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November 19, 2009

Russia's highest court essentially abolishes death penalty in that nation

This new Reuters article, which is headlined "Russian court extends moratorium on death penalty," explains why Russia is now pretty close to officially being another European nation without capital punishment. Here are the details:

Russia's Constitutional Court on Thursday effectively abolished the death penalty, extending indefinitely a 13-year-old moratorium on capital punishment. Russia has not executed a criminal since 1996, though a myriad of contradictory legal decisions have helped stoke a heated debate about whether to return the punishment for especially barbarous crimes.

"The Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation recognised that after January 1, 2010 use of the death penalty in Russia is not possible," the court, which is based in Russia's former capital St Petersburg, said in a statement.

Valery Zorkin, the head of the court, announced the decision after 17 judges deliberated for 45 minutes in the 18th Century building that used to house the Tsar's senate and synod.  "I consider that this decision means the abolition of the death penalty," said court spokeswoman Anna Malysheva.

Kremlin chief Dmitry Medvedev, a former corporate lawyer, has pushed for the abolition of the death penalty which, despite the moratorium, is still part of Russia's criminal code.  Recent polls have shown that between 65 and 74 percent of Russians favour resuming executions, carried out before the moratorium by a pistol shot to the back of the head....

Concerns about the return of the death penalty were raised because of a legal loophole under which the punishment cannot be applied until the introduction of jury trials in all regions.  On Jan. 1, 2010, the volatile North Caucasus region of Chechnya will become Russia's last region where juries will replace traditional panels of judges, clearing the final formal obstacle to the death penalty's return.

But the Constitutional Court dismissed those concerns.  "The introduction of jurors over the entire territory of the Russian Federation does not create the possibility to apply the death penalty," it said in its statement.

November 19, 2009 at 09:25 AM | Permalink

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Comments

One wonders if these judges get financial considerations from the Russian Mafia.

The judges of Russia always came up with the verdict phoned in by the local executive. Juries are a step forward for Russia.

The Soviet Commie constitution enumerated far more rights than that of the US. Documents do not produce freedom. Only checks and balances do. It is high time to allow liability of all court officers, to alleviate their incompetence and the damages they do to the nation.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Nov 21, 2009 10:52:36 AM


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