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Russia’s Constitutional Court Defies the European Court of Human Rights: Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation Judgment of 14 July 2015, No 21-П/2015

  • Lauri Mälksoo

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Professor of International Law at the University of Tartu, Estonia. Research for this case note has been supported by a grant of the Estonian Science Agency, IUT 20-50.

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1 N 7-ФКЗ, Federal Constitutional Law on the Introduction of Amendments to the Federal Constitutional Law ‘On the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation’, approved by the State Duma on 4 December 2015 and by the Federation Council on 9 December 2015; entered in force on 14 December 2015.

2 Zorkin, V., Pravo v usloviakh global’nykh peremen [Law in the Conditions of Global Changes] (Norma 2013) p. 288 and 469.

4 <doc.ksrf.ru/decision/KSRFDecision201896.pdf>, visited 27 June 2016.

5 ECtHR 4 July 2013, Case Nos. 1157/04 and 15162/05, Anchugov and Gladkov v Russia.

6 ECtHR 6 October 2005, Case No. 74025/01, Hirst v United Kingdom (No 2).

7 ECtHR 31 July 2014, Case No. 14902/04, Neftyanaya Kompaniya Yukos v Russia.

8 Anonymous ‘Miniust nazval reshenie ESPCh po vyplatam aktsioneram YUKOSa protivorechashtshim zdarovomu smyslu’ [Ministry of Justice Called the Judgment of the ECtHR on Payments to Stock Holders of Yukos Contrary to Common Sense], Interfaks, 10 July 2015, <www.interfax.ru/russia/452886>, visited 27 June 2016.

9 See e.g. Smirnova, M., ‘Russian Constitutional Court Affirms Russian Constitution’s Supremacy over ECtHR Decisions’, EJIL Talk, 15 July 2015, <www.ejiltalk.org/russian-constitutional-court-affirms-russian-constitutions-supremacy-over-ecthr-decisions/>, visited 27 June 2016.

10 Zanina, A. and Sokovnin, A., ‘Sledstennyi komitet doshel do Gaagi’ [Investigative Committee Went To The Hague], Kommersant, 26 March 2016, <www.kommersant.ru/doc/2948912>, visited 27 June 2016.

11 ECtHR 7 October 2010 (first section) and 22 March 2012 (Grand Chamber), Case No. 30078/06, Konstantin Markin v Russia. See also Mälksoo, L., ‘Markin v Russia’, 106 AJIL (2012) p. 836 .

12 ECtHR 17 October 2010, Case No. 36376/04, Kononov v Latvia. See also Mälksoo, L., ‘Kononov v Latvia’, 105 AJIL (2011) p. 101 .

13 Zorkin, supra n. 2, pp. 257 and 273.

14 Ibid., p. 256.

15 Kovler, A., ‘Sootnoshenie evropeiskogo konventsionnogo i natsional’nogo konstitutsionnogo prava – obostrenie problemy (prichiny i sledstvia) [Interrelationship of the European Convention and the National Constitutional Law: Deepening of the Problem (Reasons and Consequences)], in 1 Russian Yearbook of the European Convention on Human Rights (Statut 2015) p. 19 .

16 2.2 at p. 11-12.

17 2.2 at p. 13.

18 3 at p. 13.

19 3 at p. 14.

20 3 at p. 15.

21 3 at p. 16.

22 3 at p. 16.

23 4 at p. 17.

24 4 at p. 17.

25 BVerfG, Order of 14 October 2004 - 2 BvR 1481/04 - Rn. (1-72), <www.bverfg.de/e/rs20041014_2bvr148104en.html>, visited 27 June 2016.

26 Italian Constitutional Court, Maggio and others v Italy, Judgment No. 264, 2012, <www.cortecostituzionale.it/documenti/download/doc/recent_judgments/S2012264_Quaranta_Morelli_en.pdf>, visited 27 June 2016.

