- Title: FRANCE/FILE: EU parliament express concerns over rule of law in Russia
- Date: 18th February 2011
- Summary: MOSCOW, RUSSIA (FEBRUARY 15, 2011) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF KREMLIN MOSCOW STREET
- Embargoed: 5th March 2011 12:00
- Location: France, Russian Federation
- Country: Russian Federation France
- Topics: Legal System,International Relations
- Reuters ID: LVA9KSAPLTLMFYJ0RNWXOIXEG4YV
- Story Text: Russia's judiciary appears increasingly politicised and lacking in impartiality, the European Parliament said in a resolution approved on Thursday (February 17), citing the questionable verdict on the Khodorkovsky case and violations of human rights.
Voicing their concerns over reports of politically-motivated trials, unfair procedures and failures to investigate serious crimes such as killings and harassment, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) urged the Russian authorities to bring perpetrators to justice in an effective, impartial and independent manner.
"Violence, harassment and intimidation against activists, lawyers and independent journalists are of great concern for us. The number of cases to support this statement is unacceptably high. The brutal attacks on Russian journalist Oleg Kasin and Anatoly Adamchuk and environmental activist Konstantin Fetisov are among the latest reminders of the climate of insecurity and intimidation that journalist, activists and human right defenders in Russia face in their day-to-day work. Despite the assurances at the highest levels, the perpetrators are rarely brought to justice and sentenced," Hungary State Secretary for EU affairs Eniko Gyori told the parliament during a debate on Tuesday.
''The Russian authorities are evidently implementing unconstitutional law and order. The situation in North Caucasus is one of the most violent examples of that. The Russian constitution provides a basis for a multi-party system but de facto it has become one party system with a marginalised parliament,'' a Liberal parliamentarian belonging to the foreign affairs committee told the parliament.
Violence plagues the predominantly Muslim North Caucasus, where rebels want to set up an Islamic state.
Mikhail Khodorkovsky was convicted of fraud and tax evasion in 2005 in what supporters said was part of a Kremlin campaign to punish the tycoon for perceived challenges to then-President Vladimir Putin and to tighten state control over oil revenues.
After a second trial, Danilkin convicted Khodorkovsky on multibillion-dollar theft and money-laundering charges and sentenced him to remain in prison until October 2017.
Khodorkovsky's lawyers accused Putin, now the Prime Minister, of pressuring the judge.
The European Union and Russia concluded a partnership and co-operation agreement in 1994, EU's external action department said.
Article 2 of the agreement reads: 'Respect for democratic principles and human rights as defined in particular in the Helsinki Final Act and the Charter of Paris for a new Europe, underpins the internal and external policies of the Parties and constitutes an essential element of partnership and of this Agreement.' The new EU-Russia Partnership and Cooperation Agreement now being negotiated should play a prominent role in promoting democracy, the rule of law and respect for human and fundamental rights, say MEPs.
The resolution was approved by a show of hands.
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