Fall in number of Russian appeals to the ECHR
There has been an eight-fold reduction in the number of appeals made by Russian citizens to the European Court of Human Rights over the last four years, according to the Russian Government’s Head of Human Rights, Tatyana Moskalkova. Speaking at a seminar with the heads of the agencies within the Ministry of Internal Affairs that are responsible for the provisional assessment of claims, Moskalkova attributed the sharp fall to improvements in the assessment process.
Her comments were quoted by the news agency Novosti: “Although these days the European Court clearly has double standards when it comes to reviewing Russian claims, the number of claims has actually fallen because the system is working better.” She went on to stress the importance of ensuring that every detention has a firm legal basis and that only legal means can be used for gathering evidence. For example, investigators may not operate in a covert way or put pressure on a suspect by denying them family contact; if they do the statements they generate will be thrown out by the court. In October 2017 at the conference “Russia and the ECHR: the right to be heard”, The Russian Minister of Justice Alexandr Konovalov said that the number of ECHR cases against Russia has fallen below 8,000, a 3.5-fold drop over the past four years.
In March 2018 Russians NGOs submitted a collective memorandum to the ECHR describing the latest obstacles that the third sector faces. It mentions the criminal investigation in to the work of Valentina Cherevatenko in her capacity as Head of Women of the Don, the problems arising from fines and the closure of organisations and the difficulties of challenging compulsory registration. The memorandum also organisations refuse to be registered. It also refers to the broad application of the term political activity which means that any organisation that influences public opinion in any way can be treated as a ‘foreign agent’