| JRL Home | JRL Simple/Mobile | RSS | Newswire | Archives | JRL Newsletter | Support | About
Old Saint Basil's Cathedral in MoscowJohnson's Russia List title and scenes of Saint Petersburg
Excerpts from the JRL E-Mail Community :: Founded and Edited by David Johnson

New Law Should Help Get Rid of Accusatory Bias in Russian Judicial System - Rights Activist

Moscow JailMOSCOW. March 7 (Interfax) - A bill recently signed into law by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, which envisions penalties other than a prison sentence for 68 kinds of crimes, is an important step but not the last step toward liberalizing Russia's criminal procedure legislation, the chairman of the presidential human rights council, Mikhail Fedotov, told Interfax on Monday.

"This law, which was adopted at the president's initiative, is a very important step toward the liberalization of our criminal procedure laws and our criminal procedure policy in general," he said.

The amendments to the Russian Criminal Code signed by the president qualify a prison sentence as a "standard sanction" mainly imposed on people convicted of medium gravity, serious and very serious crimes. The document also cancels the lower limit of penalties in the form of a prison sentence for 68 crimes, but keeps the upper limit of penalties for them.

"The cancellation of the lower limit of penalties in the form of a prison sentence in a whole range of articles of the Criminal Code marks an important step toward overcoming the classical tradition that existed in our judicial system, where judges were afraid of handing down more lenient sentences. That's the way things are done in our country. If a judge issues a more rigorous sentence, no one will scold him for it. But if he hands down a more lenient sentence, suspicions will arise as to whether or not he has accepted a bribe," Fedotov said.

"Now that the lower limit of penalties in the form of a prison sentence has been annulled, judges will no longer be in danger of falling under suspicion. Judges who take bribes are not proper judges. For honest people, this law is important from the point of view of overcoming this accusatory bias stereotype," the rights activist said.

"However, it is not the last step in the sphere of liberalizing our criminal procedure legislation. This work will continue. This is the president's policy. The president has stressed that the strength of punishment for a crime lies in its inevitability, not its gravity," he said.

Keyword Tags:

Russia, Law, Corruption, Crime - Russia, Human Rights - Russia News - Russia - Johnson's Russia List

Bookmark and Share - Back to the Top -        


Bookmark and Share

- Back to the Top -        

  Follow Johnson's Russia List on Twitter Tweet