14 Nov 2018 20:57

Agora to represent Ingush-Chechen border opponents in Constitutional Court

MAGAS. Nov 14 (Interfax) - The international human rights group Agora is planning to defend the interests of the World Congress of the Ingush people at the Russian Constitutional Court in the matter of compliance with the Constitution of the republic's border agreement with Chechnya, the head of the organization said.

"Agora's lawyer Ramil Akhmetgaliyev is representing the Congress at the Russian Constitutional Court," Pavel Chikov wrote on his Facebook page.

The congress asked the court to allow it to be a party to the case, he said.

"According to the Congress, the Constitutional Court hearing of [Ingushetia's leader Yunus-Bek] Yevkurov's request without the involvement of Ingush people representatives will violate the fundamental principles of the comprehensiveness, objectivity and fullness of the court process. The congress believes that resolution of such an important issue should also reflect the opinion of the people living in the republic," Chikov, who is also a member of the Russian presidential council for the promotion of civil society and human rights, said.

Holding an open hearing that would give platform to a variety of views will ensure a lawful and fair ruling, he said.

For this reason, Yevkurov's request must be heard in accordance with the principles of transparency, openness and fairness, Chikov said. One way to ensure this is by inviting public representatives to take part in the court hearing to express the position of the people of Ingushetia, family clans and diasporas. The congress is precisely such a public organization.

"According to the established practice, the Russian Constitutional Court, guided by the common principles in hearing high-profile cases, shall invite a broad circle of participants (including as amici curiae) who are not parties in the strict sense of the law. The Court has practiced cases where "citizens' unions" campaigned for the rights of other individuals when this was consistent with their core objective," Chikov said.

On September 26, Yevkurov and Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov signed an agreement on the administrative border between the two Russian regions, which had not been clearly defined since the breakup of the Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Soviet Republic in 1991. The document envisages an equal exchange of territories.

The Ingush parliament passed a bill ratifying the treaty on October 4. The head of Ingushetia signed it into law the same day.

Unauthorized protests began in Magas on October 4.They were legalized on October 8, and the protesters moved to another location approved by the local authorities.

On October 30, in response to a motion from a group of members of the Ingush People's Assembly challenging the law's constitutionality, the Constitutional Court of Ingushetia declared it invalid. According to the court, the border treaty needs to be endorsed in a referendum in Ingushetia.

Yevkurov told Interfax that the ruling that the law is inconsistent with the Ingush Constitution does not automatically lead to its annulment.

The court received Yevkurov's request on November 8. On November 14 a court spokesperson said that the request had been accepted and will be heard at an open session on November 27.