20 Jan 2020 16:29

Constitutional working group confirms need to keep legal standpoints aimed at respecting fundamental principles of int'l law - letter

MOSCOW. Jan 20 (Interfax) - The working group tasked to draft amendments to the Russian Constitution has submitted a letter to the head of state determining the main areas of the scope of its work and designating key matters that require a thorough analysis; a number of amendments have been formulated.

The working group has highlighted "the need to maintain legal standpoints aimed at respecting the fundamental principles of international law, which requires a well-considered approach during the elaboration of rules reinforcing constitutional guarantees of the Russian Constitution's priority on Russian territory," the letter said.

"International treaties implemented into the Russian legal system become part of the latter and, as per Article 4 and Part 1 of Article 15 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation, must be governed by its effects," it said. In order to enshrine the priority of the Russian Constitution, amendment to Article 79 has been proposed, according to the letter.

In developing constitutional guarantees with regard to the government meeting its social commitments (minimum statutory monthly pay at least equal to living wage and decent retirement income security), the working group has elaborated proposals on amending Article 75 of the Constitution (financial commitments of the State) and suggested "directly stipulating that the Russian Government ensure that the aforesaid commitments are fulfilled" (amendment to Article 114 of the Russian Constitution), it said.

"One of the key matters is defining the role and status of the State Council. We believe that it should have an independent role and be effectively built into the mechanism of government. However, it should not duplicate the role of the Federation Council," the working group's letter said.

In this regard, "a serious effort is needed to define its [the Council's] correlation with other instruments of government machinery and key principles of interaction between the latter and the Council," it said.

"The Russian Constitution should address key issues pertaining to the status of the State Council, including the principles of its formation, based on which a federal law on the State Council should be enacted," it said.

The leaders of the working group said that "to secure due support for the system of public authority and to enshrine directly in the Constitution of the Russian Federation basic requirements with regard to individuals holding key government positions, members of parliament, and judges, amendments will need to be made to Articles 78, 97, 110, 119, and 129 of the Constitution, and in order to raise the requirements for a candidate for president of Russia amendments should be made to Article 81 of the Constitution."

"Serious analysis is needed with regard to the issue of the relationship between the system of state and municipal authorities, and in setting forth the principle of unity of public authority in the Constitution of the Russian Federation (amendments to Article 132) one should act so that constitutional safeguards of local government are unaffected," the letter said.

It said that "there should be no mechanical merge, but mechanisms via which various public authority levels are to interact require additional detailing".

"With a view to broadening the principle of constitutional legitimacy and human rights, the competences of the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation need to be enhanced with regard to assessing the constitutionality of laws that the parliament passes, and Article 125 of the Russian Constitution should be amended accordingly," the letter said.

"The procedure under which this power is exercised requires additional elaboration," it said.