Legal Case of the Week: Yukos v Russia

posted 23 Jan 2017, 03:48 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 23 Jan 2017, 03:49 ]
On 19 January 2017 the Constitutional Court ruled Russia need not comply with a ruling of 31 July 2014 by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) issued in the case 'Yukos v Russia'. According to RAPSI, the Constitutional Court found that the ruling by the ECtHR 'contravenes the Russian Constitution.' Chair of the Constitutional Court Valery Zorkin was reported as saying that Russia is free to deviate from its obligations if it is the only way to avoid violation of the Constitution. On 12 October 2016 the Ministry of Justice made a formal request to the Constitutional Court to review the ruling by the ECtHR on the grounds that obligations placed on Russia by the ECtHR 'conflict' with the Constitution of the Russian Federation. RAPSI reports that in December 2016 the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe said that it expects Russia to abide by its obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights and pay former Yukos shareholders the awarded compensation of €1.9 billion in compensation and €300,000 legal expenses to former Yukos shareholders.

RAPSI notes that at the end of 2015 'Russia's Constitutional Court was granted the right to recognize decisions of international courts, including Strasbourg based European Court of Human Rights, as non-executable.'

On 20 January 2017 the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe, Nils Muižnieks, said in a statement: 'Yesterday’s decision of the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation on the Yukos case bears far-reaching consequences for human rights protection in Russia and elsewhere in Europe. Preventing the implementation of a judgment of the European Court of Human Rights weakens the safeguards for individuals and companies against possible State abuses. It also threatens the very integrity and legitimacy of the system of the European Convention on Human Rights, because it sends the signal that the standards of democracy, human rights and the rule of law a State subscribes to when joining the Council of Europe can be disregarded at will. I therefore urge the Russian Government and Parliament to change the Federal law which gives the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation the power to prevent the implementation of judgments of the Strasbourg Court.'

'Russia allowed not to abide by ECHR ruling on €1.9 bln compensation to Yukos,' RAPSI, 19 January 2017
Nils , Non-implementation of the Court’s judgments: our shared responsibility, Council of Europe, 20 January 2017