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EU Parliament Challenge To Russia

  • February 24th, 2011
  • Posted by EUEditor

eu-parlt-strasbourg1.jpgMembers of the European Parliament have called for bringing more pressure on the Russian government to change its ways, to improve independence of the judiciary and the state of human rights.


The members voted by show of hands, 17.2.11, to condemn a perceived politicisation of the judiciary in the case of the former oil magnate, Michail Khodorkovsky, imprisoned for tax evasion, and his business confrere Platon Lebedev, and mistreatment of opposition political figures.

They said this could be done at six-monthly consultations on human rights, between the European Union and Russia, where little progress had been made so far; and also the new EU-Russia Partnership and Cooperation Agreement now being negotiated should include guarantees on the rule of law.

A statement from the Parliament reads in part

“Russia’s judiciary appears increasingly politicised and lacking in impartiality, says the European Parliament in a resolution …

“Voicing their concern over reports of politically-motivated trials, unfair procedures and failures to investigate serious crimes such as killings and harassment, MEPs urge the Russian authorities to bring perpetrators to justice in an effective, impartial and independent manner.

“Russia’s judicial system needs reform to deliver on President Dmitry Medvedev‘s pledges of greater justice and transparency – principles which are enshrined in the Partnership for Modernisation, say MEPs.

“Effective investigation of high-profile cases.

“Prompted by concern over the verdict in the second trial of, on embezzlement and money-laundering charges, MEPs ‘call for an independent judicial review’ in the appeal proceedings.

“MEPs also call for ‘a review of charges and ongoing procedures’ against Sakharov Prize winner Oleg Orlov, of the Memorial organisation.

“They also remind the Russian authorities that ‘no effective investigations’ were carried out into the murders of journalists Anna Politkovskaya, Natalia Estemirova and Anastasia Baburova and the death of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky.

“Political space for opposition.

“Many human rights violations concern the right to peaceful assembly.

“MEPs deplore the repeated arrests of opposition figures and the dispersal of peaceful rallies organised by the ‘article 31’ group.

“Former Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov and about 70 other persons were arrested after an opposition demonstration in Moscow on 31.12.10, notes the resolution.”


natalya-vasilyeva.jpgCivil rights groups in  Moscow say they will seek to protect Natalya Vasilyeva (picture), the legal assistant to the judge in the Khodorkovsky case, who claimed publicly (17.2.11) that the judge came under pressure from political sources, to change a prepared verdict.

The judge has continued to deny he was pressed.


European Parliament, Strasbourg, “MEPs question independence and impartiality of Russia’s judiciary, Human rights”, 17.2.11., (24.2.11).

Radio Free Europe / RL, Prague-Washington, “Truth and consequences”, 17.2.11., (24.2.11).