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Senator says Russia should not abide by ECHR ruling on adoption ban for US

January 18, 2017, 12:00 UTC+3 SYDNEY

The chairman of the Federation Council’s International Affairs Committee Konstantin Kosachev has called ECHR's decision "surprising"

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© Valery Sharifulin/TASS

SYDNEY, January 18. /TASS/. Moscow should not comply with the ruling of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on recognizing as illegitimate the ban on US adoptions of Russian children under the so-called Dima Yakovlev Law, senior Russian senator Konstantin Kosachev told TASS.

Kosachev, the chairman of the Federation Council’s International Affairs Committee, who heads Russia’s delegation to the 25th Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Forum in Fiji, said the ECHR’s ruling is "just surprising."

"First, the United States is not a member of the Council of Europe and did not sign the European Convention on Human Rights and therefore is not subject to the jurisdiction of the European Court," the senator said.

"Second, in the most surprising way the Americans just for this reason may turn to the ECHR directly bypassing the national judicial authorities," Kosachev said, explaining that "citizens of any member-state of the Council of Europe may go to the European Court only after undergoing all domestic procedures."

"To understand what in fact has happened, we can say: there is Russia, there are Russian children, there is the ECHR and there are US citizens, who have neither relation to Russia nor to the Russian citizens nor to the ECHR," Kosachev stressed. "However, a ruling not in favor of Russia and its citizens is passed."

Kosachev said he is surprised by this logic of the court and cannot call it fair and legal. "I absolutely disagree that Russia should comply with these decisions," he said.

The senator recalled that last year amendments to the Russian legislation were introduced that "allow us not to abide by the ECHR’s decisions if they contradict Russia’s Constitution." The Russian Constitutional Court should decide on this matter and the Justice Ministry or the government should turn to the court, he added.

Kosachev said Russia should use this procedure to "protect itself judicially from any further decisions of the ECHR or further lawsuits of the US citizens or citizens of third countries." "This should be necessarily done," he stressed.

ECHR’s ruling

On Tuesday, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled that Russia’s Dima Yakovlev Law, which took effect four years ago, violated the rights of potential adoptive parents from the US and ordered Moscow to pay compensations to them.

The judges came to a conclusion that the law violates Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights and that Russia should pay 3,000 euros in compensations to each of the applicants who filed a lawsuit and also $600 for legal expenses.

The lawsuit was filed jointly by 45 US citizens who wanted to adopt Russian children. After the Dima Yakovlev Law was passed, the adoption procedures were halted. The ECHR ruled that rights of the children were not violated.

The court said the decision this is not final and any of the sides may demand the reconsideration of the case by the Grand Chamber of the ECHR within three months.

The decision of the ECHR on the Dima Yakovlev Law gives US applicants a chance to adopt Russian orphans, their lawyer Karina Moskalenko told TASS.

Russia’s lawmakers passed the so-called Dima Yakovlev Law that took effect in January 2013 banning US citizens from adopting children in Russia. The legislation is named after a child from northwest Russia's Pskov region who died of heat stroke four months after being adopted by a US couple when his adoptive father left him in a parked car for nine hours.

The Dima Yakovlev Law is considered to be a response to the Magnitsky Act adopted by the US Congress in December 2012, placing sanctions on a number of Russian officials.

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