27 No. B267/86.

28 Judgment, R (on the application of Chester) (Appellant) v Secretary of State for Justice (Respondent); McGeoch (AP) (Appellant) v The Lord President of the Council and another (Respondents) (Scotland), 16 October 2013, [2013] UKSC 63, <www.supremecourt.uk/decided-cases/docs/UKSC_2012_0151_Judgment.pdf>, visited 27 June 2016.

29 4 at p. 21.

30 ECtHR 7 October 2010 (First Section) and 22 March 2012 (Grand Chamber), Case No. 30078/06, Konstantin Markin v Russia.

31 4 at p. 21.

32 5.3 at p. 27.

33 5.3 at p. 28.

35 5.3 at p. 29.

36 5.3 at p. 30.

37 5.3 at p. 31.

38 Supra n. 1.

39 Pushkarskaia, A., ‘Reshenia ESPCh – Ni v Zhizhn’ [Judgments of the ECtHR – Not for Implementation], Kommersant, 2 February 2016, <www.kommersant.ru/doc/2906219>, visited 27 June 2016.

40 Judgment of the Russian Constitutional Court concerning permitting the possibility of enforcement in accordance with the Constitution of the Russian Federation of the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights of 4 July 2013 in the case of ’Anchugov and Gladkov vs Russia’ in connection with the request of the Ministry of Justice, 19 April 2016, No. 12-П/2016, <doc.ksrf.ru/decision/KSRFDecision230222.pdf>, visited 27 June 2016.

41 See European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission), Opinion No. 832/2015, Interim Opinion on the Amendments to the Federal Constitutional Law on the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation, 15 March 2016.

42 See Nußberger, A., Ende des Rechtsstaats in Russland? Probleme der rechtsstaatlichen Entwicklung im Spiegel der Rechtsprechung des Russischen Verfassungsgerichts und des Europäischen Gerichtshofs für Menschenrechte (Verlag Dr Otto Schmidt 2007); Nußberger, A. et al., Verfassungsrechtsprechung in der Russischen Föderation. Dokumentation udn Analyse der Entscheidungen des Russischen Verfassungsgerichts 1992-2007 (N.P.Engel 2009).

43 ECtHR 8 July 2004, Case No. 48787/99, Ilaşcu and Others v Moldova and Russia.

44 Plenum of the Supreme Court ruling ‘On Application of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of 4 November 1950 and Additional Protocols thereto by Courts of General Jurisdiction’, 27 June 2013, <www.supcourt.ru/vscourt_detale.php?id=9155>, para 2, visited 27 June 2016.

45 Zorkin, V., ‘Predel ustupchivosti’ [Margin of Concessions], Rossiiskaya gazeta, 29 October 2010, <www.rg.ru/2010/10/29/zorkin.html>, visited 27 June 2016.

46 Zorkin, supra n. 2, p. 10 ff, 278.

47 Zorkin, supra n. 2, p. 256. See ECtHR 3 November 2009, Case No.30814/06, Lautsi v Italy.

48 Zorkin, V., Tsivilizatsia prava i razvitie Rossii [Civilization of Law and the Development of Russia] (Norma 2016) p. 150 .

49 See Interim opinion, supra n. 41, para 75.

50 See ECtHR 21 October 2010, Case Nos. 4916/07, 25924/08 and 14599/09, Alekseyev v Russia.

51 Kodeks ob administrativnykh pravonarusheniakh [Code of Administrative Offences], N 195-ФЗ, Art. 6.21.

52 See Anonymous ‘Evropiiskii Sud kommunitsiroval Rossii dva dela o zaprete bolee sotni LGBT-meropriatii v sem’i gorodakh’ [The European Court Communicated to Russia Two Cases on the Prohibition of More than A Hundred LGBT Events in Seven Cities], Gayrussia, 1 February 2016, <www.gayrussia.eu/russia/12664/>, visited 27 June 2016.

