On April 23, 2014 human rights defense association “Lawyers for constitutional rights and freedoms” (JURIX) organized round-table discussion “Strategic legal defense: practice and prospects for development” in Moscow. Lawyers, attorneys and representatives of NGOs from Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Voronezh, Lipetsk and Yekaterinburg participated in this discussion, among them was a lawyer of ADC “Memorial”.
Lawyer of ADC “Memorial” summarized information about the course of legal cases against our organization, both administrative and civil. She has stressed that ADC “Memorial” was convicted solely for publication and dissemination of human rights report “Roma people, migrants, activists: victims of police arbitrariness” at the session of the UN Committee against torture. We have discussed with our colleagues strategies for appealing against court rulings and administrative prosecution of NGOs following introduction of a new law on “foreign agents”. Among the problems discussed at the meeting was also the decision of ADC “Memorial” to liquidate organization as a juridical person because the court ruled to get it registered as a “foreign agent”. It was stated that this was the only decision, which allowed us to avoid implementing the humiliating court ruling without the risk of criminal prosecution for the heads of our organization.
Anita Soboleva, senior expert for scientific and legal activities of JURIX association, reported on strategic court cases regarding human rights defense. Tatyana Glushkova, association’s senior lawyer, spoke about legal defense of citizen in cases related to administrative violations, paying special attention to the absence of controversy in court hearings and constant violations in protocols, which served as basis for courts’ decisions.
Grigory Vaypan, lawyer of “Law and Public Policy Institute” association, proposed to make legal appeals to the Constitutional court of the Russian Federation against de facto violations of the rights guaranteed by the Russian Constitution in the Code of administrative violations, which include controversy of the parties in court, possibility of using free legal assistance (an appeal on this was made and communicated in the case of “Mikhailova vs. Russia”). He also spoke about de facto criminal prosecution in accordance with the current Code of administrative violations because the latter authorized big penalties and prolonged administrative arrests, while at the same time lacking regulations for overruling administrative court rulings based on the decisions adopted by the European Court for Human Rights (ECtHR).
Kirill Koroteyev, senior lawyer of human rights defense center “Memorial” (Moscow), noted the importance of a great number of cases involving claimants from Chechnya, which were considered by the ECtHR, given the fact that these cases were not only important, but also could serve as historical documents. Given the fact that neither the NGOs, nor the claimants in these cases were provided with possibility to study the materials of their cases in Russia, appeals to ECtHR enabled them to document the cases of human rights violations in Northern Caucasus. It is even more important to preserve possibilities for work of human rights NGOs operating in this region, which deal with communicating appeals to international courts.