European Convention on Human Rights, citizens of Russia have the right to appeal to the ECHR. While countries are obliged to accept the court's findings, many states have sought to overrule decisions. In 2020, Russian citizens voted to change the country's constitution to stipulate that the country's law always supersedes that from international bodies. As things stand, Moscow is currently fighting an interstate case against the Netherlands regarding the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over Donetsk, Ukraine.

At the end of 2019, pending applications to the ECHR involving Russia reached 15,050, more than a quarter of the court's entire 59,800 caseload.

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