Law on Human Rights Ombudsman for Chechnya Contradicts Russian Constitution

posted 30 Jul 2011, 03:08 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 30 Jul 2011, 03:11 ]
28 July 2011

Translation by Memorial

At the end of August, representatives of the Inter-regional NGO “Committee Against Torture” contacted Yu. Chaika, General Prosecutor of the Russian Federation, and M. Savchin, Prosecutor of the Republic of Chechnya, in connection with the law on the “Human Rights Ombudsman in the Republic of Chechnya.” The fact is that this law contradicts the Constitution of the Russian Federation.

Human rights defenders decided to make a comparison of the laws after a statement by the current Ombudsman for Chechnya N. Nukhazhiev. On October 29, 2010 in the court proceedings at civil court 363 in the Khamovniki district of Moscow, he was questioned as a witness in the criminal libel case against O. Orlov, brought by R. Kadyrov.

Having answered the questions of the prosecutor and victim's representatives, Nukhazhiev tried to refuse to answer questions made by the defendant, Orlov. Nukhazhiev appealed to the judge, K. Morozova, with the following appeal: “Your honor, allow me the right granted by the federal constitutional law “On the Human Rights Ombudsmen” and the constitutional law “On the Human Rights Ombudsman for the Republic of Chechnya” not to give evidence from criminal cases in civil cases, which became known to me in carrying out my duties in respect to Orlov in this case, especially Orlov. I'll answer the questions asked by his lawyer and others." In response, Judge Morozova said: "The court explained to you that you have the right to not incriminate yourself, respectively, and close relatives, as defined by federal law. If you are asked any questions by defendant Oleg Petrovich Orlov and you can not on answer them, do not know, or think that it will somehow affect you personally and, accordingly, your relatives, you can ask the court, and I will decide accordingly what questions may or may not be removed, and to which questions you will need to respond." Only after this, "only in deference to the judge," did Nukhazhiev answer Orlov's questions.

It later emerged that the constitutional law of the Chechen Republic "On the Human Rights Ombudsman for the Republic of Chechnya" in relation to the Ombudsman of the Republic actually secured a special procedure in criminal cases, while, on the basis of the Russian Federation's Constitution and Criminal Procedure Code, such provision for regional Ombudsmen cannot be made. Among the categories of persons who have special rights in court in criminal cases, only the Federal Human Rights Ombudsman is mentioned. Interpreting the code broadly, which Nukhazhiyev probably did mistakenly in court, is impermissible. Conferring special rights to regional ombudsmen using the standards set for federal officials is illegal.

The authors of the appeal – representatives of the “Committee Against Torture” I. Kalyapin and his assistant for rights and analytic work D. Kazakov – are demanding that the prosecutors “take all necessary measures to bring the constitution of the Republic of Chechnya “On the Human Rights Ombudsman for the Republic of Chechnya” into agreement with federal legislation.”

V. Lukin, Human Rights Ombudsman for the Russian Federation, was also made aware of the detected conflict.

The text of the appeal by the “Committee Against Torture” to Prosecutor Yu. Chaika can be found on the website of the HRC “Memorial” (below text of the release):

The transcript of the hearing in Orlov's criminal case from October 29, 201 (including the questioning of Nukhazhiev):

July 28, 2011

Human Rights Center Memorial, 127051, Russia, Moscow, Maly Karetny, 12
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