Chairman of Supreme Court for making Criminal Code more humane

During an Internet conference on Tuesday, Chairman of the Russian Supreme Court Vyacheslav Lebedev spoke out in favour of making the Criminal Code more humane.

"In some of its provisions, the Criminal Code is really inhumane, especially as regards repetition of offences," the Supreme Court Chairman believes. Imprisonment must only be applied to those who committed grave crimes, he believes.

Russian judges already try to avoid sentencing people to imprisonment, if the effective Criminal Code allows that, Lebedev said. He added that Russian courts could not broadly apply such alternative types of punishment as fine and hard labour for socio-economic reasons.

According to the Supreme Court, there were 685 prisoners per 100,000 people in Russia in 2002, which is almost twice more than in 1991.

On the instructions of Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Supreme Court presented its proposals for the humanisation of effective legislation, Lebedev said. The president's bill amending the Criminal Code has already passed the first reading in the State Duma.

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