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Russian PM says international law system needs modernization

September 08, 2014, 4:16 UTC+3 MOSCOW
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MOSCOW, September 08, /ITAR-TASS/. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said the current system of international law is obsolete and needs to be modernized.

“I have to state that the international law system is now going through rather hard times. Maybe, it’s time to modernize something in this system,” Medvedev said in an interview with the Vedomosti business daily.

He specified that the current system established long ago and that was why he believes talks of its improvement are admissible.

“As regards the priority of international law - this is a fundamental principle. Should it be given up, mankind will be brought some 150 years back,” the premier said.

Commenting on Russia’s possible withdrawal from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), Medvedev said its decisions often balance on the verge between law and justice, often between law and politics.

“The ECHR is an important institution, it should remain, but its activity is certainly not ideal,” he said, adding that the court’s rulings are often politically motivated. The prime minister cited as an example the “Ilascu case”, when the ECHR obliged Russia to effectively control the territory of another country.

“The less politicized the ECHR is, the better,” Medvedev said.

In 2004, the ECHR ruled in favor of Ilie Ilascu in his case against Russia and Moldova, under which Russia was to pay compensation of up to 500,000 euros under accusations of violating several articles of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Former Moldovan parliamentarian Ilascu was sentenced to death for terrorism in Moldova’s breakaway republic of Transdniestria in 1993. Later, the sentence was replaced with life imprisonment.

Ilascu accused Russia and Moldova of depriving him of the right to fair trial. Besides, he claimed he had been tortured. Ilascu himself confessed to killing representatives of local authorities, explaining that he had acted like a soldier during a war. He also alleged that Transdniestria was de-facto under Russia’s control.

The Russian Foreign Ministry slammed the court’s ruling as “politically motivated” and expressed “bewilderment over inconsistence, subjectivity and obvious political bias of the ECHR in Strasbourg”.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said in mid-August 2014 that Russia’s quitting the jurisdiction of the ECHR is possible, but is not on the agenda at the moment.

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