53 Zorkin, supra n. 45.

54 Zorkin, supra n. 48, p. 152-154.

55 See e.g. Zorkin, V. (ed.) Kommentarii k Konstitutsii Rossiiskoi Federatsii [Commentaries to the Constitution of the Russian Federation], 3rd edn. (Norma 2013); Henderson, J., The Constitution of the Russian Federation. A Contextual Analysis (Hart 2011); Wieser, B., Handbuch der russischen Verfassung (Verlag Österreich 2014).

56 See Rosenfeld, M., ‘Constitutional Identity’, in M. Rosenfeld and A. Sajó (eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Comparative Constitutional Law (Oxford University Press 2012) p. 756 .

57 For a larger argument on this in the context of international law, see Mälksoo, L., Russian Approaches to International Law (Oxford University Press 2015).

58 Zorkin, supra n. 48, p. 156.

59 See the Italian Constitutional Court’s Judgment No. 264, 2012, supra n. 26, para. 4.1.

60 4 at p. 17. But see further Zorkin, supra n. 48, p. 155.

61 Zorkin, supra n. 48, p. 164 ff.

62 See critically on the predominantly individualistic philosophy employed by the ECtHR in Lõhmus, K., Caring Autonomy. European Human Rights Law and the Challenge of Individualism (Cambridge University Press 2015).

63 Zorkin, supra n. 2, p. 463-464.

64 Zorkin, supra n. 48, p. 147-156.

65 Leach, P. and Donald, A., ‘Russia Defies Strasbourg. Is Contagion Spreading?’ EJIL Talk, 19 December2015, <www.ejiltalk.org/russia-defies-strasbourg-is-contagion-spreading/>, visited 27 June 2016.

66 See concretely ECtHR 26 February 2004, Case No. 74969/01, Görgülü v Germany.

67 See BVerfG, Order of 14 October 2004, supra n. 25, para. 18.

68 Ibid., supra n. 25, para. 62.

69 See Tomuschat, C., ‘Staatsrechtliche Entscheidung für die internationale Offenheit’, in J. Isensee and P. Kirchhof (eds.) Handbuch des Staatsrechts. Dritte Auflage. Band XI, Internationale Bezüge (C.F. Müller 2013) p. 24 .

70 Interim opinion, supra n. 41, para. 88 ff.

71 Interim opinion, supra n. 41, para. 23 ff.

72 See Interim opinion, supra n. 41, para. 33; Tomuschat, supra n. 69.

73 Interim opinion, supra n. 41, para. 66.

74 Nußberger 2007, supra n. 42, p. 48 ff.

75 ECtHR 31 May 2011, Case Nos. 46286/09, 52851/08, 54486/08 and 56001/08, Maggio and Others v Italy.

76 See the Italian Constitutional Court, Judgment No. 264, 2012, supra n. 26, para. 4.2.

77 Ibid., supra n. 26, para. 5.4.

78 Interim opinion, supra n. 41, para. 95.

79 Judgment, R (on the application of Chester) (Appellant) v Secretary of State for Justice (Respondent); McGeoch (AP) (Appellant) v The Lord President of the Council and another (Respondents) (Scotland), 16 October 2013, [2013] UKSC 63, supra n. 28.

80 Interim opinion, supra n. 41, paras. 99-100.

81 On compliance, implementation and enforcement in the context of the ECHR, see further Seibert-Fohr, A. and Villiger, M.E. (eds.), Judgments of the European Court of Human Rights – Effects and Implementation (Nomos 2014); Hillebrecht, C., Domestic Politics and International Human Rights Tribunals: The Problem of Compliance (Cambridge University Press 2014).

* Professor of International Law at the University of Tartu, Estonia. Research for this case note has been supported by a grant of the Estonian Science Agency, IUT 20-50.

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Russia’s Constitutional Court Defies the European Court of Human Rights: Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation Judgment of 14 July 2015, No 21-П/2015

  • Lauri Mälksoo

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