Grigory Pasko: Rumors, Rumors, and Rumors in Russian Justice

chaika071808.jpgIt’s people who make the system Grigory Pasko, journalist Если Вы хотите прочитать оригинал данной статьи на русском языке, нажмите сюда. The chattering continues… I’m talking here about the fact that a command has obviously been given to the Russian mass media to hype the thesis of the newly-sprung president Medvedev about “legal nihilism” and the necessity of struggle for an independent judiciary. And so it is that even the procurator-general himself has revealed his word to the people. In Russia, said Yuri Chaika recently, thousands of people are unlawfully brought to criminal liability every year. Of course, what forgot to mention was that this lawlessness is happening largely through the fault of none other than procuratorial workers. And I’m interested: what was it that kept Chaika from proclaiming such a well-known truth earlier, before Medvedev said that thing about “nihilism”? Chaika also said this: “…annually as a result of an outright defect in the work of preliminary investigation the number of persons having the right to rehabilitation after criminal prosecution continue [sic] to number in the thousands. “If in the year 2006 the right to rehabilitation received 6234 persons, then in 2007 – 5265. In so doing more than a quarter of them were held in detention”, underscored the procurator. Photo: Procurator-General Chaika (source)

To put it in other words, after they have convicted a person and screwed up his health, if not his whole life, they don’t rehabilitate him.In so doing, the procurator-general completely forgot to mention anything about such a universal phenomenon as NOT punishing those who initiate criminal proceedings in relation to people they know are innocent. The fact is that according to the Russian criminal code, falsification of the materials of a criminal case – this is a criminally punishable act. But in Russia, they customarily punish investigators and procurators for this [G.P. must have meant “do not punish”!—Trans.]. And these criminals just go on living their calm and peaceful lives, and live to a ripe old age, like the hangmen of the Stalinist regime and the regime of the KGB.And this is why both these hangmen and their spawn shouted and protested so loudly with respect to the completely just and completely lawful prosecution by Estonian justice of the war criminal Arnold Meri.The procurator-general also announced the following figure. In the year 2007 the European Court of Human Rights issued judgments on recovery from Russia of 4.3 bln euros with respect to analogous claims.That’s a hefty number, but it doesn’t really give a precise picture of the state of Russian justice. The fact is that thousands of Russians, whose rights have been grossly violated by the organs of the police, FSB, procuracy and the courts, do not turn to the International Court of Human Rights. They prefer not to get involved with their dear government even by means of an appeal to a European judicial instance.About this, and about much else, the procurator of all the Russias chose not to say a word. Could it be because his speech was merely a symbolic indication of a struggle with twisted justice in Russia, and not a real struggle? That is, it was just ordinary chattering.And once again there’s talk about a «Medvedevite thaw» after the Constitutional Court of the RF satisfied the appeal of journalist Manana Aslamazyan in the case of the verification of the constitutionality of a provision of part 1 of article 188 of the Criminal Code of the RF. According to the court decision, the normative provision of part 1 of article 188 of the CC RF loses force and is not subject to application, while the decisions of courts and other organs that were based on it are subject to review, including Aslamazyan’s case.The Constitutional Court of the RF ruled that the norm that was being challenged does not correspond with the Constitution of the RF and violates the principles of equality and fairness. The Court indicated in its decision that the mere fact of importing currency is not considered in current legislation, as an infringement on the interests of the country in the sphere of the economy. In so doing, an illicit character acquires an undeclared import of currency only in a sum above that permitted by law.For such an offense is established both administrative and criminal liability. In so doing, the criminal liability is established for instances of the undeclared import of currency in a large amount.The Constitutional Court of the RF indicated that large can be considered only substantially exceeding the permitted sum. The Court found that criminal liability can be considered lawfully established and meeting the requirements of the Constitution of the RF only under the condition that it is appropriate for the dangerousness of the crime.Now, here’s what this all means. Aslamazyan imported a sum that slightly exceeded the one that is permitted by Russian legislation. She could have been punished in administrative procedure for this. But instead she was held criminally liable, which was an obvious political “contract”: Manana headed an organization that was teaching regional journalists free and independent television journalism. In a totalitarian state – this is a state crime, as I’m sure you understand.It is noteworthy that even after the Constitutional Court’s decision, Manana Aslamazyan has not returned to Russia. They say that yet another criminal case awaits her here…Nobody has been surprised for a long time by the fact that criminal cases in relation to people unwanted by the power are initiated easily and simply and then get to trial just as easily and simply. And the Russian courts convict such people easily and simply.But as soon as you start talking about real criminals, from the upper echelons of power, then here, as a rule, the machinery of justice grinds to a halt, freezing up and crashing like a bad computer. One of the deputies of Investigative Committee chief Bastrykin recently expressed himself thus in an interview: he initiated criminal cases on the orders of his boss, often not having the proper legal grounds for this. The interview passed almost unnoticed.If the deputy director of the FBI had said in an interview with an American newspaper that he had opened criminal cases against a deputy cabinet secretary or generals on the orders of the director, not having legal grounds for this, a grandiose scandal would have erupted in the country. The entire FBI would have been shaken out, like a dirty dishrag.In Russia – silence. No removals. No reaction.On the next day after the stunning revelations of the official from the Main Investigative Administration Putin met with French journalists and told how he with Medvedev respect the law: “In any event we — both when I was president and he today — must be guided by Russian legislation. Medvedev, just like I, finished the very same university. We had good teachers, who gave us a wonderful vaccine — to respect the law”.By now, you could probably find hundreds of facts to convincingly prove: Putin knows how NOT to obey the law. More precisely, his little helpers. And the surnames of these little helpers are directly named. For example, the surname of Igor Sechin and his role in the rout of YUKOS. But again – no investigations, no dismissals. Even more, Sechin is now the deputy chairman of government.Scandals of a lower order are taking place all over Russia. Not that long ago, for example, criminal cases were sprouting like mushrooms all around the current governor of Primorsky Kray, Sergey Darkin. Even a search in his apartments was conducted. But it all ended with Darkin coming to Moscow and, as we say in Russia, “solving the question”. How exactly he “solved” it – is known only to him and to the one with whom he actually solved it. And he solved it, as they wrote, with president Medvedev. I couldn’t care less whether Darkin is going to be governor or not. What is interesting to me is why Medvedev, the president and the lawyer, did not indicate with a single word the presence of problems around one of his subordinates in the rank of governor? Did Medvedev have nothing to say? Or was Medvedev TOLD to keep silent?If even with respect to loud and scandalous themes the newly-sprung president keeps silence, then it becomes understandable just exactly what kind of teachers he had with the «lawyer» Putin.