13 Nov 2018 13:59

Russia may lift death penalty moratorium if it withdraws from CoE - Federal Chamber of Lawyers

MOSCOW. Nov 13 (Interfax) - The Russian Federal Chamber of Lawyers (RFCL) has warned of possible undesirable consequences of Russia's withdrawal from the Council of Europe (CoE).

"As a civil society institution, the community of lawyers is obliged to draw the state's attention to legal and social consequences that this decision would inevitably entail, as this would directly affect the rights and freedoms of Russian citizens," the RFCL told Interfax on Tuesday.

The most negative possible consequence would be the de facto cancellation of the moratorium on the death penalty that was imposed when Russia joined the CoE, the RFCL said.

"The resumption of the application of the death penalty would entail extremely undesirable social consequences, due both to the significant number of articles of the Russian Criminal Code stipulating this type of punishment and to the unprecedented pressure that could be put on a person when a case potentially carrying such a sentence is opened against them. The lifting of the moratorium could also lead to an increase in the level of aggression and tension in society and a decline in moral and ethical levels," it said.

In addition, withdrawal from the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) would be bad for Russian citizens, as it "would rule out international control stipulating that a state must remain within the framework determined by the Human Rights Convention, which Russia joined by willingly accepting the principles declared in it," the RFCL said.

The absence of a general European opinion on a human rights situation formed by ECHR judges and of benchmarks for improving the law and law enforcement practices would also have a negative effect on citizens, it said.

"Therefore, the risks associated with a withdrawal from the Council of Europe are so great that they overweigh the political considerations prompting the Russian Federation to take this step," the RFCL said.