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Constitutional Court says protocol on accession to WTO lawful

July 09, 2012, 19:52 UTC+3

The Communist and Just Russia parties questioned the constitutionality of the terms of accession to the WTO

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ST. PETERSBURG, July 9 (Itar-Tass) —— The Constitutional Court upheld the protocol on Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) as conforming to the Constitution.

The Constitutional Court announced its verdict following an inquiry made by a group of MPs who contested the constitutionality of certain provisions of the international treaty and its ratification procedure.

“The intentions of the WTO member states stated in the preamble to the agreement do not contravene the basic principles of the constitutional system in the Russian Federation enshrined in the Constitution. Neither the Marrakesh Agreement nor the Protocol [on Russia’s accession to the WTO] do not impose any restrictions on the rights and freedoms of people or the sovereignty of the Russian Federation,” Constitutional Court Chairman Valery Zorkin said on Monday, July 9.

The Court said that “the government of the Russian Federation, the Federal Assembly and the president of the Russian Federation should take into account the economic effects and risks of Russia’s accession to the WTO as well as the state’s measures to protect national interests when signing, approving and ratifying” the document.

On June 20, the Communist and Just Russia parties questioned the constitutionality of the terms of accession to the WTO. The document was signed by 131 MPs. They claimed that the document did not comply with the Russian Constitution and that some of the provisions in the Protocol violate the constitutional right to qualified legal assistance and the administration of justice by a state court only.

The chairman of the Duma Committee on Economic Policy, Innovative Development and Entrepreneurship, Igor Rudensky, said earlier that the inquiry was groundless and noted that “the draft law on the ratification of the protocol has been sent to the State Duma Law Department for a legal examination to determine whether the document is consistent with the Russian Constitution and laws.

“There are no grounds for doubts about the conformity of the protocol to the Constitution, and the main purpose of the inquiry is to obstruct its ratification at the plenary session,” Rudensky said.

He recalled that Russia has to ratify the protocol within 220 days of signature. Otherwise it will have to start new accession talks.

If the Constitutional Court upholds the State Duma’s decision to debate Russia’s accession to the WTO legitimate, the document will be discussed in the lower house of parliament on July 10.

In accordance with international obligations assumed by Russia, the treaty should be ratified before July 23.



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