Comments of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine on the resolution of the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation on the execution of the European Court of Human Rights’ decisions
On July 14, 2015 the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation issued its decision in the case of the execution of the European Court of Human Rights’ decisions on the territory of the Russian Federation. According to this decision, in case of a collision between the Constitution of the Russian Federation and a decision of ECHR the priority will be given to the norms of the Russian Constitution. In such cases, Russia will refuse to execute "controversial" judgements of the Court. The Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation will assess the constitutionality of ECHR's judgements at the request of state authorities of the Russian Federation.
MFA of Ukraine expresses its deep concern about this decision of the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation and considers it as a deliberate onslaught against the system of protection of human rights both in the Russian Federation and the European continent as a whole.
The striving of the Russian authorities to discredit the control mechanism of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms aims, inter alia, at avoiding responsibility for the grave and massive violations of human rights in the occupied Crimea and occupied Donbas.
Realizing that the victims of the Russian aggression and legal arbitrariness can achieve justice in Strasbourg, Russian officials have done everything to block the execution of the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights and to create a vicious cycle of reproduction of their own impunity.
Disregarding basic principles of the international law that require Contracting States to fulfill their obligations in good faith, the Russian authorities usurped the powers to choose which judgements of the ECHR they will execute and which they won’t. Thus, the Russian state introduces selective justice and deprives millions of persons who turn to the Court to protect their rights of objective, impartial and accountable judicial protection.
MFA of Ukraine reminds the Russian side that according to paragraph 1 of Article 46 of the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms Contracting Parties are obliged to implement the final judgements of the European Court of Human Rights in any case in which they are parties to. This obligation is absolute and knows no exceptions; it must be fulfilled in good faith by all Parties of the Convention, including the Russian Federation. Bona fide execution of the ECHR judgements stems from the basic principles of the international law as well as from the obligations and commitments undertaken by Russia when acceding to the Council of Europe.
The Russian Federation’s refusal to ensure the execution of ECHR judgments, along with the adoption of repressive legislation on "foreign agents", censorship in the media and on the Internet, restrictions of freedom of peaceful assembly, ignoring the rights of national and other minorities testifies to wide-ranging offensive by Russian authorities on democracy, human rights and the rule of law in Russia.
We call on the Council of Europe to give an adequate response to this negative trend, above all – by supporting democratic institutions in the Russian Federation itself. European democratic community must use all political and legal instruments available at our disposal in order to force Russian authorities to return to the path of democratic development and the proper implementation of its international obligations. In this context, we urge the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers to resume the political monitoring of Russia's fulfillment of its obligations and commitments to the Organization, and appeal to the Secretary General of the Council of Europe to prepare a report on the state of democracy, human rights and the rule of law in the Russian Federation. We believe that the decision of the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation must be assessed for its compliance with European principles and standards by the Venice Commission.