Words, words, words


In a famous scene Hamlet enters with his head bent and a book in his hand: ‘the poor wretch comes reading.’ ‘What do you read, my lord?’ Polonius asks. ‘Words, words, words,’ is Hamlet’s reply.

The Constitutional Court of Russia has ruled that decisions of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg must serve as a basis for appeals on rulings passed by Russian courts. Relevant changes must be made to the Code of Civil Procedure which currently does not treat ECHR’s decision as facts that require the review of a case.

The decision, however, did not prevent the Supreme Court from dismissing the complaint of Olga Kudeshkina, a former judge who lost her job for criticizing Russia's judicial system.

She was paid 10,000 Euros compensation - and that must be it, the court ruled and ignored the fact that her dismissal was denounced by the ECHR.

Alexandra Lopatkina, who represented the Moscow Judicial Qualifications Committee, said that ‘the damage that Kudeshkina did to the authority of the judiciary is irredeemable, and the motives that formed the basis for deprivation of her status do not allow her to be considered as a member of the judicial community.’

The decision may be technically correct - the amendments to the Code of Civil Procedure are still to be made – and certainly not surprising. Just three months earlier the Constitutional Court and particularly its chairman, Valery Zorkin, ostracized their colleagues, Justices Vladimir Yaroslavtsev and Anatoly Kononov, who publicly criticized Russia's judicial system. In his article Valery Zorkin said that the traitors could no longer be part of this ‘very small circle of very respected people’.

In 2009 Russia accounted for almost one third of all claims filed to the European Court of Human Rights: Russians complain more than any other nation.

"The state is obliged not only to make compensatory payments to the person whose rights were upheld by the European Court,’ the Constitutional Court’s decision says, ‘but to ensure, as far as possible, that their rights were fully restored.’


March 14, 2010
photo: bilderbox - Fotolia.com