No More Juries in Russia

The Associated Press press reports that trials by jury are on the way out in Russia, which is obviously very bad for rule of law.

The lower house of Russia’s parliament approved a bill Friday that would end jury trials on charges of terrorism and treason. Critics denounced it as a retreat from democratic freedoms.

The Kremlin-controlled State Duma approved the bill in its final reading by a 355-85 vote. It will now go the upper house, where swift approval is expected.

The bill would strip defendants charged with crimes that include involvement in illegal armed units, violent seizure of power, armed rebellion and mass riots of the right to jury trials. Instead they would face judges.

“It’s another blow to democratic principles of justice,” Communist lawmaker Viktor Ilyukhin said.