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CIS countries ready to create their own human rights court

October 05, 2011, 18:02 UTC+3

"I think we are mature enough to have such an authority in the CIS," Torshin said

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MOSCOW, October 5 (Itar-Tass) —— The CIS countries are ready to create their own court of human rights, which will not become a counterweight to the Strasbourg court, the First Deputy Speaker of the Federation Council, Alexander Torshin told Itar-Tass in an interview.

"I think we are mature enough to have such an authority in the CIS,” he said. “Now the integration processes, especially in connection with the creation of the common economic space and the Customs Union allow for that. And this will not be a counter-balance to the ECHR by any means, it will be an additional opportunity to choose where to go."

Torshin said the main objective is "to make justice in the sphere of human rights protection better available to the citizens of the CIS countries."

"Applying to the ECHR is a lengthy and expensive process, and the compensations that are awarded there are sometimes smaller than the cost of the legal fees,” said Torshin. “And then people will have more chances to find justice."

In addition, the CIS court will be able to take into account the complexities and conflict situations faced by the Strasbourg court.

"We might polish to perfection, modernize the Convention on Human Rights, using the rich experience of the European Convention," Torshin said. He drew attention to the duration of proceedings at the ECHR.

"The Strasbourg court is overloaded, it is necessary to stand in a queue for 6-7 years,” he said. “With this in mind we might be able to arrange proceedings within the CIS in a way that would minimize the deadline for the consideration of each case to one year." Torshin pointed to the language barrier that prevents many residents of the Commonwealth from having their rights protected in Strasbourg. "In the CIS court the working language will be Russian,” he continued. “In the CIS everyone knows the language - someone better, someone worse. No problems with the interpreter."

"Accordingly, it is easier to find a lawyer – not someone with a special knowledge of languages, but a lawyer from the nearest association,” he added.

Torshin also sees no reason for the emergence of conflicts of law, if the verdicts of the CIS court and the court in Strasbourg prove conflicting.

"I do foresee a situation in which a citizen may not be satisfied with the decision of the Court of the CIS, so he or she may appeal to the ECHR, and if this judicial instance sustains the request, we will pay,” he said. “And the other way round, if Strasbourg refuses, and the CIS court says YES. There will not be any contradiction."

As for the implementation of this idea, the first deputy speaker of the Federation Council is planning "to work on it well in the CIS Inter-Parliamentary Assembly."

"I am now thinking about how to do this most effectively, to let the relevant committees and commissions take a look at it and offer their comments," he said. At the same time Torshin advised against hurrying with the preparation of relevant project documents. About the date when they may be submitted to the Inter-Parliamentary Assembly of the CIS, he said this should not be expected earlier than next year.

"Fundamental things are not to be done in a hurry," Torshin said philosophically. He also predicts that "the process of interstate agreements will not be quick." In this context, the senator recalled that in 1993 there was an attempt to create an analogue of such a court - a human rights commission that had roughly the same jurisdiction as the Strasbourg Court.

"But then a number of countries did not sign the Convention on Human Rights - among them Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan,” he said. “And the commission, which was to be located in Minsk, never got down to work."


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