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Russian Justice Ministry asks Constitutional Court for permission to ignore ECHR ruling

February 02, 16:30 UTC+3 ST.PETERSBURG
The Constitutional Court has the right to recognize foreign court rulings, primarily the European Court of Human Rights, as not needing enforcement if they contradict domestic law
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©  ITAR-TASS/Alexander Ryumin

ST.PETERSBURG, February 2 /TASS/. Russia's Justice Ministry has asked the state Constitutional Court for permission to ignore a European Court of Human Rights ruling on the grounds that it contradicts fundamental domestic law.

The case revolves around Russians Sergey Anchugov and Vladimir Gladkov, jailed for 15 years - Anchugov now serving a sentence for murder, theft and fraud, Gladkov, having served prison time for murder and robbery, now living in Moscow after release on parole.

Both men sued Russian authorities in the European court for depriving them of voting rights in Russian parliamentary elections between 2000 and 2008.

In a 2013 ruling, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Russia’s absolute ban on prisoners’ participation in elections contradicted provisions of the European Convention on the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. Russia's constitution forbids anyone serving a jail term to take part in elections or be elected.

Now, the European ruling is being tested under Russia's legal system. Consideration of the "Anchugov and Gladkov vs. Russia" case will be the Constitutional Court's first examination on enforcement of a European Court of Human Rights decision and its compliance with Russia's constitution, a court official told told TASS on Tuesday.

Latest moves follow two landmark legal decisions. In July 2015, the Constitutional Court ruled that decisions of the European court could be implemented in Russia only if they did not contradict Russia's constitution.

Under this document, the Constitutional Court has the right to recognize foreign court rulings, primarily the European Court of Human Rights, as not needing enforcement if they fell foul of domestic law.

In December 2015, President Vladimir Putin signed law vesting the Constitutional Court with the right to decide if Russian courts had to implement foreign court decisions on protection of human rights and freedoms.

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