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ST. PETERSBURG, February 25. /TASS/. Russia’s Constitutional Court has upheld the right of women accused of criminal offences to a jury trial, according to the court’s judgment passed on Thursday.
According to the court’s ruling, depriving women of the right to a jury trial "fails to correspond to the principle of juridical equality, leads to discrimination and limits their right to judicial defense."
The court has ruled that lawmakers should make amendments to the legislation to ensure the women’s right to a jury trial.
According to the court’s ruling, women accused of murders under part 2, article 105 of Russia’s Criminal Code "have the right to ask for the examination of their cases by a jury, if the court sittings under these cases have not yet been appointed at the time of accepting them for hearing."
The Constitutional Court of Russia has passed its ruling after a complaint filed by Alyona Lymar, a female resident of the Chelyabinsk Region in the Urals, who is accused of killing her daughter. She sought a jury trial to examine her case but was denied this possibility. Her case will be reviewed, the Constitutional Court said on Thursday.
Part 3, Article 31 of Russia’s Criminal Procedural Code has changed the procedure for the examination of some criminal cases from August 1, 2013. Now regional courts, in which a jury can be convened, do not consider cases, in which the most severe punishment in the form of life sentence cannot be used. At the same time, Russia’s Criminal Code protects women from life sentence as too harsh. It follows from this that women accused of criminal offences have no right to a jury trial.
In 2014, Russia’s Constitutional Court examined a similar case related to the right of underage persons to a jury trial. Like women, they may not be sentenced to life. The court ruled then that the underage persons’ restricted access to a jury trial didn’t violate their rights.