Russian Council member proposes establishment of CIS human rights court

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Oct. 5, 2011, 1:01 p.m. | Russia and former Soviet Union — by Interfax-Ukraine

The CIS countries should set up their own human rights court, Russian Federation Council First Deputy Chairman Alexander Torshin said.

Moscow - The CIS countries should set up their own human rights court, Russian Federation Council First Deputy Chairman Alexander Torshin said. "We need to set up a court within the CIS framework analogous to the European Court of Human Rights [ECHR]. We can set up our own judicial national bodies within the CIS," Torshin told Interfax on Wednesday, explaining that the establishment of such a court would not be against the existing CIS legal basis.

The CIS endorsed a statute of a human rights commission and its functions analogous to the ECHR back in September 1993, Torshin said.

"CIS citizens and organizations were entitled to appeal to this commission. But this commission failed to work then, and therefore we need to revert to this issue now and set up not a commission but a full-fledged human rights court," Torshin said.

Such a court will not be an alternative to the Strasbourg Court, he said.

"Our citizens will only have a choice between the ECHR and the CIS human rights court," Torshin said.

A CIS human rights court will provide CIS citizens wishing to appeal their authorities' actions with a number of advantages over the ECHR, he said.

"The main of these advantages is that an overwhelming majority of the people still have a command of the Russian language. This will enable them to go to the court without a translator's assistance, and this should minimize bureaucratic red tape. This is exactly what makes people wait for five to eight years for their turn at the ECHR," Torshin said.

The foundation of a CIS court would relieve the Strasbourg Court of extra work, he said.

"This would be a logical step that would help relieve the ECHR, which is complaining all the time that they are overloaded with work there. Therefore, let's help them, and the establishment of such a court is quite within our powers," he said.

Taking into account the ECHR record, the CIS court could be of a higher quality, Torshin said.

"We will look into the ECHR's development history and its bottlenecks and problems. They themselves, in Strasbourg, admit to having a huge number of problems and the need to reform the ECHR. Taking this into account, we need to set up a more perfect CIS human rights court of a better quality," he said.

This is not Torshin's first idea of establishing a counterbalance to the Strasbourg Court.

In June 2011, Torshin filed a bill with the State Duma, which would give priority to the Russian Constitutional Court's rulings over the ECHR judgments. The bill caused outrage of human rights activists, and the Communist Party and the party A Just Russia also openly opposed it.
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