More and More Russians Contacting European Court in Strasbourg

The Strasbourg-based European human-rights court received about 30,000 complaints last year; of this number, 4,500 complaints were filed by Russian citizens. This was disclosed January 25 by Russian judge Anatoly Kovler, who was elected to sit in the European court.

According to Kovler, Russia had joined the European human-rights convention four years ago; this time period shows that Russian citizens seek justice at the Strasbourg court, after failing to settle their cases in Russian courts. At the same time, such people and their lawyers don't know much about the relevant procedure for filing complaints at the European court. Consequently, most complaints are being rejected during their acceptance. Only a few complaints have been accepted at this stage. Meanwhile the European court hasn't yet decided whether to accept another 113 complaints, or not. The Strasbourg court has sent inquiries to Russia, expecting national institutions of state authority to submit the required documents and explanations.

Talking about the content of such applications, Kovler noted that they mostly had something to do with unsolved socio-economic problems. Meanwhile the number of complaints dealing with unlawful arrests has plunged considerably after the enactment of the new criminal-proceedings code. At the same time, more and more inmates are complaining about bad conditions at preliminary-investigation wards.

Kovler voiced hope to the effect that Russian citizens and their lawyers will be submitting more adequate complaints to Strasbourg, after finding out the European court's specifics, and that fewer complaints will therefore be turned down.

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