Human Rights Issues in Eurasia / Правовые Вопросы В Регионах Евразии

Archive for April 20th, 2010

Russia: Court Upholds Ban on Jury Trials for Terror Suspects

Posted by Info on 20/04/2010

The Constitutional Court on Monday upheld a ban on jury trials for terrorism suspects, backing a 2008 Kremlin initiative aimed at curbing the frequent acquittals granted by juries of terrorism suspects in Ingushetia and Dagestan.
Defendants have routinely claimed before juries that they were tortured by investigators to make them testify against themselves.

The decision said that defendants only needed to be granted the right to a jury trial in cases involving capital punishment, but since there is a moratorium in Russia on the death penalty, federal lawmakers had the right to decide which crimes should not be considered by juries.

The Constitutional Court issued Monday’s ruling in response to an appeal by five men accused of participating in an armed mutiny in Kabardino-Balkaria’s capital, Nalchik, in October 2005. The appeal said the republic’s Supreme Court, which has been considering the men’s case since October 2007, has consistently denied their requests for a jury trial and argued that a jury would better protect their rights from judicial errors than the three judges assigned to their case.

The Constitutional Court said in its ruling that jury members would face threats in trials for suspected terrorists, biasing their verdicts and compromising the fairness of the trials.

In December, President Dmitry Medvedev signed a law that returned juries to terrorism trials considered by military district courts. For a case to be considered by a military district court, the law requires the prosecutor general or one of his deputies to ask the judge of the court initially assigned the case to move it there.

Last month, Medvedev proposed amending the country’s terrorism legislation in the wake of twin suicide bombing attacks [Moscow Times report] on Moscow subway stations. Literature including Mein Kampf and 34 religious books related to the Jehovah’s Witnesses have been banned recently under the country’s extremism laws.

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Ingush President: “Peaceful Activities Key To Preventing Terrorist Ones”

Posted by Info on 20/04/2010

It is necessary to engage young people in active social and work life to prevent their involvement with militant groups, said Yunus–Bek Yevkurov, president of Russia’s southern republic of Ingushetia.

”Of course, we need to engage young people, give them something to do. If they are busy with something, they do not have time to do bad things so we need to give them opportunities for education and work. If there are no jobs for them, they need to be engaged in volunteer work. They need to understand that society needs them”.

The president added that there are three distinct categories of those engaged in terror activities in the area.

1. ”The first category is those who are just making money. They get paid for every terrorist attack they are taking part in and they just make money this way.”

2. “The second category is those who are lost sheep – maybe they are relatives of the people in the first category, so they have to be there, maybe they are blackmailed.
For example, they participated in one attack and then they just cannot leave the group because their name always appears in the records.”

3.“And the third category is people who fight for ideological reasons
, though there are very few of this kind. These people sincerely believe that modern Islam is not what it should be. They want to see something else in its place, but again the percentage of people like that is very small.”

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Kyrgyzstan: New Draft Constitution

Posted by Info on 20/04/2010

On April 19, 2010 Omurbek Tekebaev, the deputy head of interim government in Kyrgyzstan, informed about the planned amendments in the Constitution of Kyrgyzstan. The amendments will cover only three chapters of current Constitution: functions and authorities of president, parliament and government.

The President will not have immunity while his family members will be never sponsored by the state. Omurbek Tekebaev informed that “the leader of the state will make a living on his salary”.

The new draft law assumes the abolition of the Constitutional court, whose functions will be carried by special committee of the Supreme Court.

The President will not influence the personnel policy:
he will sign the decrees about the appointment of judges, government members and the leaders of state administrative bodies, but he will not be able not to sign these decrees. The candidates for the above-mentioned positions will be selected by other authorities, but not the president.

The president will sign the law; upon strong arguments, he may send it back to the parliament for additional expertise. “The President should not personally participate in the operational management”, Omurbek Tekebaev noted. The President will be deprived of all legal and executive authorities and he de facto becomes “the notary” (proving the right of the official to hold the position) and “arbiter”: if the relations between the government and parliament face the deadlock….
According to the new draft Constitution, one party will hold no more than 50 seats in the 90-seat parliament even if it accumulates 90 percent of votes.

Today, we have a real chance to prove the world that we are able to build sustainable and prosperous democratic system in the region”.

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