The Venice Commission concluded that Russia should fulfill any decision made by the European Court of Human Rights, regardless of Russian legal norms. Europe wants Russia to change its own Constitution saying that it should be done on the basis of the Convention on Human Rights that Russia ratified in 1998 when joining the Council of Europe.
Western experts published the full text of the conclusion about amendments to the Federal Constitutional Law "About the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation. The law entitles Russia not to fulfill decisions of international courts if they violate the Constitution of the Russian Federation. The head of the Federation Council Committee on Constitutional Legislation, one of the authors of the amendments, Andrei Klishas, said that the conclusion of the committee was advisory in nature and will not be executed in the near future.
Both houses of the Russian parliament supported amendments to the Law "About the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation" in late 2015. According to the amendments, the agencies executing decisions of international courts are entitled to appeal to the Constitutional Court to find out whether this or that decision may violate the Russian Constitution.
Should the Constitutional court find a violation, the decision will be announced "unenforceable". The Venice Commission cracked down on the provisions of these amendments claiming that the right of the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation was not compatible with Russia's international obligations.
According to members of the Venice Commission, having joined the Convention on Human Rights, Russia not only pledged to ensure rights and freedoms, but also recognized the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) as mandatory.
Noteworthy, President Vladimir Putin also signed an adequate law to recognize decisions of international courts unenforceable, if they contradict to the Russian Constitution.
Therefore, all questions related to the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights and their enforcement in Russia will have to be solved individually. The rulings of the ECHR will be handled on the basis of the supremacy of the Russian Constitution.
Thus, if the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation finds a ruling of an international court impossible for enforcement in Russia, no action will be possible to make to execute this ruling in Russia.
Now the rulings of the Strasbourg Court should be executed in Russia on the basis of the supremacy of the Russian Constitution. The Russian Constitutional Court ruled that the participation of the Russian Federation in international treaties does not envisage waiver from national sovereignty. "The European Convention on Human Rights, and legal positions of the ECHR can not override the priority of the Russian Constitution," judge Sergei Mavrin said.
Russia is the only country that has such an approach to ECHR decisions. The UK, for example, executes decisions of this court only if they do not contradict to domestic laws of the United Kingdom, and it is up to the British Royal court to find consistency.
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